There’s just a week to go before the Lincolnshire County Council elections, with seven seats in Boston up for grabs – and 27 candidates fighting for the spoils.In each seat there is a full house of candidates from the Conservatives, Labour and the UK Independence Party and six “independents” of two different stripes … “independent” independents and “Lincolnshire Independents.”
Those who claim to be in the know say that the only difference between these candidates is that the Lincolnshire Independents work as a group in County Hall which gives them a place on committees with they would not otherwise get … although we still find it contradictory that an “independent” group should have a “leader.”
Interestingly, the Lincolnshire Independents’ website lists not only its own candidates – but links to the name of others standing as “solo” candidates as well.
Unlike some previous elections the main parties are keeping a fairly low profile – perhaps because there is little for them to shout about.
Political observers say that the elections are likely to see a revolt by voters in true-blue Tory shire counties which could hand the party one of its worst results for many years – and they don’t come much truer or bluer than in Lincolnshire … where the 77-strong council comprises 62 Tory, five Labour councillors, four Lib Dems and six “others.”
Some experts predict that the Conservatives will lose at least a third of the 1,477 English council seats they are defending.
The last elections on 4th June 2009 saw Labour’s worst performance in living memory – so it would be hard to imagine them doing any worse.
But the Tories are said to be vulnerable as never before to the challenge of UKIP, whose leader, Nigel Farage, received a warm welcome on a recent visit to Boston, and is the only political “big name” to make a trip to the town.
Certainly, the candidates that we have spoken to see UKIP as the big challenge next Thursday.
Meanwhile, there has been little by way of exchanges between the rival parties as has happened in previous years.
However, one regular reader chose to interpret comments on the Boston Protest March Facebook page as meaning that UKIP was fielding paper candidates – candidates who stand for a party that has only low levels of support, or who are used as “makeweights” to boost party numbers at an election, and who can split the vote.
An e-mail to Boston Eye says: “Once again UKIP is fielding the same paper candidates nominated in previous years. Candidates who have absolutely no intention of representing the people of Boston, but if elected will quite happily carry out the minimum obligation of attending one meeting at Lincolnshire County Council every six months to receive an annual allowance of £8,184 for the next four years.”
Don Ransome, UKIP's East Midlands regional organiser, and a candidate for Boston South, dismissed the claim as “Just a load of Tory rot.”
He said that five of the seven candidates were members of his family and neither of the other two had indicated they would resign after the election – as claimed on the protest march page
“I would suspend anyone adopting that line,” he added. “Most of us intend to give our allowances/expenses to local charities.
“Unlike the rest we are not in it for new cars and foreign holidays.
"When they fear you they smear you."
Interestingly, claims were made after the Boston Borough Council elections two years ago that the Conservatives had fielded a number of paper candidates – a number of whom were elected.
Given the performance of some councillors, we can quite believe that, as clearly, their candidacy has not been worth the paper it was written on!
Another reader raised an eyebrow after noting that the address listed as home to Boston North West Conservative candidate Andrea Jenkyns – who was recently selected as prospective parliamentary candidate in 2015 for a distant Yorkshire constituency against shadow chancellor Ed Balls – is apparently up for sale. Miss Jenkyns is quoted as saying that she will continue to live in the town during her candidacy – so our reader may well be adding two and two together and making five!
Given the current political climate both nationally and locally, we expect one or two surprises next week, and the very thought has left us giddy with excitement – so much so that we are off to keep a long-standing appointment for the next few days.
Boston Eye will return on Monday 6th May and open the week with our assessment of the County Council election results – but you can still keep in touch with us via e-mail whilst we are away.
And yes – we have put our money where our mouth is and applied for a postal vote to ensure that our voice is heard.
You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org Your e-mails will be treated in confidence and published anonymously if requested.Our former blog is archived at: http://bostoneyelincolnshire.blogspot.com