Letter: The Island must come before party political loyalties

Islander John Luckett shares his observations on the upcoming council elections and explains why he believes party politics stops things getting done.

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We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers. This in from John Luckett from Whippingham. Ed

What a breath of fresh air and a privilege it was to meet Martin Bell OBE last week on his visit to our Island, a true gentleman – and both interesting and inspirational. No Party Whips; party leadership dictates or “Block voting” for this man, oh no!

Cynics may say it is the start of the “silly season” as our Local Elections approach – but in all seriousness, I believe this is the most important electoral choice for generations. The choices Island voters make which will shape the Islands fortunes for the next generation. It is VERY IMPORTANT that the 70% who didn’t vote the last time round (no matter what your allegiances) become more involved and have their say on how the Island is to be run.

Straw poll finds current administration out of favour
The only people I have encountered who appear happy with the current state of affairs is the Conservative ruling group themselves, I have not met anyone who thinks the incumbent ruling group are doing a good job – and I meet a lot of people in my daily life as a health professional. The lack of confidence in its leadership also being confirmed with the e-petition calling for Cllr Pugh’s resignation more than doubling since being reported last week.

The Island is currently on the edge of an abyss which threatens our very special quality of life. As a Belgian politician once said – “We are standing at the edge of the precipice, ready to make the great leap forward”. Sorry folks, but I am not ready to jump, thank you very much!

The Island must come before party political loyalties
I fear nothing will change positively on the Island until we have a Council led and managed by people who are independently-minded and committed to putting the Island before party political loyalties (I include ALL parties in this) – is this really too much too ask? Consistent and blatant “block-voting” by the current ruling group has undermined democracy beyond measure and resulted in what I think amounts to a “licensed tyranny” over the last four years.

There has not been one example of any Conservative breaking ranks on any issue over this period because they are told by their Party leadership how to vote. Although I was told by one Conservative a while ago that “…we have a jolly good bun-fight behind closed doors” – so why do they do it? Because they will get expelled from their party if they do – their rule book says so! How can the Island electorate have confidence in them if their own party leadership do not trust them enough to make up their own minds?

Many driven to despair
Like many people I meet, this Conservative council by their actions; broken promises; and sadly by their personal conduct have driven me to despair – but I do remain positive and know that there are people capable of seeing us through these difficult times, most of whom are existing or prospective candidates of an independent persuasion.

To be fair I also know there are some genuine and talented people in the parties too (but only some!) and it is my fervent wish that they work together after May and get the Island back on its feet. I also want us Islanders to be proud of our Council and the people who work for it too.

Bell: “…reconnect those that govern with those who are governed”
The Conservatives maintain their power on people’s apathy and disillusionment, together with a loyal “party faithful” and a well organised machine that successfully gets their “faithful” to the polling booths on Election Day. The biggest challenge facing every candidate is as Martin Bell said is to “…reconnect those that govern with those who are governed”.

No-one can deny there is an almost total breakdown in this relationship here on the Island.

Party politics stops things getting done
My own three years experience of campaigning/activism on Island issues (which at times has been a steep learning curve!) has taught me beyond doubt that practicing party politics stops things getting done and has no place in Local Government. Also one party having all the power stifles democracy.

Martin Bell’s visit was of true significance and proves that one can succeed and make a difference at the highest level whilst still maintaining their personal integrity, credibility and freedom of expression, and I wish all the independent candidates success in May and I will be actively supporting and campaigning for some of you.

Burke: “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good (people) to do nothing”
To those 7/10 people who did not vote last time I remind you of the words of Edmund Burke who said “All it takes for evil to prosper is for good (people) to do nothing”.

Please take an interest and ask your prospective candidates lots of questions and make them earn your vote and trust, it has never been more important for the Island.

John Luckett, Whippingham

Image: Secret London 2013 under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 26th February, 2013 9:36am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2axC

Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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65 Comments on "Letter: The Island must come before party political loyalties"

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Totally Agree.

We need and ‘Island First’ campaign.


Resurrecting the failed Island First thing would be a bad idea.

How we re-engage people in politics is a huge challenge. Unfortunately on here you’re preaching to the converted. Pinging out the election ‘event’ on Facebook to all your IOW dwelling friends and then encouraging them is something everyone on Facebook can do and I’d encourage everyone to do it!

I agree with everything you say John and I also attended the Martin Bell session. I had expected him to be the warm-up act before we got down to discussing the Independent election campaign tactics. We already have the Independent website at http://www.independent-island.co.uk/index.html and that is a very good start. But it seems that candidates are left to organise their own ward campaigns. I’m sure there are… Read more »
Ken Thomas
What an excellent letter from John Luckett. It is exactly right. In aiding the “Independant Campaign” funds will be needed for publicity. I do hope that in the not too distant future,those of us who cannot go out and about to spread the message will be told where we can contribute. We must not lose this opportunity to stop the rot in May. There is so much… Read more »
Is this a letter promoting Indpenednts or a letter pushing for local politics over party politics. I have no time for Martin Bell, who had the opportunity to use celebrity status to remove hand picked opposition and succeeded famously on one occassion and failed in all others…are we really promoting celebrity over politics..when we should be promoting hard working local candidates instead. I’m standing as a Labour… Read more »
@No5: You’d better beef up on the spending allowance for candidates then……remember, I’ve told you twice. It’s £600 + 5p per electorate head in your Ward. Surprisingly, going over that *can* be considered a criminal offence… Now, you might find it offensive to hear about the pro *Independent Campaign* but you are going to hear much more of it. The Labour Party fielded 16 candidates in 2009…for… Read more »
just because the rules say £600 + 5p does not mean the parties have that money to spend. The problems on the Island are not a result of party politics, it is as a result of the standard of councillor elected and the agenda of the ruling cabal. Being an Independent does not make you a good or better councillor. The Labour Party is totally realistic about… Read more »
Your up-front honesty about your political affiliation is appreciated No 5. I wish we could say the same about many of the independents. Perhaps all Independent candidates should declare which way they voted in last local and general elections – that way at least we would get an idea of their world view and the way they are likley to lean when it comes to votes/support if… Read more »
@No 5: I’ll take that as you agreeing then that the budgetary allowance is £600 = 5p per head of electorate in the Ward. Your previous postings telling me I was wrong were, in themselves, wrong! Don’t bother apologising. There is very much wrong with this Island due to Party Politics…the very Party Politics that have resulted in the ruling group Block voting for 8 years. Every… Read more »
@anna: Why is it really so difficult to understand with Independent Councillors that they are NOT affiliated to any Political Party…! Why are you obsessed with trying to put these Councillors into little (political) boxes that you then feel you can make sense of..? Independents stand for a wide range of values, ideals and beliefs…they are Independent of one another and they are Independent of any Political… Read more »
John M Luckett
It is quite clear that I state that I will be supporting independent little i) candidates. Basically I would like to see people elected who put the Island first and have the intelligence and integrity and clear policies to work for their wards and to be able to work in a civilised and consensual manner to get the Island through its difficulties. I also want to see… Read more »
Interesting post No.5. I find it amusing that at the General Elections you proudly stood up and announced you were voting Lib Dem in order to keep the Conservatives out on the Island. Here we now find you promoting Labour, and I have no gripe with that, one of our best Island Councillors is Geoff Lumley and if he were standing in my ward I would be… Read more »
Great letter from John Luckett. @ Sam Salt. Your story about Brading Station and Brading Post Office confirms my suspicions about Conservative tactics. You mention Geoff Giles who attended Mary Collis’s little beano. To my surprise, in a leaflet he distributed a few months ago introducing himself as the Tory candidate, he claimed responsibility for saving Bembridge library. That came as a bit of a surprise to… Read more »
Black Dog
Mr Giles lives in a parallel universe where dogs don’t bite and the sun always shines. Councillor Giles has not been anywhere near Bembridge Library, It was the work of all the volunteers and the Steering Group that secured and continue to secure the future of Bembridge Library. Councillor Giles was to oversee (part of the many, many delegated decisions made by this regime) the closure of… Read more »
Black Dog I think there may be some confusion over Cllr Giles. We have Cllr Edward Giles, elected member of the IWC and a member of the cabinet. This is the Cllr Giles you are writing about. We also have Cllr in Waiting Geoff Giles who both Darcy and I were referring to. Mr Geoff Giles is an ex Parish Councillor. It is this gentleman who Darcy… Read more »
Black Dog

Apologies I have got the two of them confused. However, my comments about Bembridge Library still stand.

No Isle of Wight Councillors other that Jonathan Bacon were involved in the campaign to save Bembridge Library.

Once again my apologies for getting your Councillor Giles mixed up with Councillor Edward Giles


@ Black Dog And everything you said about the toilets and the vindictive behaviour of the Pugh Boys to Bembridge is spot on and won’t be forgotten. Thanks for highlighting this issue again!


You do have an excellent Mayor in Brading ;)


Of course No. 5 she is Labour. A great lady!

Keith Fagan

As the former Chair of The Bembridge Library User Group (BLUG) I can confirm that I do not know of Mr. Geoff Giles or of any involvement by him during my time as Chair of BLUG.

I trust this clears this matter up.

Darcy let those of us supporting the Independents keep the fight fair and not stoop to the tactics of the Conservatives. I have today sourced the leaflet Mr Giles distributed and at no point did he claim responsibility for saving Bembridge library. What his leaflet stated was his wife was a volunteer at the library. I know the Conservative tactics leave a very bad taste in the… Read more »
@ Sam Salt If you read any of my comments, I usually go out of my way to make my comments fair and balanced. I’m out of the country for eight days and so am unable to access the leaflet in question. I’m positive that the document I received through the door made it clear that he was involved in saving the library. I will check on… Read more »
Quote from leaflet dated November 2012: “Bembridge Library: Although a contentious decision at the time, the establishment of a community library is working well. Geoff’s wife enjoys being part of the team of volunteers who work on a rota basis in the library. Some residents have indicated they would like to see more frequent stock rotation by the IW Council and we would welcome feedback on this… Read more »

I recall seeing the leaflet mentioned by Darcy last year and am pretty sure it referred to Mr Giles involvement in the library. Were there more than one? Seems a bit unfair to acuse Darcy of underhand behaviour though.


clearly there is more than *one* leaflet doing the rounds…!!
Darcy is referring to an older leaflet, I suspect, where that might have been *suggested*
The latest campaign leaflet doesn’t appear to make the same claims…. :0)
Lets keep the pressure up on this administration….ANY statements they make need substantiating, older or current, in leaflets or claims or wherever..



@ Sam Salt
Thank you. You know me – moderation in everything! I think we may be talking different documents as I’m sure the one I saw was published by the Conservatives, and was earlier than November. Of course, I may have been having another senior moment…

Billy Builder
Any form of whipping imposed by the party system is a corruption of democracy, whether at local or national level, as your member or parliament or council is not able to exercises his vote on behalf of his constituents. With regard to what is currently happening in the Council, they are able to act with impunity, and certainly are not representing the best interests of the Isle… Read more »

what threat?

we need to work together to be rid of the tories….voting tactically didn’t work for millions lasr time

as stated, I will represent my locality over politics and wish every luck in brading


Any grown up person who needs to be ‘led’ by David Pugh should take a long hard look at themselves.

I will certainly be voting independent.

Don’t know who the candidate will be as the only person who has paid a visit to my home so far is the new candidate for Wootton, one Edward Giles. His Tory propaganda was not wasted. I lit the fire with it.

Mason Watch
Ah, Eddie ‘ET’ Giles, a man who would attend the opening of a bag of crisps if he thought there would be an opportunity for self promotion. There’s a simple answer to the current lack of coherent leadership and management …… Don’t vote for the utterly incompetent conservatives! If you are in the booth, pencil in hand just remember the gurning vision of Pugh, Giles and the… Read more »

Eddie Giles in Wooton?

More evidence the dire Tories are so frit, they are moving council seats to save themselves.

Sorry Eddie, David and team, wherever you stand people will know your track record. There is no hiding place.

Tory majority in Giles” former seat was 16- following the Asphalt Plant farrago it is likely to be lost in 2013 so presumably he is looking at a new ward where the 2009 majority was 578. For safe Tory ward do you think Cllr Scoccia (majority 7)and her other vulnerable party companions will seek election in 2013? Where will Cllr Whittle end up- the one who changed… Read more »
Don Smith

Inappropriate behaviour – Spit it out for God’s sake.

Political bubbles such as those we have witnessed by the incumbents’ block voting and delegated decision making two-step, are, like all other bubbles including the housing & financial ones are our fault. We have allowed the environment to exist, which has encouraged these metastasising menaces. Sometimes through apathy, sometimes through lack of motivation to vote for any of the candidates, sometimes because the candidates have nothing to… Read more »
Black Dog
I fully agree with you playingthenumbers. I see within the ranks of the independents real passion supported by talent and all important ingredient – experience. Like the MRSA problem in hospitals I would advocate a DEEP CLEAN. I believe that the workers at the coal face, not only know of the problems we have, but know how to fix them. I would immediately halt the sale of… Read more »

@Black Dog:

That’s about it….!!
You a prospective candidate?

A deep clean is coming!!!!!!!


Black Dog

No I am not a candidate. However, I do know a few of them and the professional backup they have in place during the campaign and after when they take control of County Hall.


maybe we’ll meet up then…!

are you offering any help ..? I know some want help around the North of the Island…



budget passed …. no surprise!
23 for. 12 against
someone needs to tell Cllr Pugh what makes an Independent councillor because he truly doesn’t understand that you can run a Council without Party Politics.. badly doesn’t get that!

just to add, conservatives in some force in the public gallery… maps, plans, foot soldier routes and roads for canvassing, almost sneers when Cllr Stephens spoke…. it really is unpleasant to witness … just sitting quietly beside them… not good … but shows the strength of this Party and the prospect of what we shall get after May on e again …….unless we act. please offer help… Read more »
Robert Jones
I haven’t much concern about how people will vote, since almost anything would be better than the present set of incumbents. But don’t think that plonking Independent in front of a candidate’s name is going to make him or her any better in itself. Independent groups have their own rules; and did, here on the island, in the past. An Independent in Cornwall has just refused to… Read more »
Couple of comments….. Don’t confuse National Politics with Local Politics…they are vastly different animals. So, Whilst MB arrived at his position it was in respect of being an MP and not a Local Councillor. All systems stem from somewhere…..but they evolve and change to suit the prevailing forces and ideologies and ethos. It’s really no good keep harping back to the *coalition* of Independents who were, don’t… Read more »


It’s an interesting paradox to observe that the independents are the best shot at recognising that we’re all interdependent, perhaps the function of diversity is to best equip the whole.

When you mention ‘change’, what is it you’re envisaging?


Clearly there is merit in having elected representatives actually representing their electorate…. That sounds to me to be a pretty good recipe for democracy…? Whether we like it or not, this administration has demonstrated, by its’ actions over 8 years, on voting for schemes and processes that impact and affect the Island and its’ residents(after all, that’s what they’re there to do, isn’t it?…manage the running of… Read more »
hazel wyld

I so agree, I have been a tory all my life but will be voting independant from now on, we need councilors who vote with their conscience not with their parties.

Dear Mr Luckett, Im sorry but you’re writing idealistic nonsence. The Independents block voted against the budget. Any rational for that?? The facts are that ‘Group’ strength lies in voting together. Do you expect me to believe that every Independent voted against a freeze in Council Tax because it was what their residents wanted them to?? No, it was politics pure and simple. If you think it… Read more »
@bayboy: Would you want them to not vote for well thought out strategies and policies if they were in power…? I mean, there’s only a yes vote, a no vote or an abstention (no effect on the vote) The whole ide of democratic process is to allow people to vote for their electorate. If the Policies were sound I’d EXPECT the majority of Councillors to vote for… Read more »
@ bayboy. So the ruling group block have now voted for a council tax freeze for three years while inflation has continued at between three and five per cent per year. Who do you think will have to pick up the pieces of this reckless policy? Had they raised council tax by just one per cent per year (well under the inflation rate), your friends at County… Read more »


I do think that ‘They might even have been respected’ is probably being a little optimistic !


Yea, I was feeling generous!!

John M Luckett
Dear BayBoy – quite happy with being an idealist, perhaps the fact that I challenge people to think for themselves and have the courage of their own convictions a bit of an alien concept for you. I fully welcome your challenge to my views – I was beginning to think nearly everyone agreed with me :) ! I think it is more democratic to have people who… Read more »

Remember the saying – United we stand – divided we fall. Independents never stay united and thus fail.

@bayboy: Hang on….. you can’t have it all ways (Pugh tried that tonight in the Chamber, btw) Firstly you accuse the Independents of *block* voting… then you follow that up with “Independents don’t stay united…”! The vote tonight was 23 for the Budget (ie: every conservative Councillor present) and 12 against (ie: all others…though one other abstained) The cute approach of trying to pin Block voting on… Read more »
@whightywhight Thanks for the reply. ‘who can truthfully vote on issues according to their principles, their beliefs, their concern for their Ward residents and for the sake of democratic process’ This quote is key. If we have an electorate that is unaware of the driving factors of the functioning of society, then how can they express their concerns about them? Similarly… if the candidate is also unaware… Read more »
@Peaceful Life: I do agree with you on this. The electorate – those that engage by voting – can only make a choice within the confines of the system we have. It’s ‘loosely’ democratic! That means simply by choosing a candidate… Those candidates can bring a whole plethora of skills and experience (or lack thereof)to the electorate and you are right in saying, I believe, that poorly… Read more »
@wightywhight. Again, thanks for the reply. Indeed, you are correct in making the point that an independent is capable of making prudent decisions, in fact…..more so than a candidate ensconced in political ideologies. Those days are gone, only the ones with the flexability to comprehend the physics of what can be done.. can adopt any kind of foresight to help them sculpt the correct egalitarian conclusions. It’s… Read more »

…and the ONLY people capable of, perhaps, achieving that…? Independents of course!
“Beyond politics” rules out all the major Political Parties.. :0)

Which has been my underlying point from the outset….there is NO need to have Party Politics in Local Government…
Achieving that *dream* may be a difficult task but it is a truism.



I have just cut my grass for the first time this year and as I was doing so I asked myself the following question.

“If you take the politics out of David Pugh, what qualities does he bring to the table?”

No – me neither! Anyway grass looks nice.

A bit of gardening advice for block8. While you were cutting the grass, you didn’t come across Phallus ImPughdicus, otherwise known as the stinkhorn fungus. It is an unpleasant smelling fruiting body resembling a phallus. When it is mature you will find it covered in slimy, stinky spores sticking out of your lawn. The odor from the stinkhorn attracts flies that carry the fungus to other parts… Read more »


Absolutly, I agree that the independents are best placed, but.. without a good comprehension of what it is we’re dealing with… the end results will be the same.

Our predicament needs a collective understanding, and looked squarley in the eye, only then can the independents facilitate the change needed.

As Meadows et al laid bare in the early 70’s, there are ‘limits’.


John M Luckett

Hooray! Almost full version of my letter printed in IWCP today! :)

Don Smith

Well done John M. Quite an achievement.

I do wish that more people on this forum would make their comments in the CP. You do have a larger audience. No disrespect to VB.

Island Monkey
Todays CP is extraordinary. You could almost believe that their friendship with ahem, certain people at IOW council has meant past coverage of successive council disasters has been somewhat muted. Today it seems they have at last had the courage to admit in print, almost for the first time that our beloved council stinks and has in fact been failing for years. OTW has of course been… Read more »

colours nail and winner come to mind