Yet another example of national parties stacking the odds against independent candidates is brewing…
The Government has confirmed that the Local Elections, postponed from 2020 will run on 6th May 2021. All good for democracy so far..
BUT the proposal is to run the elections without any door-to-dooor presence and even to fine any candidate or councillor who hand delivers leaflets! Independents ALWAYS hand deliver their leaflets and pride themselves on being active and visible in their communities. We have to because we do not have a slick donor-funded marketing machine behind us. What you see is what you get with an independent. We are not set up as a business, do not have wealthy people queuing up to fund our campaigns; we are a group of volunteer individuals who are so committed to our communities that we cover our own costs! We pay for our own leaflet printing and deliver them by hand. We are on social media but will not be buying lists that contain your phone numbers. Clearly the odds are being stacked against us.
Obviously, safety is a prime concern at present. The Ashford Independents do not want to undermine current progress against COVID-19. Far from it. But the current pandemic should not be an excuse to undermine democracy either. What we would like to see is the Government giving an equal and even opportunity to independent candidates in the upcoming Local Elections. In Ashford Borough this will include the Beaver Ward By-election, election of representatives for Kent County Council and the Police & Crime Commissioner.
If the elections go ahead with out leaflet hand delivery or door-knocking, then independents must be given consideration. The ‘Road-Map to Recovery’ that we await needs to include COVID-secure democracy! How can it be ok for a donor-sponsored leaflet to go through your door on behalf of a national party but an independent candidate hand delivering leaflet through the same door could be fined?