I have to say that I’ve been pleasantly surprised, on the whole, with how the Southend Independence Group have risen to the challenge of being a party of serious local government, rather than a purple tied brigade geared at causing and effecting outrage. Even if I am disappointed that they didn’t use my suggested name of NewKIP.
Cllr Moyies, in particular, seems to have grasped that running a unitary council isn’t quite the easy ride he may have anticipated. James is someone I have respected since I first met him, even if our politics differ radically on a number of key points. He has adapted well to the challenging brief of Health & Adult Social Care.
There is, though, a question mark remaining still over the political loyalties of the Southend Independence Group councillor for Kursaal ward.
It’s worth remembering that the SIG trio — Cllrs Moyies (West Shoebury), Callaghan (Prittlewell), and Davies (Kursaal) were suspended and expelled from UKIP. Having spoken with them I get the distinct impression that they are disgusted with the state of the local UKIP branch at present, and that it’s not entirely an unwilling exile in which they presently languish (Although, since they have three councillors and a seat on the cabinet, whilst the official UKIP group have zip -Ed).
But nonetheless, when they broke officially from UKIP and formed SIG, in order to join the Joint Administration, a large part of the deal involved their disavowal of UKIP. I don’t expect them to have completely changed their politics, and the Joint Administration has since it’s inception been a coalition of the willing more than a broader convergence of political philosophy.
Still, the fact that four months down the line Cllr Davies is still identifying as UKIP is trying my patience.
This isn’t the first time that this has come up. Cllr Waterworth, the
king over the ashes of the UKIP group raised back in June that Cllrs Callaghan and Davies were still officially down as UKIP members. In Cllr Callaghan’s case this seems like it was a genuine oversight on his part, and he responded in a fashion which I’m not going to quote for fear of upsetting people, but which tickled me.
So it’s just Lawrence. Quelle surprise. And this is not a historical artefact; the most recent post is from mid-August.
The problem with this is that it makes everyone look ridiculous. James Moyies is leader of a political group in the administration, but one of his group is still claiming allegiance to another party. The leaders of the other groups in the Joint Administration made an agreement to work with SIG, specifically not with UKIP.
And Lawrence Davies, meanwhile, apparently thinks he’s playing both sides. Maybe he is. Maybe he is still working with the local UKIP branch, in defiance of UKIP high command’s wishes, and the agreements he himself signed as part of the Southend Independence Group. Maybe he wants the power of being part of the administration, whilst preparing the ground for a re-election bid in 2018 in purple.
Maybe he genuinely thinks that everyone in Southend is actually that stupid. Who knows.