Somewhat Predictable “Surprises”
So apparently the only two Lib Dems in Wisbech have both defected… to nowhere. The word is that Cllr Dave Patrick (District / Town) and Cllr Rob McLaren (Town) have both become independents. Cue lots of shocked gasps of amazement (not).
So what does this mean? Currently at Wisbech Town Council they sit next to the Bucknors (Independent Councillors) in a kind of “lefty” block. After this dramatic change they’ll have to sit next to the Bucknors in a kind of a “lefty” block.
Meanwhile, over at Fenland District Council the most obvious difference is that instead of being in a Lib Dem group led by Cllr Gavin Booth, they’ll be in an Independent group (probably led by Dave Patrick.) They’re the same people with the same beliefs so I can’t see a very great deal different happening politically. Except that Gavin Booth might feel a bit isolated and will lose a chunk of special responsibility allowance, while the new Independent leader will gain said allowance instead. I feel a bit sorry for Cllr. Gavin Booth, who isn’t a bad guy at all. Oh, and the “Fenland Lib Dems” web page is probably going to look a bit sorry for itself for a while.
I notice that the rhetoric being fed to the press from the two ex-Liberals sounds eerily familiar. All this “it’s more important to do what’s best for the town than to follow a party line” stuff. I’m sure I’ve heard it somewhere before. :) Makes you wonder about who the puppeteer is, huh? Of course, all this “party line” stuff is just more of the same propaganda that is regularly spouted by certain local independents. Some might suggest what they really mean is: “It’s more important to get re-elected than to stand by your principles and values.”
So now we have all sorts of little clumps of “Independents” on Fenland District Council and Wisbech Town Council, all sitting together and making little deals or whatever. It’s almost like a party, isn’t it? I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I’m getting a real feeling of deja vu.
I have to wonder if these two Liberals just took a look at their voting numbers from the recent County Council Elections and thought: “We’re gonna’ get caned in 2015.” Then the whispering voices in their ears (both of which probably hail from Waterlees) suggested an alternative path they could walk. It doesn’t really matter. I’ve never thought Dave Patrick or Rob McLaren were Lib Dems anyway. They’ve never voted or sounded Lib Dem ‘ish to me. The more things change the more they stay the same.
If you’re only attached to a party for its resources or in order to benefit from its colourful banner during an election then its probably easy to swan off when the going gets a bit tough. When the decisions get a bit too hard and scary. If you think purely strategically and with only the information currently available this was probably a smart decision for the two new independents. But they say a week is a long time in politics and its nearly two years until the 2015 elections. So anything could happen. Anything at all.