Psst! Fancy a nice little earner?

The polls have not even opened and already the IPPG are out there trying to recruit new members to fill the void left by defections, retirements and likely losses.

Old Grumpy casts his mind back to the 2004 election when the, then, IPG suffered serious losses (Night of the long faces) with Leader Maurice Hughes and three of his cabinet colleagues given the order of the boot.

Unfortunately within a week they were back up to full strength as the Leader’s taxpayer-funded stock of SRAs was pressed into action.

I should add a mea culpa at this point because in Night of the long faces I said vaguely complimentary things about Cllr John Davies, who, in the months running up to the election, had taken a very conciliatory stance towards the opposition and had even voted against the party line on a couple of occasions.

What I wasn’t to know at the time was that he was positioning himself to mount a post-election leadership challenge when opposition support would have come in handy.

In the event, Umelda Havard and the voters of Merlins Bridge did the job for him by casting Maurice Hughes into outer darkness and Cllr Davies quickly reverted to type.

At election times it is always worth keeping an eye on any leading IPPG member who has been elected unopposed because they are the ones with time to spare.

Readers of that other website will recall that, during the 2012 election, it was David Wildman and Rob Lewis – both returned without a contest – who were responsible for the wholesale and unlawful use of the council’s computer system in an attempt to boost the party’s chances.

This time around Elwyn Morse is acting as Jamie’s messenger boy and a little dicky bird tells me has has been out and about promising “independent” candidates a share of the goodies if they sign up to the IPPG cause.

You might think it appropriate that one of the county’s leading livestock dealers has been given the job of gathering up the next flock of sheep.

However, there are two rather big “ifs” in all this because these candidates first have to get themselves elected and then Jamie has to retain control of the gravy train.

The second of these conditions may be difficult to meet because three of his present yes-men have decamped to the Tories and several others will be hard pressed to survive the voters’ scrutiny of their voting records – particularly those who supported Mr Parry-Jones’ £300,000 pay-off.

Add to that the fact that many of the independent candidates have issued solemn promises not to join the IPPG if elected.

Not that it would be wise to set too much store by some of these promises, because, if push comes to shove, they will no doubt be able to come up with some form of words to rationalise their decision to rat on the electorate.

With this in mind, I am offering a bottle of £3.99 Blossom Hill “soft and fruity” red wine to the first person to identify the present IPPG member who told the electorate in 2012:

“Therefore I feel if elected I should not be burdened by being answerable to any political group.”

Answers by email – deadline 10 pm on polling day.

Usual rules apply: if the prize is not claimed, I have to drink it myself.