Saturday, 7 February 2015

The rise and rise of independent candidates

East Devon has been rocked by the news of the East Devon Alliance putting up independent candidates for the upcoming District Council elections:
Independent East Devon candidates given new platform | Exeter Express and Echo
EAST DEVON: East Devon Alliance to fight for council seats - View from Sidmouth
Group to offer support for independent candidates - News - Sidmouth Herald

And the independent District Councillor Claire Wright is challenging the incumbent Hugo Swire for the Parliamentary seat:
Independent General Election candidate for East Devon challenges MP Hugo Swire to “put residents before party politics” | Exeter Express and Echo

This seems to be happening elsewhere around the country.

More and more District Councils are becoming controlled by independents:
BBC News - Independents take control of Southend Borough Council

And elsewhere, independent umbrella groups are being formed to challenge the status quo:
West Suffolk Independents group is launched to bring less party politics to councils - Politics - East Anglian Daily Times
New independent party Residents-for-Uttlesford aims to take control of district council | Bishops Stortford Herts & Essex Observer
Independent candidates campaign for votes in South Cambridgeshire District Council polls | Cambridge News

Guildford Greenbelt Group | Facebook

And of interest to East Devon, it's happening elsewhere in the County:
Campaign for Democracy in Mid Devon | Facebook
BBC News - Two Tories go Independent in Teignbridge

Next door, things look very interesting:

Dorset PCC backing independent electio
n candidates to “level the playing field”
22 January 2015
DORSET’S police commissioner is offering support to independent candidates in the local and general elections in a bid to “level the playing field”. Martyn Underhill, who successfully stood for police and crime commissioner as an independent, is keen to set up a network of support and advice for independent candidates across the county.
Together with Marianne Overton, the Local Government Association’s independent lead, he has arranged a networking event for independent candidates at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne at 7pm on Friday, February 13.
Both he and Marianne will give a short talk about police and council precepts and local support groups will be on hand to offer guidance and advice.
Mr Underhill said: “Independents struggle to be equal to the political parties during elections, and I want to try to rectify that and generate networking and peer support. During my election, I had no one to turn to for advice. All I want to see is a level playing field for all. This meeting will help achieve that.”
Bournemouth East independent candidate David Ross welcomed Mr Underhill’s support. In Bournemouth, he has set up the Bournemouth Independent Alliance (BIA) for Independent candidates looking to stand in the borough. “The two advantages of being part of a group is that you get a logo on the ballot paper and access to the voters’ list for a longer period,” he said. “We exist exactly as a support group, we are there to provide a brand and support. We are not a political party.”

Dorset PCC backing independent election candidates to “level the playing field” (From Bournemouth Echo)
Bournemouth Independent Alliance

Meanwhile in Richmondshire in the Yorkshire Dales, for example, not only is there a strong local grouping of independents
Richmondshire Independents - Home
but the current independent leader of that District Council will be standing in the General election:
Richmondshire Independents - Latest Election News Special
Council leader John Blackie aims to replace Hague as Richmond MP (From The Northern Echo)
Council leader aims to become Richmond MP - Yorkshire Post

Interestingly, there are District Councils that are going 'independent' but in a rather different way:
Tory-controlled Kingston upon Thames council could be the first to become flagship independent authority - UK Politics - UK - The Independent

See also:
Futures Forum: Do you want to be a councillor? Advice evening 13th March ... but you must register by 28th February ... presented by the Parliamentary Outreach Service
Futures Forum: Independent Councillors - independent voices
Futures Forum: Transparency and process in East Devon... continued: part three
Futures Forum: "Over-representing parties through the voting system" ...some figures

No comments: