24 days to the elections
Whomever uttered the phrase “interesting times ahead” may well have had Boston and its forthcoming elections in mind.
The ructions of the last local elections – which saw the Boston Bypass Independents routed, and overall control of the council pass to a single party for the first time since local government reorganisation in 1973 – are now a thing of the past, as the wannabe councillors have retreated to party lines or the perceived safety of “independence.”
There are 82 candidates contesting 30 seats on the new look Boston Borough Council, which has been slimmed down from 32 seats by a Boundary Commission review – compared with 95 last time around.
Surprisingly, three Conservative stalwarts are hors de combat and will not be participating in the melee.
Principal among these is Raymond Singleton-McGuire, formerly joint deputy leader and portfolio holder for finance, Mike Gilbert, another cabinet member and portfolio holder for Housing and a sheaf of other things, and Derek ”Knocker” Richmond – another portfolio holder ... who has apparently been “responsible” for Boston Town Centre .
It says much for the inspirational leadership of Councillor Peter Bedford that he has managed to lose three of his seven cabinet members in a single term in office
One other Conservative – Gloria Smith of Skirbeck Ward is standing elsewhere ... in Staniland Ward – and as an Independent, whilst fellow Tory Mark Baker is not seeking re-election.
Two other departures of interest are those of David Owens, elected last time as an English Democrat councillor in Fenside, and Bob McAuley – most recently a Lincolnshire Independent. David Owens was one of two English Democrats elected in 2011. The other was Elliot Fountain who was thrown off the council for not attending a meeting in six months.
Councillor Owens seemed destined to follow in his footsteps, but managed to turn up just often enough to avoid the sack – which presumably also secured his councillor’s allowances.
Bob McAuley remains a Lincolnshire County Councillor and was initially elected under the UKIP flag.
His decision not to stand for the borough is disappointing, as “double- hatted” councillors are quite useful, although frankly those who work at county level seem to have achieved little if anything much in recent years.
His former UKIP colleague on Boston Borough Council, Patrisha Ann Keywood-Wainwright, is deserting the Lincolnshire Independents to stand as an Independent. Should she succeed, we calculate that this will see her fifth change of party name in two years – moving seamlessly from UKIP to “UKIP Lincolnshire,” the Independence from Europe group, to Lincolnshire Independents. The cost of letterheads must be enormous.
The confusingly named Independent Group 2 will cease to exist at the election – and three of its four members ... the survivors from the rump of the disgraced BBI ... are standing as Independents.
Time will tell whether – if re-elected – they will then regroup as a named band of Indies, which yields benefits in terms of gaining places on committees.
The three comprise the clan Austin – Alison and Richard – and Helen Staples, whilst Councillor David Witts has no party preference shown on his nomination form.
A former councillor seeking a return to the Worst Street bear pit is Brian Rush – a onetime BBI candidate who subsequently defected and formed the Better Boston Party.
Ill-health forced his resignation, but he is now standing for UKIP in Staniland Ward.
Sadly, despite the plethora of parties, there are no Monster Raving Loonies among the nominations.
But given the nature of the Worst Street chamber over the past few years, we are sure that a cluster will emerge as time goes by.*
As they say in the news – those are the headlines.
We’ll be back on Friday with our usual blog when we’ll be looking at the nominations and some of the more interesting candidates in more detail.
In tandem with the borough council nominations, a final list of candidates for the Westminster election was announced – including an unexpected name ... that of Peter Johnson of Benington standing as an Independent
The full list is – in alphabetical order for the sake of fairness is:
Robin Hunter-Clarke – UKIP
Peter Johnson – Independent
Paul Kenny – Labour
Lyn Luxton – Pilgrim Party
Chris Pain – Independence from Europe
Victoria Percival – Green
Matt Warman – Conservative
David Watts – Liberal Democrats,
Robert West – BNP
Robert West – BNP
*CLUSTER. Collective noun for a bunch of nuts.
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