Friday 28 April 2017

Southend UKIP R.I.P.

When I wrote yesterday's post (Cllr Moyies changes sides, again) I almost added a couple of predictions. This morning, those predictions came true. UKIP on Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is no more as their last two councillors have now joined the Conservative Party.

Southend-on-Sea must have the flakiest set of councillors in the country, with a political landscape that changes regularly without the hindrance of convincing the electorate.

Cllrs McGlone and Waterworth may tell everyone that their switch was conviction based, yet anyone who gives even a cursory glance at the political landscape in the borough knows that under the UKIP banner they would have been ejected from the chamber. Now I expect they will be adopted as the Conservative candidates in St Laurence and Blenheim park ward respectively. This also helps the Conservatives who appear to be struggling to select candidates.

Quite what the residents of St Laurence and Blenheim Park wards remains to be seen, but there will be some who will feel somewhat cheated.

I can only hope that those with elastic principles suffer dismissal by their electorate.

UKIP's fall in Southend-on-Sea comes after a very good set of results in 2014 when they won five wards on 19.1% of the vote. A year later they won one, and their vote share had almost halved to 10.2% In 2016 they made a recovery to 14.6% of the vote, although they won nothing. 2018 was expected to be tough for them, and now it looks like being tougher with none of the six of who was elected for them remaining either in the chamber or in the party.

However, whilst the news of UKIP's demise locally may bring joy to many, I remind readers that whilst Cllrs Callaghan, Davies, McGlone, Moyies, and Waterworth may no longer sit under the UKIP umbrella, I have seen no evidence that their views have changed.

Today I do finish with a prediction - there will be a Cabinet re-shuffle in Southend at the next Appointments Full Council.

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St Luke's Voice Winter 2018/19 edition