Local elections 2016 – dust and discretion

In my earlier posts on last Thursday’s elections, I focused on what was going on in my neck of the woods (see here and here), reflecting on the outcomes. The big unresolved question, as far as Southend Council is concerned, is who will be calling the shots given no party has an overall majority. We are back to coalitions and deals and, while rumours are beginning to surface, and it appears there is a lot going on if today’s Echo is to be believed, we still don’t know what is going to happen. I mention dust because that has not yet settled and discretion because I don’t like gossip or betraying confidences or creating mischief, yet it is a question that needs answering because so much hinges on it for, such is the lust for power, no doubt in the next few days deals will be struck and things will become clearer.

One of the recent discussion points between me and people who care to talk to me is do we vote for the candidate or the party he / she represents? The general view seems to be because local issues are what really matters the candidate is more important in local elections compared with that in national elections, although I have gone on record saying that in my case that principle applies locally and nationally and, before he retired from politics, I generally voted in Teddy Taylor as my MP despite him being a Conservative. But this time round I had qualms. Given that the majority of the Rainbow coalition had almost been wiped out altogether, if the Conservatives were to win seats off the Rainbows (which they did (from the Lib Dems) – two in number) they may then be in a position to run the administration (with a little help from their friends or any outside their party who were to take up the dangling carrot on offer, whatever that is – but then I don’t do gossip), and that meant however good my local Conservative was (and he was) I thought more than twice before voting (I ended up voting Green).

Lots of trends can be discerned from the voting that did take place, which I have already touched on in my earlier two blogs. One is the strength of UKIP support, which polled strongly across all the wards and no doubt were a confounding factor in stopping some good candidates winning which might not have happened if they were not around. I should state in passing that a number of good candidates did lose and I can only imagine the disappointment of those who worked hard for the residents and mounted a strong campaign. I respect and commiserate, wish them well and reflect that democracy can be a bummer. But back to UKIP, they really hold the key to what happens next, because if either the Rainbows or the Conservatives were to do a deal then they will hold the reigns of power, albeit with the slenderest of majorities. Interestingly, with Dr Vel, who was in line to be mayor, losing his seat, I understand the Conservative leader, John Lamb may be next in line – and this has implications regarding majority, plots and ambitions of leadership contenders.

The Rainbows have their work cut out to keep all parties sweet especially if Ron Woodley, not everyone’s favorite leader, were to try to continue, as he said (rather defiantly I felt) that he would. As for the Conservatives, if they do secure UKIP support (and I should imagine there will be a price to pay, and it appears that neither side is all that keen on its leader – Floyd Waterworth) then they could look forward to the next two years in power. They may also try to attract the two remaining Lib Dems (not know for loyalty) or even disaffected Independents. O to be a fly on the wall in the discussions taking place right now – but I almost forgot – I don’t do gossip. And then again, if our elected councilors were to do what most claim and work for the good of the town, they may put aside party differences and become a council of town unity (dream on)! But it all looks interesting, and soon we will know – just maybe this blog can be added to the proverbial pot – but then again let’s not be having delusions of grandeur I tell myself. So we wait to see what happens and I have a hunch will find out – sooner than we care to think.

On a slightly separate note, while I have no doubt the two town’s MPs will be happy to talk to a Conservative led administration, the fact they haven’t done so to those in the (4 could become 5 colour) Rainbow administration up to now is a disgrace and as for dreams this is the time, whatever one’s political colour happens to be, to put aside point scoring and work together for the good of the town.


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