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Thursday, 8 March 2012

In·de·pen·dent

"Affiliated with or loyal to no political party or organisation". That's the dictionary definition of the word Independent, in relation to its meaning when associated with politicians. So when somebody calls themself an Independent it is a given that they are stand alone. Right? Because that is what the word means.

If you are local or follow Southend politics you will be aware that Shoeburyness ward has two 'Independent members' and Southend has nine in total. In Shoeburyness ward Cllr Assenheim and Cllr Chalk have always trumpeted their supposed Independence very loudly in the press and their election literature.

Recently I had a brief but interesting conversation with one of the Shoeburyness members who questioned me as to why I keep referring to them as a party. My response was why have you formed a group, have group meetings, had an electoral pact with UKIP at the last local elections and have a leader who gets over £7,000 a year from taxpayer to fulfil this role but you still call yourself an Independent? Surely you are a party in all but name?

Ah, they said, we have only formed a group for strategic purposes. Strategic purposes? What was the meaning of the word Independent again? "Affiliated with or loyal to no political party or organisation". Glad we got that cleared up then.       

4 comments:

Anne Chalk said...

I notice you forget to mention how much the leader of the council gets or how much the budget for the cabinet comes to. How much for example did it cost to create an extra cabinet post last year?

Matthew S. Dent said...

I'm a little bemused by the idea that they think political parties aren't grouped together for strategic purposes...

In my experience, "independent" means one of two things:

1) They like being able to bash all other parties as the opportunity arises, and think the label gets them extra votes (see, formerly, Liberal Democrats).

or

2) They used to be members of a party, and still agree with that party's policy and ideas, but don't get along with the other members on a personal level.

Either way, they're about as independent as Tibet.

Cllr Tony Cox said...

Anne

I think you are missing the point - we do not pretend to be anything else. Interesting about the increased cost for creating an additional cabinet post because last year we decreased the cabinet by one.

Anne Chalk said...

Mathew, independents allowed to "agree/disagree/oppose policies from any party and go against other members of their own group". They are not subjected to a whip or other indocrumental instruments that could be applied in order to seek consensus over a political matter,