Sunday 8 April 2012

How independent is "Independent"?

It's been said before, but it's worth saying again in the run-up to the local council elections, that some of the dictionary definitions of independent are:

"not affiliated or merged with a larger organisation";

"thinking or acting for oneself";

"not dependent or relying on others"  and, most tellingly -

"a politician or other who commits himself to no party".

What, then, are we to make of people who band together in order to form an "Independent" group in the local council?  How can they be truly independent at the same time as being part of a group which votes in the same way and apparently has the same views on all topics?

Is the title "independent" - as is often assumed - a pseudonym for Tory?  And, if so, why don't they have the courage to nail their colours to the Tory mast?  Or, on the other hand, does this group of people range from somewhere on the left of Marx to the right of the BNP?  How is the voter to know?

By law, traders have to describe accurately the products they are selling otherwise they contravene the Trade Descriptions Act.  I suggest that those councillors who make up the independent group and who are selling themselves to the voters should similarly have to state clearly and unequivocally what they understand by the description "independent" and what principles they stand for.  All candidates who call themselves independent should declare that they will not be willing just to do as they are told and follow the leader, otherwise they risk misleading the public by giving themselves that title and, if there was such a thing as a Councillors' Description Act, they might be in danger of falling foul of it.

People First candidates - even though they are campaigning under one banner - will be truly independent because they will not have to vote according to a party whip.  They will have the freedom to vote as they think fit;  they will be able to follow their consciences in all matters.  No-one will be able to tell them  how to vote on any subject that is raised in council.

People First councillors will be another dictionary definition of independent - "completely self-governing".  That is as it should be. 

Lesley Williams

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