floyd waterworth

The Strange Death of Southend UKIP


It has been, all in all, nearly three years since UKIP burst onto the Southend politics scene, winning five seats on the local council from nowhere. The fact that, as of last week, Southend UKIP no longer exists in any meaningful form is a testament to quite what a dramatic ride it has been.

On Friday, The Southend Echo reported that Cllrs Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park) and David McGlone (UKIP – St Laurence) had both defected to join the Conservative group. The previous day, the Echo had broken the news that Cllr James Moyies (SIG – West Shoebury), the former leader of the UKIP group until he was kicked out of the party, had made the same move to the Conservatives, from the band of expelled UKIP councillors calling themselves the Southend Independence Group.

In the last three years, six UKIP councillors have been elected to Southend Borough Council. One stepped down and three were expelled. Three of those six now sit as Conservatives, and two as independents. There is no longer a UKIP group on the council, nor indeed any prospect of one reappearing any time soon.

So what happened, exactly? How did the newest political faction on the scene implode quite so dramatically?

In this blogger’s opinion, UKIP in Southend have been a victim both of their own success and their own ineptitude.

Whilst I disagree with him on a whole range of political subjects, I actually have a lot of time and respect for Cllr Moyies. He was someone who had worked hard to get elected, and had done so out of a genuine desire to make life better for residents. The same, sadly, could not be said of some of the other UKIP councillors, in particular Cllr Waterworth.

The trouble really started when Cllr Moyies lost the selection to be the 2015 UKIP candidate to Cllr Waterworth, in what was a massive upset. As easily UKIP’s most impressive figure locally, it had been taken as a foregone conclusion that Cllr Moyies would fight the local election. Accusations were tossed back and forth about unfair practices in the selection, but the end result was Cllr Moyies refused to support Cllr Waterworth, and was expelled from the party, taking the other three 2014 intake councillors with him.

One of these four exiles, Lee Burling, decided that all of this was much more trouble than it was worth, and stepped down at the 2015 local elections (Probably a wise choice, in retrospect -Ed), triggering a by-election that was won by UKIP’s now-Cllr McGlone. In the 2015 general election, of course, UKIP badly underperformed in Southend, and the St Laurence by-election aside they didn’t do well in the local elections.

Following May 2015, Cllr Moyies and his supporters formed the Southend Independence Group, which entered the joint administration, with Moyies himself serving in the cabinet. Cllrs Waterworth and McGlone, comprising a UKIP group of two, didn’t do a great deal until it came to 2016, and they almost accidentally held the balance of power on the council. They threw their lot in with the Tories, of course, in exchange for a pair of council committee chairs (And the lucrative allowances that come with them -Ed).

The fact that they’ve officially gone over to the Conservatives should be no great surprise to anyone. The Brexit vote, followed by Theresa May’s assent to 10 Downing Street, has repositioned the Tories onto UKIP’s ground, and Nigel Farage’s personality cult is flailing about looking for a purpose. With Waterworth and McGlone both up for re-election next year — and Waterworth in particular knowing that I outpolled UKIP as the Labour candidate in his seat last year — they will be looking around for a strategy to hang onto their seats. And becoming born-again Tories is probably the best one open to them.

The same, realistically, is true of James Moyies in West Shoebury, though I’d argue that he’s actually attempted to do the job of representing residents. Politically, I’ve had him pegged as a eurosceptic Thatcherite, so he doesn’t fit May’s brand quite as well as the other two, who are more in the eurosceptic authoritarian mould.

Honestly, I think UKIP’s hour in Southend is done. Their USP is gone, and the Tories in this part of the world were always on the same page as UKIP. In a way, it’s actually quite impressive to see that its councillors have realised this. But the upshot of this is quite straightforward: a vote for UKIP is more than ever a vote for the Tories.

UKIP help the Conservatives limp into administration in Southend


tory ukip

As predicted, the appointments meeting of Southend Borough Council saw an alliance of UKIP and Conservative councillors oust the Joint Administration of Labour, Independent Party Group, Liberal Democrats and Southend Independence Group that has been running the council for the last two years.

Thus begins, then, the new Conservative administration, and the reign of Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) as the leader of the council. Dark times ahead…

Read on…

Is Southend UKIP’s Cllr Waterworth fit to chair Development Control?


farage and waterworth

Last week I reported on the deal struck between Southend UKIP and Southend Conservatives, which now seems to be common knowledge, including that Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park) would get chair of Development Control Committee.

Now, never minding the horse trading still going on behind closed doors–including the sheer number of Conservative councillors suddenly realising that they have their leader Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh) over a barrel and can demand plum jobs for themselves–there seems to be a groundswell of scepticism as to whether Cllr Waterworth is up to what is — in effect — the most senior non-cabinet role on the council.

Read on…

Southend UKIP/Tory alliance to undo last two years’ achievements


tory ukip

This morning, BBC Essex are reporting what my little birds have been telling me for the last few days: that Cllr John Lamb (CON – West Leigh), leader of the Conservative Group on Southend Borough Council, has struck a deal with Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park), leader of the UKIP group, to take control of the council.

To say that I’m disappointed at the news is an understatement, but after the elections the Joint Administration was on a knife edge, and Cllr Lamb clearly saw this as his last opportunity to achieve his long-held dream of becoming council leader — and was willing to do almost anything to make it happen.

The magic number on the council is 26. 26 councillors is a majority. The Tories have 24 councillors after the elections. The Joint Administration had 25 councillors (10 Labour, 9 Independent Party Group, 3 Southend Independence Group, 2 Liberal Democrat, 1 non-aligned -Ed). Thus the two UKIP councillors held the balance of power.

Read on…

The Southend Indie candidate, and the unpaid 2015 election expenses


money

At one point in last night’s epically disappointing council debate on the breach of purdah, one half of Southend UKIP’s answer to Ant and Dec, Cllr Floyd Waterworth (UKIP – Blenheim Park), tried to make a point which was shot down by the Mayor as not being relevant to the subject at hand.

The story Cllr Waterworth was trying to tell was one regarding an Independent candidate who was part of the mass exodus from Southend UKIP during the civil war, and one which my little birds have been feeding me bits and pieces of over the last couple of weeks.

Cllr Waterworth was right that it’s an important public interest story. So too was the Mayor right that this was not the proper forum for it. Better, perhaps, would be a blog. Such as this one, perhaps. Not so awful now, eh Floyd?

Read on…

The top 10 maddest moments in Southend local politics 2015 (Part 2)


southend pier

You’ve come this far. Maybe you’re willing to come a little further...

Yes, the end of 2015 is truly upon us, and so as promised, I must offer the second part of my rundown of my 10 maddest moments in Southend politics.

Honestly, distilling it down to 10 was hard work. Deciding what got the top spot was harder still. It’s been a fun year, but looking back over it is more a cavalcade of the weird and wonderful. For those of you who haven’t read it yet, here is the first part, running through numbers 10 to 6.

Here is my top five, of the maddest moments in Southend local politics in 2015.

Read on…

Kipperwatch! Goodbye Southend UKIP, hello New-KIP


reservoir ukip

In the election campaign, I speculated rather freely on whether James Moyies and the other outcasts from Southend UKIP would go over to the Independent Party Group. After all, Moyies was expelled and the others roundly condemned by the Dear Leader Farage.

But despite members of Clan Moyies being amongst the Independent Party Group’s candidates at the local elections just gone, that isn’t how things have panned out. No, flush with UKIP-proper’s abject failure in Southend (Third in both constituencies, and no gains on the council -Ed) Moyies et al have decided to start their own party grouping in the council chamber.

So farewell Southend UKIP; enter New-KIP.

Read on…

Kipperwatch! Has House Moyies gone over to the Indies in its entirety?


dodgy indie bar chart

The most obvious sign of a convergence of Southend’s Independent Party Group and the UKIP exiles is the name Alex Moyies on the West Shoebury ballot paper as an Independent candidate. It’s a little less obvious that Margaret Haydon, the other Indie in West Shoebury, is James Moyies’ mother-in-law.

It’s hardly surprising, really. The sudden supremacy of Floyd Waterworth seems to have put a lot of noses out of joint, both amongst those who were elected for UKIP last year and those who might have stood for UKIP this year, not least of which Moyies Jr.

The joint leaflet issued by Moyies Jr and Haydon is an interesting read. Like most indie literature, it uses an impressive number of words to say very little. But it’s the bar chart which grabbed my interest. I love a good political bar chart, and it’s usually the Lib Dems who excel in this field. Here the bars seem, broadly, accurate to the West Shoebury results last year, but take a gander at the axes.

LD, Lab, Con….and Moyies? Funny, I thought James Moyies had won last year as a UKIP candidate, not an independent.

Now clearly the Moyies name is Alex’s best chance at actually winning, but this makes an interesting suggestion to me, one which chimes with the whispers that I’ve heard from the dispossessed Kippers: that post-election we’ll be seeing the anti-Waterworth faction — led by Cllr James Moyies — joining the Independent Party Group.

Given that the outcasts’ leader has been expelled from UKIP, and condemned personally by Nigel Farage as not being “team players“, it doesn’t seem like there’s any way back that way for him. And given that the only requirements the Indies put on its councillors is to bend the knee to Ron Woodley and Martin Terry…

If you’re still in doubt, though, have a look at the imprint on the Haydon/Moyies Jr leaflet:

west shoebury indie imprint

On the Rochford & Southend East election hustings (Bell Vue Church)


debate

I like to leave a little space between a debate and giving my thoughts on how they went.

Partly, that’s related to my attempt to more widely document such debates, by recording and publishing them. As I discussed with fellow local politics blogger John Barber recently, I think my own views and commentary should remain separate from the actual recording itself, so that people can make their own minds up.

But also, I do like to digest what I’ve witnessed, to give a more thoughtful analysis (Some may disagree on that point -Ed). To that end, getting on for five days later, let’s take a look at the Rochford & Southend East hustings on Wednesday 22nd April 2015, held at Bell Vue Baptist Church.

The first thing I’d like to say, before looking at the candidates, is how well hosted I thought it was. The candidates were mic-ed up, it was all clear and audible, and the questions were wide-ranging and challenging. The evening was, in total, attended by somewhere between 100-150 people, if I had to guess. Most even lived in the constituency, I believe.

If you haven’t had a listen yet, I implore you to do so before reading my own views. Make your own mind up.

Read on…

UKIP’s Blenheim Park candidate finally reveals himself


ukip blenheim park small

So having selected a candidate very late in the game, UKIP have finally managed to get a leaflet out in Blenheim Park.

Their candidate, a Mr Paul Lloyd, may seem familiar to residents of Eastwood Park ward, given that he was their candidate there last year. Given that he came within 200 votes of taking a previously safe Tory ward, one wonders why he didn’t stick it out there.

Nonetheless, onto my patch he wanders, with his A5 leaflets across at least part of ward. A ward which UKIP have been steadfastly ignoring for the entire past year, whilst I’ve been working hard since I was selected.

(I know what you’re thinking; “Has he put out six leaflets, or only five?” To tell you the truth, in all of this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being these are Southend Labour Party leaflets, the best written leaflets in the borough and would blow your majority clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well do ya, punk? -Ed)

Read on…