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Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Defections and Party Politics

So Cllr Eathorne-Gibbons has defected from the Tory party.

Though actually he hasn't - just in Cornwall?

On the Lawrence Reed show Cllr Eathorne-Gibbons claims to have defected from the Tories to the Independents on the ground that that was what the people that he represented wanted of him.

He said that if he had declared as an Independent rather than a Tory before the elction then people may have thought it was a 'cynical ploy' just to get re-elected.

So declaring himself  'independent'  before an election and making sure that voters knew exactly what they were electing would have been a cynical ploy whereas defecting days after he had been elected a Cornwall Councillor (and, coincidentally, also not to be elected to the Conservative leadership team) was not?

He also invoked  the old chestnut that people don't want party politics at Cornwall Council and that was what his electors were telling him.

The problem with this 'no party politics at local level' is that it is a nonsense.

Cllr Earthorne-Gibbons is still a Tory, just not on Cornwall Council. He still talks and acts like a Tory but now he is supposedly an 'Independent'.

If every councillor on Cornwall Council were an Independent then groups of people would regularly vote the same way on different issues. You would still have people pro and anti privatisation of services, for and against hyper development etc and these people would broadly align along party political lines even if they weren't officially members of a party.

There is nothing wrong with party politics in local governemnt as long as the issues are a matter of principle for the party members involved. Where the problem starts is when self-interest creeps in. When members of a party act, not in what they believe is the best interest of Cornwall, but in the best ineterest of their party and so themselves. This is what people are fed up with.

As a result of Cllr Eathorne-Gibbons defection the Lib Dems and 'Independent Group' now have an equal number of councillors. I wonder if any of Cllr Eathorne-Gibbons' voters would begin to wonder whether, if he ends up with a cabinet post as an independent, non-party politics is still open to self promotion and self-interest in the same way that political parties are accused? Don't forget that, in Cornwall, the 'Independent Group' is pretty much a paty in its own right.

If Cllr Eathorne-Gibbons really wanted to get away from party politics then maybe he should resign and stand as a 'stand alone' independent. If he really believes what he would have us believe then he would be  re-elected with an increased majority. It's not going to happen though.

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