I was a little bit disappointed, but not really surprised, at the low turn out last Saturday at the event we organised at the Grand Hotel to try and encourage more people to stand as Councilors.
The fairly obvious allegation being made now is that it was all just a stunt. That of course is the easy charge to make. Especially if you are one of those people who prefer to sneer at anything different.
As an individual and as a member of UKIP I am committed to local democracy. UKIP’s commitment to local referenda was actually the first policy that attracted me to them; the European dimension wasn’t top of my agenda by any means. As I learned more about the EU and how it works I also learned that democracy isn’t something that the EU is very keen on and the European Parliament is just a front to provide a smokescreen of democratic accountability while the real power lies with behind the scenes.
I first entered Hartlepool Council as an Independent Member and was soon made aware of how the system penalised independents. The entire structure of local government works round political “groups” and the machinery is set up that way. If you are not in a group then you are left out of many things. I personally would prefer to see all councilors as independents, no political groups at all in Town Halls. However it is made very difficult to operate an independent because of the way the rules are written.
Personally I don’t ever read UKIP’s local Manifesto these days because the only manifesto I recognise at local level is based on what are the best decision for St.Hilda Ward and then the best decision for the town as a whole. National policies do not control my actions at local level. At national level I do believe that this country does need to get out of the European Union before we are totally bankrupted by it but at the level of Hartlepool Council Chamber that isn’t an issue we will ever decide.
I have considered standing as an Independent at local level but have thought people may accuse me of trying to hide my national political views. So I suppose the best thing is to retain my UKIP Colours ever though I think they are almost irrelevant at local level since there is no party whip and no manifesto imposed on me. Should UKIP ever attempt to impose such a whip then UKIP would lose a Hartlepool Councillor the first time the whip tried to make me take a position I didn’t feel was best for St.Hilda Ward or best for the town of Hartlepool.
United Kingdom INDEPENDENCE Party! Exactly what is says on the tin! INDEPENDENCE of the UK from the EU and INDEPENDENCE of Hartlepool from Westminster.
That doesn’t mean UKIP don’t want to cooperation! UKIP think cooperation is vital BUT cooperation needs to be a voluntary act where the individuals, parties, countries work together for mutually beneficial aims and mutually beneficial outcomes. The whip system does not produce cooperation. Whipping is a coercive system that I do not support in local council chambers and never will.