One of my photos

Deserting the sinking ship

January 17th, 2011 · Posted by Skuds in Politics · No Comments · Politics

It was with mixed feelings today that I read a Tweet from Councillor James Doyle of Worthing:

Feeling very sad. Last day as a Liberal Democrat today, after 16 yrs. Hope natl party leadership begin to see sense soon, so I can rejoin

I like James.  Jayne and I saw a lot of him and his wife in 2000/2001 or whenever it was when I was Deputy Mayor of Crawley and he was Mayor of Worthing and we were invited to a lot of the same civic functions.  I know he is not only very committed to what he does, but the Worthing Lib Dems have been a big part of his life – and he has been a big part of theirs, looking after their website and everything.  He was even the Lib Dem PPC at the last general election.

So, although part of me is glad to see signs of the grass roots of the party deserting the leadership, whether it is voters or PPCs, I have a lot of sympathy for James who will now be an independent councillor at Worthing borough council and West Sussex county council.  It must be lonely there, though perhaps he will get some company soon as Clegg and Co. systematically alienate their party and the number of independents grows.

Many of my comrades in the Labour party have a blinkered view of the Lib Dems, but I have found most of them that I have met to be fine and principled even if in some cases (like Horsham council) they have not been very effective as an opposition.   A shame about the notorious dodgy bar charts though.

Also a shame that their almost inevitable drubbing in the local elections is likely to benefit the Tories more than anybody else in places like West Sussex.

It will be interesting to see whether any of his colleagues on either council decide to follow his lead and become independent, or even Labour  It is a big step, but a lot easier when somebody else has marked the path.  If a few more PPCs (Godfrey?) follow him, will the national leadership sit up and take notice?   Or will they plough on and pin their hopes on future appointments to ambassadorships,  Euro-posts or peerages?

It is enough to almost get me interested in politics again!


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