After the local election results I noted that in several counties there could be Conservative/UKIP coalitions and that in terms of policy these would offer UKIP their best chance to advance their stated causes of lower Council Tax, less political correctness and bureaucracy, fewer potholes and expansion of grammar schools.
Yet so far no such coalitions have come about and in general this seems to be due to UKIP refusing to negotiate. In Lincolnshire there is to be a Conservative/Lib Dem/Independents coalition. The Lib Dems will have one Cabinet Member. The Conservative council leader Cllr Martin Hill would have been happy to have talked to UKIP about a coalition but they weren't interested. They delayed a week before choosing their group leader – lacking any sense of urgency that in a large organisations there are decisions that have to be taken. But even before their meeting it was made clear that they would only have been interested in a UKIP/Lab/Lib Dem/Independents coalition.
In East Sussex there will be a minority Conservative administration.
Cllr Philip Howson, the leader of the UKIP group, said:
“It’s a minority council but we will support them as much as possible as long as it’s in the best interests of the people of Sussex.
“There was absolutely never any talk of a coalition.
"The message from head office is ‘no deals’."
An intriguing comment. I thought the UKIP "head office" was putting out the message that there was local discretion. In any event it sounds as though the prohibition is on deals with the Conservatives – those with Labour or the Lib Dems would be considered fine and dandy. In Cambridgeshire the UKIP councillors are trying to come up with a deal with Labour and the Lib Dems to "end Party politics" by which they seem to mean prevent a minority Conservative administration.
In Norfolk there is deadlock with the opposition councillors voting against a Conservative leader but no alternative having been agreed either. They will try again on May 24th.
In Lancashire, another hung council but where there are no UKIP councillors, the talking continues.
Given that UKIP have been such beneficiaries of cynicism with politicians I do think their behaviour is noteworthy. The principled stance would have been to have advanced their beliefs as best they could. They should have looked at how they could get as many of their policies as possible implemented. Yet their behaviour suggested opportunism and tactical maneuvering rather than seriousness about achieving their stated goals.