Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Independents in the West Country

There was a fair amount of campaigning before the County elections in Devon:
Futures Forum: Devon County Council elections > the parties, the candidates

The Conservatives increased their majority:
Futures Forum: Devon County Council elections > results in

Although there was a notable win by an independent:
East Devon Alliance win Seaton and Colyton seat in county vote - Breaking news & sport in Devon | Midweek Herald

And Cllr Martin Shaw of Seaton and Colyton has talked before about the 'independent voice':
We need to talk about Devon | openDemocracy

Meanwhile in Cornwall, independent councillors are causing headaches:
Political landscape turned on its head | St Austell Voice
Independents truly hold balance of power at Cornwall Council | East Devon Watch
Leadership talks break down at Cornwall Council amid recriminations between Tories and independents (From Falmouth Packet)
Cornwall Council chaos as Lib Dems U-turn and ousted Tory leader reveals shock of challenge | Cornwall Live

As for the general election...

In North and West Devon there are independents standing:
Full list: General Election candidates for North Devon and Torridge and West Devon - General Election 2015 | North Devon Gazette

And in East Devon, Cllr Claire Wright has decided to stand again:
Devon County Councillor in bid to become East Devon’s first Independent MP | Devon Live

A lot of it comes down to money - and crowdfunding is more of a serious option for those without a party:

Meanwhile, dozens of candidates and campaigns are now crowdfunding on our platform, Crowdpac, including independent candidates like Claire Wright in East Devon and Michelle Dewberry in Hull.

Want a progressive alliance? How you can change the general election 2017

And there seems to be quite a lot of interest:
Main tactical voting site endorses Claire Wright (Ind) as only credible choice to challenge incumbent Swire | East Devon Watch
Devon East Parliamentary constituency: William Hill Bookmakers: “It’s a head to head contest” - Claire Wright

As covered in today's Western Morning News:

Devon candidate the only independent in UK backed by tactical voting site

By WMN_PGoodwin | Posted: May 17, 2017

An independent candidate has been backed by a website which tells voters how to vote tactically to prevent a Tory landslide next month.

Claire Wright failed in her bid to unseat Hugo Swire in the East Devon seat in 2015, losing by 12,000 votes to the former Foreign Officer minister.

After she announced her intention to run again in the snap general election on June 8, the chief tactical voting site Tactical 2017 endorsed her as the only candidate who can defeat the Conservatives.

This follows bookmaker's odds of 9/2 from William Hill, who confirmed that they see Ms Wright as the official opposition in the constituency and makes her the only non-aligned candidate to get support from the organisation.

Ms Wright decided to put her name forward after an appeal generated crowdfunding of £7,500 in just 10 days with 100 separate donations.

She said: "This is half the amount we fundraised in a whole year during the 2015 General Election campaign. The momentum behind my campaign now is incredible. My boards and posters are appearing all over the constituency and my team continue to be deluged with offers of help, as my manifesto is hand delivered across East Devon by my army of helpers. People's generosity and faith in me is astonishing."

In East Devon, based on the result two years ago, Ms Wright would need to hoover up most of the 16,000 votes cast for the Lib Dems, Labour and UKIP to topple the incumbent. But with UKIP's collapse and Tory wins in local elections, experts expect Brexit supporters to return to the Conservatives, potentially making the job harder.

Added to that, two other independent candidates are challenging for the seat this time around.

The backing comes as Ms Wright launches her manifesto in Sidmouth tomorrow (Thursday) evening.

Devon candidate the only independent in UK backed by tactical voting site | Devon Live

See also:
Futures Forum: Independence in Democracy >>> Educating Independence
Futures Forum: The rise and rise of independent candidates
Futures Forum: Independent politicians - independent voices

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