The synopsis of the district election results in Tendring reported criticism of Independent councillors for supporting a Tory-led minority administration.

However, this suggests a misunderstanding both of the word “independent” and of the democratic process of selecting an administration.

Definitions for “independent” include “non aligned” and “autonomous”, however, this does not imply standing alone in the council chamber or having no input into the choice of leader.

Independents, be they individuals, groups or independent local parties, such as Holland-on-Sea and Eastcliff Matters or Tendring First, also vote for the council leader in exactly the same way as representatives of national parties.

Where there are two nominated leaders, as in this election, independents have the freedom to choose the candidate they believe best suited to the role, rather than vote by party affiliation.

In this knife-edge vote, no one knew who would win the administration until the votes for the two nominated leaders were counted.

With two strong candidates, it was clear the vote would be extremely tight; therefore whoever won the administration would need to be willing to both lead a workable coalition and to work with the “opposition”.

One coalition was the Tories, Ukip and the local independent group, Holland-on-Sea and Eastcliff Matters; the other was popularly referred to an an ABC coalition (Anything But Conservative) formed from Labour, Tendring First, Lib Dems and other independent councillors.

The irony remains that an ABC name tag is, by definition, divisive and exclusive, and in this case, misleading.

Not only by highlighting a confrontational “them and us” situation with the Tories, but also because Labour and Lib Dem national policy is to refuse to align with Ukip. So, ABC+U.

Thus Ukip and the Tories were forced into a coalition together, which with independent group support, gave them the numbers to win the administration with the casting vote of the chairman.

In the event, two additional independent councillors asserted that independence by also voting for the candidate they considered would be the most inclusive and better leader of the council.

We are all aware of the disgust with national Government and the role that protest votes have played. However, locally, to suggest all independents should vote in one direction is both anti-democratic and fundamentally mistakes the role of the independent councillor.

The expectation is that all councillors will continue to work together for the benefit of our district and communities within that district, where possible, setting aside their party differences to achieve that aim.

Anne Davis

Independent district councillor for Homelands