It was not that long ago I was blogging about UKIP (referred here to as the Kipper party), both nationally and locally (Southend). The rise of alternatives to the mainstream parties was of particular fascination and certain inroads were made by both the Kippers and, at the other end of the political spectrum, the Greens. In my wackiness I have voted both Kipper and Green in the recent past. When recently I did an online quiz purporting` to reveal something about one, in this case politically, UKIP came out on top. I suppose the main reason for this is my antipathy toward globalism and my favoring national identity. What was of interest a little over two years ago was the revelation that a vicious civil war had broken out locally among the Kippers, with two rival factions, one led by James Moyies and the other by Floyd Waterworth, at loggerheads, each accusing the other of shenanigans. One local blogger, Matt Dent, had a field day reporting on what took place in a series of Kipperwatch blogs. Thus inspired, I later followed suit, albeit using more constrained language, but I did manage to upset both protagonists in the process while getting things of my chest.
A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then and recent turns of events, both nationally and locally, leads one to wonder if the UKIP bubble has burst, especially having got what they most wanted – Brexit, and if the party will ever recover. All the local main players, at least as far as I am concerned, have recently jumped shipped and have gone over to the Conservatives. The above photo was posted on his Facebook page by my local MP, James Duddridge. Not only has the only sitting UKIP MP gone back to the Conservatives but the man in the centre of the local Kippergate row, James Moyies, has announced this is his intention too. Today I read that the other man also involved, Floyd Waterworth, has also joined the Tories, along with UKIP councilor colleague, David McGlone. On a personal note, two years ago I did not vote UKIP nationally as I did not like Floyd but might have if James was standing like before, but did vote in my ward for my friend Roger Weaver. I learned earlier Roger had also left UKIP and gone back to the Conservatives he was once a member of. In last year’s local election, I liked the nice UKIP local candidate but felt he would be a hopeless councillor, so I voted Green instead.
There is an irony and hypocrisy in what happened to James and Floyd following their spate, although when it comes to blame most of it lays elsewhere. Two years ago, no party had an overall majority in the Council, and as usually happens in such situations, deals and compromises needed to be made. What transpired was the party that happened to have the most seats following the local elections (and I still call it a party despite their objections), the Independents, decided to get in bed again with Labour, who had earlier been in righteous indignation mode, at least some of them, having declared they would have nothing to do with UKIP who they deemed as tantamount to being racist. But they still did not have enough seats between them to form an administration. Even with the LibDems on board that was still not enough. At that time UKIP, who had five seats on the local council, had earlier split 3 and 2. The three called themselves something different and were led by James Moyies and the two continued to operate as UKIP, led by Floyd Waterworth. So the gang of three joined the rainbow coalition that ran the Council up to last May. The hypocrisy was the Conservatives crying foul and yet a year later were in a similar predicament and had to get Floyd’s gang on board to form a majority. No doubt, it with some relief to the Tory led administration the gang of two are now pucker Tories.
We live as I keep repeating in interesting times. This year there are no local elections to be had, so for the Tories it is business as usual but without having to make painful compromises to keep Floyd and co happy. Nationally, it remains to be seen, with the capitulation of UKIP and a Labour party that has failed to get its act together, how much Theresa May’s Conservatives will increase their Parliamentary majority and whether her vision for Brexit and the plethora of other issues needing to be addressed will meet the hopes and expectations of the afore-mentioned former UKIP members. It would be nice if Floyd and James, now they are back together in the same party, can make up – life after all is too short. For the time being, I have got Kippers off my chest. I look forward to blogging about the General Election and giving my thoughts, particularly when I know what the line up of candidates is going to be in my local constituency.