Independent Network’s Workshop

January 24, 2010

Yesterday I was at the Independent Network’s workshop for prospective independent candidates in Birmingham. It was a good day and really good to meet a large number of people who wanted to make a change and be brave enough to stand as an independent candidate.

The day was kicked of Dr Richard Taylor who was incredibly motivating and other speakers, including Martin Bell, continued to offer advice, ideas and further motivation.

I’m going to write a bit more over the next few days.

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The Principles for an Independent MP

January 11, 2010

Reading through the blog from the Independent Network I came across a post from back in November which outlines the key principles that they want all independent MPs to follow.

The principles follow an initial draft by Martin Bell and have then been finalised and adopted by the Independent Network.

Of course the Seven Principles of Public Life produced by Lord Nolan are the basis for the guiding principles of the Independent Network – but they also look to take Lord Nolan’s ideas much further.

You can read the original post here, but it’s worth repeating all the principles anyway.

THE BELL PRINCIPLES

We will

• abide wholeheartedly by the spirit and letter of the Seven Principles of Public Life set out by Lord Nolan in 1995: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership

• be guided by considered evidence, our real world experience and expertise, our constituencies and our consciences

• be free from the control of any political party, pressure group or whip

• be non-discriminatory, ethical and committed to pluralism

• make decisions transparently and openly at every stage and level of the political process, enabling people to see how decisions are made and the evidence on which they are based

• listen, consulting our communities constantly and innovatively

• treat political opponents with courtesy and respect, challenging them when we believe they are wrong, and agreeing with them when we believe they are right

• resist abuses of power and patronage and promote democracy at every level

• work with other elected independents as a Group with a chosen spokesperson

• claim expenses, salaries and compensation openly so the public can judge the value for money of our activities.

I’m not sure how anyone with any true feelings for the independence of MPs could argue with any of these principles (although I’m sure that there will be some people wanting to ‘discuss’ the final wording).

I would like to add one more suggestion from me. Although this point is hinted at in points 2, 3 and 6 above I would like to make it explicit within the guidelines for any prospective independent candidate:

[We will] represent all of our constituents and work hard to put their needs at the forefront of all activities

So, who wants to sign up and follow those principles?


5Live discussed Independent MPs

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.


Help needed …

July 3, 2009

This morning I received a really interesting comment from someone hoping to be an independent candidate at the next election. Here it is:

“I would like to stand for Brentford and Isleworth as an Independent. The MP there is in deep trouble and it is my adjacent Borough. I am not known there. I am not just a Johnny-come-lately as I have been an Independent local Councillor in the past. I would like the Independent MPs to join forces to advise on what to do, especially now. I have the rules for when the election is called, but do not know what is permitted and how to go about it. Zac Goldsmith, millionaire Cons here is giving out bags with his name on it. Good Publicity. I can’t afford it anyway.
I wrote to Martin Bell suggesting he might co-ordinate the Independents but he does not feel like it now. I need a mentor. I live in Richmond.”

Unfortunately this blog is just that at the moment … a blog. I’ll readily admit that there’s no more substance to it than that … yet.

Teresa, I’ll do my best to add more substance, to set up a support group and to help you if I can. In the meantime … can anyone else help?