Saturday, 7 August 2010

Is the Independent Group a happy ship?

I know that to many people the concept of an Independent 'group' on Cornwall Council is an anathema. Why should a lot of individuals who were elected without party support band together in a common purpose? Whilst the hackneyed view of independents in local politics is that they are Conservatives in disguise, Cornwall's bunch are a very disparate lot. For sure, there are some who are true blue Tories, and some who are probably more right wing than that. Others are more Green or MK in their outlook and I'm pretty sure that at least a couple of them vote Labour - even in Cornwall. And then there are those who simply don't know what they are.

But, despite the disparity, after the elections last year, 31 of the 32 people elected as independents chose to group together and enter a formal coalition administration with the Conservatives. The one 'stand alone' was Bob Egerton.

But I wonder just how happy a ship Neil Burden's Indie group is at the moment? This week came the news that Neil Plummer has formally joined the MK group after losing his role as chair of the Strategic Planning Committee. And Andrew Wallis tweeted on Thursday his unhappiness with Cllr Burden - when challenged about his status as Group Leader, he replied 'not in my eyes'.

The Tories have also seen their numbers dwindle with the sad death of Richard Stewart last year (the by-election was won by the Lib Dems) and the expulsion of Bill Jenkin who is awaiting court of sexual assault charges. But it is in the Indie Group where most problems seem to lie at the moment.

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