“Only one of the candidates lived in the constituency”

I heard that comment on the radio this morning as I caught about five minutes of a 5Live show asking people why they voted for the BNP in the recent European Elections.

The thing that surprised me the most about it all was the fact that people were phoning the station to admit voting for the BNP. Of the two or three people I heard before I had to turn the radio off, the mood was one of, ‘we’re not proud of it, but it was a protest vote. And I’m not racist, but maybe they’ve got a point that immigration has gone a bit too far’.

And then I heard this quote from a guy in Wales – “Only one of the candidates lived in the constituency”.

I think he was describing the last general election and not the European Elections, but it was used as a way to explain how traditional party politics has lost its way representing ordinary folk. He didn’t know who to vote for as they were all career politicians from outside the area who knew nothing of the issues facing local people. And he has a point.

It’s still a poor excuse to vote for the BNP …

One Response to “Only one of the candidates lived in the constituency”

  1. Sonny says:

    I’ve just been informed about this blog, and I read all the articles so I’m commenting on the latest, but it’s a comment that reflects on all of the articles really.

    It’s interesting that this issue about Independent MPs should come up now as this is an issue that is actually very close to my heart at the moment. I’m currently a record producer and engineer and although I do like my work and think that music is important, personally I don’t feel like I’m actually doing something of use to society. I may very well be wrong, young and naive, but I feel I have the motivation, the energy, and the ability to fight for what I believe is a better place for everyone, but also the wherewithal to fight for other peoples beliefs… and I think that there would be enough people that would agree with my thoughts to back me. Hence I have seriously concidered no longer making records and becoming an MP. Not a Career MP, but an MP for my local area. It’s my local area, the place I was born and raised that interests me. Nowhere else. not because I don’t care about those place, I do, but because I think that someone else is much more qualified to govern those areas (by qualified I mean passionate and vested interests).

    Though as I looked into becoming a councilor or even an MP I realised that this is a particularly long process. You need a high level of knowledge of many areas of economics, sociology, psychology etc. (or at least I think you should have). This is the bit that excites me about it. Knowing more. The bit that stops me from packing in my life in London and moving back to Calderdale to become an independent candidate is the money aspect of things. The time spent canvasing, learning, convincing, discussing, contemplating etc. is nothing compared to how do you keep a roof over your head, fee yourself (and your family if you’re fortunate enough to have one) and pay for press.

    I don’t want to point out pitfalls of the idea of independent MPs, as I would love for the opportunity to become one, but there a few things that I would suggest need to be addressed.

    1. Money Makes The world Go round.
    However you look at it, however hippyish your views, that’s a fact. For the basic reason that money is; ‘a current medium of exchange’. I want that, you’ve got it, I’ve got this, you want it, deal done. It keeps your kids fed, your house watertight, your shoes hole free. And the more you have of it the more you can get. So the reason we have a political class is because there are a certain group of people that have enough money to be able to pay for the essentials while stilling doing whatever they wish, but not enough of it that they don’t care about how the country is run, to warrant fighting for change. So if Independent MPs are to succeed, some sort of financial infrastructure and support needs to be in place, whether locally or globally.

    2. Stick with what you know.
    Human nature is to go with what you know. Choose the one you think you can rely on. That’s why BT can out do people like Telecoms Plus, British Gas get more custom than Gas’R’Us etc. That’s why I buy Apple Computers, we’re all susceptible to it. I know I can rely on Apple. If it has the Apple symbol I’ve got a good idea it’s gonna be useful. This is how the major parties attract so many votes. They have lots of people in these clubs, would appear to all be fighting for the same things (so obviously that many people can’t be wrong) thought probably no more than any two other people; they have nice logos that evoke certain thoughts and feeling in us, they have more money and can shout louder because they shout in unison. I would say that most people who vote, vote for the party because that’s the one they’ve heard most about. Their friends said they’d vote for them, there are a few more poster up that any other party, they’ve seen the party political broadcast… and ‘hey he looks like a nice fella… I’ll vote for him’. Maybe hard to believe but I bet it’s quite true… and that’s only the people who do vote.

    I’m pointing these out not to say ‘what’s the point then’, but more ‘if we can get over these then jobs a good’en’. The problem that we would have as Independent MPs is that we do not have a unifying manifesto. Each person would be fighting individually. This is in many ways a good thing… the good idea that started this blog, it means that my arguments in Calderdale or even smaller area, are specific to my constituency and I represent them as accurately as possible, not generalising. Thought it also means that capital support is thinned out and that the number of votes per candidate is reduced, meaning one candidate may have the highest number of votes, but with only 10% of the constituency. This is then multiplied over each constituancy and you’re left with a less representational vote than the current one.

    This very scenario is what has happened to the industry I work in due to the advent of the internet and computer recording. Anyone is able to make music on their own, in their spare time and to a higher standard (but still no as high a standard as the professionals). They are also able to distribute their music to a wider audience as it’s now more simple and cheaper to upload music onto iTunes, Rhapsody, Reverbnation etc. as well as market it using blogs like this one, make their own sites on wordpress or squarespaces and using social networking such as twitter, facebook, 12seconds and even perform gigs via Ustream. This all sounds amazing at first. For a small price of what it used to cost I can effectively producer and distribute my music to a much larger audience. Fantastic. The problem lies in that everyone is doing the same thing. So now, rather than people being introduced to music via the top 10, they are bombarded by thousands of bands, all with their own ‘unique’ genre or sub genre, which means the consumer is confused by the choice, finds it much harder to search for something they want, because everything is categorized so differently leaving them not knowing what to choose. Therefore the wealth is then spread so thinly that it no longer becomes a financially viable option to be a working musician. Everyone because a Jack of all trades and you have no Masters.

    If Independent MPs is to work it has to overcome this problem in a much more effective way than the Music Industry has/hasn’t. We could do this by creating an Independent MPs alliance. A single point of contact where an independent MP can get the information, support and help to raise funds they need to become an MP. Though for it not to be just another major party it would have to be impartial to any political view… but that would then mean that I, a socialist, would have to take support from as well as give support to an organisation that also takes/gives support from/to those with a similar view to the likes of Nick Griffin and the BNP. Now I will stand up and fight to the death for anyone to have the right to believe those things and to voice their opinion, but I would also die before giving them the financial, political, or social leverage to overcome my beliefs. They are allowed their opinion and they are allowed to voice it, but I’m not paying for or setting up the PA system to amply it.

    Some questions that I don’t know the answer to (yet) but I would like to work towards answering them and maybe we can get to point where you don’t have to have money to govern the country and that intellect and passion rule and are the measuring stick to success. I Shall be adding more… like it or not 🙂

    twitter @sonnyengineer

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