Last night, I had a brief exchange with an old friend who happens to share many of my views but on this occasion we ended up agreeing to disagree. It was around the latest episode in the UKIP civil war saga that is currently unfolding in Southend. My two Kipperwatch friends, Julian and Matthew, who once again have not disappointed in coming up with their views on the subject, have both blogged on the matter (click here and here), and while I may differ regarding tone and motivation, I would not dispute the facts they presented or the inferences they derived, with the caveat we are not cognizant of all the facts. As one eloquently suggested, the Southend branch of UKIP (now with four councillor members suspended) have demonstrated why they would be the last people to approach in order to organise a p*** ** in a brewery, which is sad as far as I’m concerned personally and also for Southend, who might have understandably expected better from their elected representatives.
Before going further and save repeating myself, those who have read my earlier blog posts: “General Election 2015” and “Political ramblings” will know where I stand politically. For my views on UKIP, check out my “The UKIP factor” post, and for the “Kipper” story (along with definitions) before current developments, which in a nutshell was that 4 of the 5 Southend UKIP councillors have recently expelled the 5th, who happens to be the parliamentary candidate for the forthcoming election, from their group, followed by the disapproving national leadership expelling these 4 from the UKIP party, check out my “Kipperwatch Southend” post. What these events have done has made me less inclined to support UKIP.
Looking ahead to the General Election, especially as it relates to Southend, unlike my friend who hoped that this incident might see off the UKIP threat, I do not see UKIP as merely the party of small minded people, although it may well attract such types, given I have a larger mind than most and have carefully argued why I might have voted UKIP. The sadness is, as far as Southend is concerned, UKIP are, as a result of this upheaval, less likely to take enough votes to stop the Conservatives winning and the Greens, who may have replaced UKIP as the latest minority party on an ascent, will take enough votes away from Labour to stop them threatening.
None of this is personal of course. Of the five Southend UKIP councillors, I have met with two of them and corresponded with one other. My impressions of these have been favourable, certainly when comparing with councillors from other parties. As for the other two, I have not been able to directly engage and therefore have to reserve judgement. I still hope that they will all make a positive impact on Southend politics. Sadly, for all we know, some may be doing a good job in their new role but that doesn’t get reported. When it comes to the General Election, the situation is more problematical, as I have discussed. My advice in my first Kipperwatch post, to “get your act together“, has clearly not been followed – which is a pity!