Fringe Box



Letter: We Will Not Align Ourselves With Any Political Party

Published on: 27 Sep, 2018
Updated on: 27 Sep, 2018

From Tony Rooth and Bob McShee

In response to: Will the New Independents Form Part of the Opposition?

We are Independent and free from party politics at local level.  We believe that local councils can be independent and should be run on non-party political lines as happens at Epsom and Ewell.

Therefore, we do not intend to align ourselves with any political party or their manifestos. No group has a monopoly of good ideas. We will work with other groups and individual councillors where there is serious common ground in order to deliver the best outcome for our borough and our residents.

We believe that residents and councillors should know much more about what is going on at the council and be given real opportunities to influence council decisions so they are sensible, realistic and good value for money.

We will listen to what residents and fellow councillors say. We will study, analyse and question any major policy or proposal from whichever group or councillor. Then we will say what we mean and mean what we say.

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Responses to Letter: We Will Not Align Ourselves With Any Political Party

  1. Adam Aaronson Reply

    September 27, 2018 at 8:07 pm

    “No group has a monopoly of good ideas.”

    If only more politicians, from every party, both at the local and national level, were to adopt this statement as a key element of their thinking, we would all be considerably better off.

  2. David Edwards Reply

    September 28, 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Thank goodness for two sensible councillors who are keeping away from party politics. The party conference season turns me off any of the main political parties. They think they have a monopoly of ideas, most of which are bad, not good.

    Let’s have more Independent councillors who don’t claim such party political arrogance and get on with the job of representing us.

  3. Jules Cranwell Reply

    September 28, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    I do hope Nils Christiansen also joins this group, so as to restore some balance of power.

  4. David Roberts Reply

    September 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    I’m confused.

    Are these just two disaffected individuals, or a new Independent party grouping? On which basis would they fight the next council election? Will they be registering with the Electoral Commission? Will there be an organised slate of Independent candidates for all wards, with a leader and a manifesto? Or just a free-for-all splitting the opposition vote multiple ways?

    For all their good intentions, “fresh blood” is not a phrase that springs to mind in the case of Cllrs Rooth and McShee. Overturning Guildford’s one-party state will take more than the deathbed conversion of two council veterans.

    • John Perkins Reply

      September 30, 2018 at 9:49 am

      Holding to principles is not being “disaffected”.

      These two are not a political party so there is no requirement to register with the Electoral Commission, nor any need to organise or publish a manifesto. They are free to join with any or all of the other political groups at GBC in order to form a more effective opposition. My opinion is that there is an advantage in that and it requires councillors only to agree on where they sit.

      If candidates are to be rejected because they are old then maybe we can all look forward to being ruled by feral children.

  5. Ben Paton Reply

    September 30, 2018 at 9:24 am

    Okay, so these gentlemen are ‘independent’. I’ve got that message. But so what? The result is a blur.

    They’ve fallen out with the local Conservative party. But they hung on until the last minute. They did not summon the courage to jump before they were on the point of being pushed.

    Cllr Rooth, in particular, is very closely associated with many if not most of the local Conservatives’ disastrous policies. He backed Mr Mansbridge, the man who set the trajectory for the Local Plan. He’s voted for this plan through most of its existence.

    So where does Cllr Rooth stand on these issues now? He has not come out and said that the Local Plan needs to be revisited, like Liz Hogger.

    He has not stated that the council’s whole approach to the ‘objectively assessed need’ has been intellectually dishonest. He has not agreed with the irrefutable fact that the Strategic Housing Market Assessment came up with a Housing Target that is demonstrably about twice the level of any objective need. He has not criticised the council’s policy of selling off council houses. He has not spoken out to prevent building unnecessarily on the green belt. He has not commented on indications that the council may lend tens of millions of pounds to assist building student accommodation for the University (which it should itself fund). He has said nothing about Guildford’s farcical ‘sustainable movement corridors’.

    What good is being Independent if you have nothing to say of any substance on the policies that the council is implementing? Why should anyone vote for Mr Rooth when he is so deeply implicated in the Local Plan and to this day refrains from actually doing anything to stop its adoption?

    Is ‘independence’ a mechanism for keeping a seat in the council chamber and compensation for disappointment at being excluded from the inner circle of power around Mr Spooner? Does Mr Rooth want to change Conservative policy in Guildford? If so, what exactly does he propose in its place and what is he doing about it?

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