We have had a flood of emails and phone calls from readers asking us if we know what each ‘Independent’ candidate will do after they are elected. We don’t.
Concerns focus on one specific issue – will an elected ‘Independent’ go on to join the Alliance of Independent Councillors, which will re-form after the election?
Some wonder if that Alliance might re-form itself under a new name – ‘Sheep’s Clothing’ perhaps?
The core issue here is that there is a body of voters whose extent we cannot judge but who are not prepared to vote for any ‘Independent’ candidate who, if elected, might then join a group that, over its leadership of successive administrations, has left Argyll in the unable condition it is in.
So we are responding here to the frequent calls made to us to challenge each ‘Independent’ candidate to declare their position on this issue in the Comments box below. And, for the sake of their electoral chances, the sooner the better.
Independents have three effective choices:
- join the Alliance of Independent Councillors;
- apply to join one of the other groups such as Argyll First or the Argyll and Bute Independent Councillors Group;
- remain as an independent, voting on an issue by issue basis – after getting and considering all available evidence – and not simply from council sources which have been shown to be distorted.
If an elected Independent joins a group, they might end up as part of a coalition administration. That would compromise their ‘independence’.
With this in mind, the voter also needs to know, without equivocation, whether either of the two groups mentioned at ‘option 2′ above would contemplate joining an administration with the Alliance of Independent Councillors; and, if so, what the circumstances of such a partnership might be?
We also invite those groups to state their position on this issue below.
If an elected Independent remains independent and votes as they see the merit of each issue, they can expect, on occasion, to be subject to powerful persuasion – which can include inducements - from the administration partners and, without inducements – because they are in no position to offer any, from the formal opposition.
Life will not be boring but real independence has profound value to the electorate and certainly so in local government.
Let’s hear from all those ‘Independents’ and discover who is independent, who sees a value in becoming a member of a group and who is open to joining the Alliance of Independents.
People need to know exactly what they are voting for and they have a right to insist on answers to likely scenarios before they cast their votes on Thursday.