What about the Confelicity Party?
I have produced in recent months a number of political blogs where my focus was on UK national politics, parties and persons. My last one, less than a week ago was titled “What about the Heritage Party?” I would like now to turn my attention back again to the local (in my case, Southend) scene.
If as is the case with me personally I vote regardless of party politics nationally, that is even more so locally, in my case Southend and specifically the ward in which I live, St. Lukes. I don’t dismiss the argument the party in power matters or as has happened in recent years the coalition, but I have seen what a good local representative can do and that thought influences me more. In recent years, my own ward has seen councillors elected from Independent, Conservative and Labour and, generally those that have got in have served the ward well despite having to face the local version of “Yes Minister” (officers rule, ok) and deal with the politicking and horse trading going on among parties in order to get things done.
I confess, I’m somewhat a local politics nerd despite deliberately not nailing my colours to the mast as to which Party (including the Independents) I support and have in the past voted for candidates from all parties (except Lib Dems) represented at the Council. For example, I study the leaflets candidates produce, blog on what I find, speak to the candidates, help to organise hustings and attend the best show in town – the count! I am glad to say I have, in the main, enjoyed a good relationship with politicians of all shades, which I see as important when wearing my community activist hat.
It is a salutary thought that in just over three months (May 4th) we face a local election and the prospect of a new administration, given the one we have in the moment only has a slender majority and need Labour, Lib Dem and Independent support. I confess, I don’t have a view on the merits or otherwise of them who are in power and them who want to be in power. As I recall, last time round, most political leaflets were under whelming and I can’t remember anything that stood out in what was meant to pass as a local political party manifesto. As far as St. Lukes goes, it used to be strongly Labour; then the Conservatives won seats and later the Independents, and now back to Labour. Since I don’t know who will be standing in May, it is far too early to say who I am going to support.
Which brings me back to manifestos. There is in our city a new party, Confelicity, and they recently produced a manifesto (at least the first draft – see here). While there are several broad and tending toward vague claims of what they would do if elected (and little on costings or how they would relate to parties in power if gaining a few seats if any at all), all of which I have come to expect, I was in the main impressed. Firstly, it was readable and less riddled with clichés than many a manifesto I have come across. Secondly, it covers most main areas of concern and under each area makes a number of points that are at least reasonable and desirable. Thirdly, I sense an enthusiasm and vision that has all too often been squashed with the three main parties (Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem) that we have had operating since long before I started taking an interest. I also wonder if their stance that every member has to agree on any policy position the Party comes up with will backfire if they get into power.
Regarding the main parties that dominate the Council, that looks likely to continue even though the Independents of the “Alliance” ilk have shown how this might be broken, as did UKIP before them. Sadly, they remain too tied to their parties nationally and many vote accordingly. As for aligned Indies, the way I see it, their bubble has burst. There are the Greens of course but methinks with their Climate Change fixation they are barking up the wrong tree, and nothing to take on the UKIP concerns of recent years. Other than the possibility of the Confelicity Party breaking through and surprising us, I see no one else seriously challenging for seats in the Council. But as was often the case in the past, I may be wrong.
Now in my dotage, I am unlikely to campaign, even less stand for councillor (realising the amount of dedication needed to do the job justice). Besides which, I am not convinced by any of the parties. I await developments and wish our new kids on the block well.