Blogpost: Should Thurrock Labour take up Thurrock Independents’ offer?

Blogpost By Mick Hall

“WELL whatever I may think about Thurrock Independent’s Luke Spillman’s previous party he has certainly put the cat among the pidgeons with his open letter to the group leader of Thurrock Labour Party TLP). He has sensed a hesitancy in the behaviour of the local TLP over the closure of Orsett Hospital and acted accordingly.

Whether Labour will respond positively to his open letter is unlikely, given the bad blood between the two parties, however, as some of us know from personal relationships opposites can often work well together.

Between 2014-16 the LP governed Thurrock as a minority party, what Mr Spillman is suggesting is it repeats this for a second time with TIP support. This would mean bringing the Tory led council down with a no confidence vote supported by TiP and Labour.

Democracy is clearly on Spillman’s side as the two parties combined have 29 councillors and the Tories just 20.

Governing in a minority administration can be a thankless task, Labour managed it pretty well under John Kent between 2014-16, although it was far from a resounding success as a minority administration must make compromises.

The Tories have proven to be disastrous at it, to understand this one only has to look at the way they have dealt with important issues like the closure of Orsett hospital, their attempt to put a stealth tax on sheltered housing residents, and proposed plans that may involve building a new school on one of the last open green spaces in Grays.

When local residents and opposition politicians oppose their plans, their stock response is it’s a done deal stop scaremongering, never mind they may have genuine grievances and worries.

So how will this pan out? Cllr Spillman is clearly on a roll, he seems to believe even if Labour ignores his offer he will be able to use it against them at the next local elections by tagging them as a party who once had the opportunity to remove the Tory led council but refused to step up to the plate.

Having said this I doubt opportunism is his main motive for unlike some UKIP/TiP members his hatred of the Tories is palpable and clear to see.

The Chinese have a curse ‘May you live in interesting times’ which is used ironically as for us ordinary folk it is far better to live in uninteresting times when peace and tranquility reigns.

Thus for the LP this is a more difficult decision to make given they and TiP target the same section of Thurrock’s electorate, the working classes, in all probability they will ignore Spillman’s offer and kick up some dust over the closure of Orsett hospital, the problem with that is political dust quickly dissipates.

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