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Jim Thornton's Election Blog..."Fighting a Campaign"

Submitted on Mon, 08/06/2009 - 10:02am

Wednesday 3 June 2009

I cannot see that the way we fight County Council election campaigns can last much longer. Consider this:

1. We have less money to fight a County Division campaign than a Town Ward Campaign. A Division, although in Hertford it comprises two Wards, gets only one allowance of £600, and 5p per Voter. For a Town election in each Ward you get the £600 plus 5p per voter. County has a Budget of £1.2 billion and Town about £1.2 million.

2. From this £1,100 for a County election you have to produce and deliver two leaflets. You have to get the first one out before the Postal Voting Ballot papers are received (two weeks before Polling Day) and because people will have thrown them away by Polling Day, you have to do another one in the days before the election.

3. Party volunteers are getting elderly, and delivering leaflets is hard boring work. With the expenses restriction there is not enough to pay for leaflet deliveries. I have personally delivered for more than 40 hours, family and friends have done another 20 hours plus, and we covered 95% with our first leaflet and about 60% with the second.

4. There is therefore little time to spend talking to people on the doorstep.

5. The whole system is designed to favour Parties with large keen memberships, who love to deliver. I doubt whether many Wards have such an infrastructure anymore.

6. People want to know who they are voting for: if we want true democracy, we have to re-balance the system in favour of the Candidate, not the Party.

7. When you get to the Polling Station, you are faced with a list of names and addresses to vote for: why cannot each candidate have a photo and 150 words put up in the Polling Station? Why cannot this same infromation be included with the Postal Voting Forms? If no leaflets are delivered, are we going to get the best local government if nobody knows anything about the candidate, other than where they live, and people can only vote on the basis of what they know of the Political Party and its antics in Westminster?

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