October 27, 2009
Last week on Victoria Derbyshire’s 5Live programme there was a discussion about whether there should be more independent MPs at the next election. Unfortunately I haven’t had chance to blog about it earlier.
The debate was started because Martin Bell has revealed that he has been contacted by a number of people that seem to be keen to stand as independents to oust some of the more high profile MPs that have been caught out during the expenses scandal (especially Alan Duncan and Keith Vaz). As he was interviewed by Victoria, he made some really interesting comments about what it takes to be an independent MP:
– “You’ve gotta know what you’re getting into”
– “People are entitled to know … what kind of person you are and roughly how your votes will be cast on the big issues”
– “You need enough money to compete with the incumbent and you need a lot of supporters, boots on the ground”
– “There are no automatic votes for independents, you have to win every single one of them”
Some really good comments there and a lot of things to think about for anyone looking to run. Obviously the boots on the ground is one area that I’d love this blog to able to help with.
August 9, 2009
So what have I missed?
In my last post I promised to write a bit more … and then of course I haven’t. My only excuse is that the day job has been busy and I’ve had to focus on that. But of course I have, I’ve got a business to run, a livelihood to maintain and a family to support.
I’m not trying to be all Edwardian about it all, but those are exactly the issues facing any potential independent MPs – it’s all about the money. How can you build up a support base and start the process of generating a network that could eventually get you elected if you’ve got a life to run as well? No matter how good you might be as an MP, for most people family and livelihood has got to come first. And of course you’ve got no way of knowing when the actual election will be, so you don’t know how long you might need to be postponing other elements of your life.
Of course, if you’re a member of a political party, you can get all sorts of support with this kind of stuff – a network of volunteers is already established for you.
Anyway, what’s been happening since I’ve been ‘away’?
I suppose a couple of relevant things have occurred – the first was the Norwich by-election. Unfortunately, as you can see, the independent Craig Murray only got just over 2.5% of the vote. I don’t know if he was actually any good, but I’m sure that if he’d had a stronger network, more time and money then the result would have been better.
The second of course was that Esther Rantzen has decided she will stand as a candidate for Luton South at the next election.
There’s an interesting quote from the Conservative candidate about it – “That Ms Rantzen continues to be so interested in Luton – where she has no apparent links and even though Margaret Moran is standing down – has surprised many Lutonians.”
June 17, 2009
Sky News is reporting that Esther Rantzen has decided to try and stand for election in Luton South. She’s reportedly doing it in protest at the behaviour of the current MP Margaret Moran, who claimed over £20,000 in expenses on a property that was 100 miles from her constituency and has now ‘disappeared’ from public view.
Will a ‘celebrity’ be the best replacement as MP? In recent times Ms Rantzen is best known for appearing in ‘I’m a Celebrity … Get me out of here’, but before she was a regular fixture on TV laughing at funny shaped vegetables and crusading for consumers in That’s Life.
Obviously I have nothing against Esther Rantzen personally (I’ve never met her), so we’ll just have to see how she gets on.