Up next is UK Independent Party councillor for Wootton Bridge, Daryll Pitcher. Thanks to Daryll for resending his submission this morning (which he first sent on 16th October, but got lost in the ether). In his own words. Ed
I must say that when I heard the result for Wootton Bridge read out at Medina Leisure Centre by Chris Mathews back in May I had no idea what a rollercoaster I had just boarded. Within a short space of time we have come a long way, had our eyes opened to so much that was previously hidden to us as members of the public and witnessed the goings on of the various groups. And with our learning the Council itself.
The new controlling Independent group, the newly oppositioned Conservatives, the rest of us in the middle, literally between the two during full council meetings. I have witnessed the first faltering steps taken by all sides and now watch as the council ‘matures’ in to a working pattern.
This really is a different council to what was before, not only because of a change in control but because of the make up in the chamber. UKIP has helped this by joining the fray and putting forward new ideas to old problems.
We have taken an active part in things such as the review of governance which was one of our manifesto pledges. In fact we were the only ones to propose an actual review. Others proposed to either change the system or keep it the same. Both Graham Perks and I have been involved with important ward issues, for instance one of my first tasks was to un-freeze the disposal of land in Wootton needed for our new Doctors Surgery, frozen, it turns out, in error as the transfer was already agreed.
As UKIP we keep our own counsel. We have no whip so I can’t tell Graham how to vote! Yet we very often do vote the same way, because we agree on so much. We support each other and often talk through issues.
UKIP went and visited Island Roads at Dodnor and while there Graham and I were able to put forward a number of issues, both Island wide ones and local ward matters. Having UKIP in the chamber has certainly changed the dynamic between the Independents and the Conservatives.
Our voting record shows that we are separate of both and vote on our conscience. I remember the first thing I ever said in full council, to Ian Stephens the then newly elected Leader of the Council “We will support where we can, and oppose where we must” and I’m proud to say 180 days later that is exactly what we have done.