'Cllr Martin Terry the Leader of the Independent Group (A party in all but name)'. Not my words, but those of Cllr Dr Vel this afternoon in an email sent to all councillors.
This week Cllr Dr Vel announced that he is leaving the Independent Group as his spat with leader Cllr Terry turned ugly and became public - so much so that Cllr Terry urged him to stand down!
The developments this week have been spectacular considering that Cllr Terry was Cllr Dr Vel's agent in his bid for re-election in Westborough earlier this year and that they were the founders of the 'Independent project' in Southend.
Without any knowledge, it would appear that the spat started after one of the Independent Party charges put in a bid to become leader of the council following Southend going into no overall control following May's local elections. Southend has a Conservative minority administration after the opposition groups could not unite around a leader, despite the only thing they all had in common during the election campaign was the belief that they could do a better job than the Conservatives in running this town.
What this public spat between Cllr Terry and Cllr Dr Vel has done is officially put in the public domain that Cllr Terry leads a sudo party. Cllr Terry thought he had mastered the art of leading the public to believe that they were a group of people opposed to party politics despite one of their group belonging to a political party (Cllr Ric Morgan, Liberal Party, Prittlewell), have a leader who draws a salary, hold political group meetings, have identikit literature, form electoral pacts with political parties, have what suspiciously looks like whipped voting on certain issues and go ballistic if somebody stands as an Independent against one of their approved candidates.
It was inevitable that one day the Independents in Southend would implode, all Independent groupings invariably do and you can only be the repository for the dustbin vote for so long.
With Southend council being in no overall control, more scrutiny is placed on the opposition with the Independents failing at the first hurdle. The Independents have been busted. When we look back in time 2012 may prove to be the beginning of the end for them