Better a bastard government than being governed by bastards


southend civic centre

So the news is, apparently, out. The Joint Administration seems to have the numbers to enter its second year in charge of the council, with the addition of the Southend Independence Group joining its ranks. That this has been cobbled together from the available numbers.

This may be a “bastard” administration, but it is a completely legitimate one.

The new arrangement has caused a little upset in some quarters. Understandably — I do not hold with the policies of UKIP, or indeed many of the people under their banner. This has been discussed internally to death by Southend Labour Party, and whilst we are not overjoyed to welcome the former Kippers into the administration, the near-unanimous decision has been that, for the time being, it is the best option on the table.

There are a few points underlying this.

First is that the three councillors who now make up the Southend Independence Group have left UKIP.

This is more than just a case of convenience, on their part. Having spoken to all three of the Southend Liberation Front Independence Group, I am confident that this is not simply a case of “UKIP won’t have them.” With everything that has happened, they feel that UKIP has betrayed them, locally and nationally, and no longer want to be any part of it.

Secondly, the council’s agenda is unchanged.

The joint administration will still be pursuing housebuilding. It will still be protecting libraries, protecting care homes, making sure that the needs of Southend are addressed and its residents listened to.

The People’s Front of Southend Southend Independence Group have not, to my knowledge, made any demands inconsistent with the Joint Administration’s agenda — which for the last year has been driven by Labour.

Thirdly, in the absence of an alternative, our promises to the people of Southend require it.

This was an election fought against the Conservatives by Southend Labour. We fought against Tory cuts, and Tory priorities, promising a fairer, more equal administration for the people of the town.

We can’t do that unless we have a hand on the tiller.

In fact, if the Conservatives regain administration, the very opposite will happen. The council house building will cease. Priory House will close. Library staff will go. Once again we’ll have a council which feels it doesn’t need to listen to its residents.

And bearing in mind the level of cuts which will again be hitting Southend from a majority Tory government, Southend needs whatever small protection it can get. Whatever we can do to minimise the hit on the most vulnerable, those who can least bear the strain. Southend has been pummelled by cuts the past five years, and faces a gruelling further five years of the same. And it’s noticeable that not once have Southend Conservatives spoken out against their national counterparts’ decision to inflict pain. Indeed, some of them seem positively gleeful.

In short, we owe it to every one of the people who voted for us at the elections to take any measure we can to keep the Conservatives out.

Former Tory leader Nigel Holdcroft has said:

We must now wait with interest to see whether Cllr Ron Woodley manages to cobble together a continuation of his rainbow alliance. If he does, thereby preventing the Tories from taking power, how will such an administration be able to claim any semblance of legitimacy?

The intimation being that anything other than a Conservative administration is illegitimate. Which begs the question of why the present Tory leader John Lamb cannot command a majority in the chamber.

Yes, the joint administration is a hodgepodge. A bastard child of groups who disagree on a great many things — and, actually, there are members of the Independent Party Group whose views I find far more distasteful than Cllr Moyies — but who do agree that the 14 years of Tory rule we escaped cannot be allowed to return.

It was John Major who described his own party members as “bastards”. It is, I would suggest, better for Southend to have a bastard administration, than an administration run by “the bastards”.

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8 comments

  1. Have they left UKIP? Certainly speaking to two of them they are hoping to be reinstated still but accept they cant function with Floyd. I only spoke (the person who came up with the southend independence name (to maintain their link with the national party) on Saturday evening and i accept it might have changed since then but i doubt it.

    `This was an election fought against the Conservatives by Southend Labour. We fought against Tory cuts, and Tory priorities, promising a fairer, more equal administration for the people of the town.`

    An election you lost and so therefore maybe the people disagree with you? Democratically it should be a joint Conservative Independent led coalition surely?

  2. But the independents set themselves up in opposition to a Tory administration Del, so that makes no sense at all. Under the flawed system we have whoever can form a majority has the democratic mandate, perhaps the Tories should consider why they have no friends in the council.

    1. you are right about them not being popular and i wasnt suggest they should work together, i was just saying that would be the only truly democratic ergo legitimate solution – playing a bit of devils advocate here rather than making a serious suggestion ;p

  3. I agree with Matt on this Del. While the four members of rainbow coalition make strange bed fellows to say the least, that do between them offer an alternative to a Tory led administration and should be given a chance to do so. One year in, albeit without the exstillsympathetickippers they have done well and earned the right to continue. While the electorate have not answered one way or the other on the matter I suspect if they were asked they would agree.

    1. it does and as Matt knows my point was that if Labour campaigned on an anti Conservative message and the Conservative message won through in terms of numbers of votes (Labour not gaining any seats but the Conservatives gaining 3) it could be argued that the electorate voted against the anti Conservative message, to balance that out i would point out that there were other factors in play such as the national situation which aided the Conservatives but for Matt to claim they should be in control because they fought the election on an anti Conservative message and won goes againsst what the electorate voted for.

      Having said all that, i firmly believe that whoever can make up the numbers should be in chqarge and so have no issues with the rainbow coalition in that respect but felt some of Matt’s arguments were unusually weak hence my post

      1. Except, that’s now what I claimed Del, is it?

        This was an election fought against the Conservatives by Southend Labour.

        Overall, we didn’t win as many votes as the Tories, no. But we did in Victoria. We did in Westborough. We did in Kursaal. And even aside from that, our candidates received more than 16,000 votes across Southend. Those people voted for the Labour policy platform, which was an anti-Tory platform. Those nine Labour councillors in the chamber, then, have a duty to those 16,000 people to secure an alternative to Conservative administration if at all possible.

        Also, the 39% of the vote which the Tories secured still leaves an anti-Tory majority. If we’re not liking FPTP here.

        I think, though, as Rob says, the more pressing issue for the Conservatives in Southend is how they’ve managed to piss off all of the other groups to the extent that even with whatever rewards Cllr Lamb offered couldn’t persuade four councillors from the Lib Dems, Indies, Kippers or NuKippers to back him.

  4. For staunch defenders of FPTP the Conservatives in Southend seem a bit clueless about how it works and what qualifies as a mandate. Not just Del but the whole lot of them, bad losers. Thye should consider why they have no friends on the council. As an ex Tory one would have thought Moyies may have been able to work with them. But clearly not.

  5. I have no personal beef with the SIG. And I’d rather see them siding as part of the Rainbow Alliance than have the Tories ride roughshod. I am painfully aware that ‘stuff happened’ in UKIP and that sometimes the twain will never meet. However, part of politics is about playing the long game and I’m hoping that respectful discourse between the two groups is the way of things ahead. Despite the differences between the two groups, there’s a lot of commonality.

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