Following the resignation of local Brigg Tory councillor John Berry and his declaration as an independent candidate, another local and very prominent councillor has crossed the floor moving from Liberal Democrat to Tory.
Nick Poole has been a local Liberal Democrat councillor for many years representing Ridge Ward.
I mean lets be honest, its not much of a "crossing of the floor" is it? Its more a snuggle to the right in the cosy post-coital glow of this May's ConDemocratic unholy alliance.
Mr Poole also presented a some what apathetic campaign back in May to come in 3rd place to Nic Dakin (Labour) and Caroline Johnson (Conservative) when he contested the Scunthorpe Seat in the general election.
I was certainly surprised by the complete lack effort being made by the Liberals in this area. A friend involved in Liberal Politics in another area of the UK did suggest that a lack of budget meant that leaflets were only being produced for target areas, of which Scunthorpe was not one. As a result Mr Poole totally failed to cash in on the Glegg-gasm which the Liberals made so much of in so many other parts of the country.
As I've said before, I'm strongly of the opinion that there is far too much party politics involved in local government, and that a fairer more honest system could be derived by the removal of party voting within local government elections.
This is clear from the comments and opinions posted on some blogs, where it is reported that the Tories have already selected a candidate for Ridge ward and that Poole's defection with cause fall out internally. Personally I think its quite ironic that certain bloggers congratulate Hull Liberals in joining the Labour Movement, but condemn Liberals for joining the Tories. Come on, pick a stance and stand by it, either its ethically right to stand on one platform and then declare for another, or not.
Regardless of the perceived turmoil that some are suggesting this may cause, my opinion on this defection is the same as my opinion on ALL defections regardless as to what party they defect to.
If a councillor or MP elected on a given political philosophy and they then choose to no longer represent that philosophy, surely they should resign their position and stand to be re-elected as a representative of their new party?
Certainly comments people have made to me suggest a great deal of disappointment in Poole's betrayal of his party and the electorate; perhaps he hopes that he can be the Tory candidate next time round at the general election? That would put some sense behind his actions, Dr Johnson clearly lost votes because she was not local, Nick Poole is well respected in the business community in Scunthorpe.
Would these two factors alone be enough to break the Labour strangle hold on Scunthorpe? Certainly when looking at the voting in the last election more people voted Tory and Liberal than voted Labour, but would they trust some one who has so clearly betrayed the trust of the electorate so quickly?
I'm left wondering if this some desperate Tory attempt to gain influence in the town at the next general election?
Update - 17/6/10
Mick Grant's blog
further explains some background on other transfers in and out of different political parties locally.
Can't say I agree with him as he's suggesting there is a moralistic issue to score each decision on, but, it's well worth a read for another opinion.
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