Independents lost seats too!


images (6)With about one third of the votes counted from yesterdays election it appears that there has been a net loss of 11 Independent Councillors along with the changes for the other parties. Whilst there had been more Independent Councillors than UKIPers this has now changed. This is clearly very disappointing as some of these people will be hard working local people whose unique quality is that they have no party to dictate their decision on local issues. On the other hand they have no party machinery to help them get elected, they are responsible for their own election material which inevitably gives advantage to all of the parties with graphic designers and larger print runs possible. One of the difficulties in analysing the Independent results is that there is no clear definition of what constitutes and Independent Politician. In some cases they are people who have never been members of any other party, they are willing to examine every issue on its merits without any whipping process to persuade them to vote in a particular way. However there are also Independents who have a long track record with a particular political party which has either got fed up of them, or else they have got fed up of it. These people in my view should be distinguishable from what I would consider to be more independent, Independents who do not have any baggage to affect their decision making.

As the results have been arriving in the BBC Radio4 Today office, one of those being interviewed was Suzanne Evans who was previously a Conservative Councillor in Merton and after defecting to UKIP she has now lost the seat which she won as a Tory. It is clear that Ms Evans has no problems with people swapping from one party to another. According to Suzanne there is a possibility of UKIP running Castlepoint Council in Essex with the support of Independent Councillors. Whilst there is no reason to doubt her story, these Independent Councillors are not Independents as I understand the term. To be an Independent surely means that the Polictical Parties, whatever colour they may be, contain only part of the answer to the issues presented to the Council or Government to decide upon. Ideally these people will be willing to work with all Political Parties, but that does not mean they don’t have strong views of their own. However when Martin Bell was elected to replace the disgraced and disgraceful Neil Hamilton who now by coincidence has become a senior member of UKIP, he did not prop up or undermine any of the parties, he worked for his constituents, and constantly challenged sleaze in Parliament as well as outside of it.

Whatever the final outcome of these Council elections, there will continue to be a significant number of Independent Councillors across the UK and some of them, unlike those who Suzanne Evans was referring to will not be propping up any Council leadership. With a year to go until the next General Election perhaps there will be a few surprises? Martin Bell announced his decision to stand against Neil Hamilton a mere 24 days before the election. It remains to be seen if any of his ilk will challenge the already interesting prospects for 2015!

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
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