The General Election was undeniably disappointing for many independent candidates. An overall net loss of independent seats saw incumbent Dr Richard Taylor in the Wyre forest constituency and Dai Davies in Blaenau Gwent become casualties of the process and despite best efforts, only Lady Sylvia Hermon in North Down was elected as an independent Member of Parliament. It would be easy to become disheartened by such a result.
Independent Network (IN) Executive Member, Jim Thornton wishes to gather information from previous parliamentary candidates for a handbook on campaign techniques for independents.
Jim Thornton is writing this to book to encourage others to stand as an independent and help them succeed. Political parties provide comprehensive manuals for their candidates, but independents usually have to conduct their own research on running an effective campaign.
This article only outlines key points for electoral administration for candidates. The Electoral Commission have produced comprehensive advice for candidates in their document, Guidance for Candidates and Agents: The 2010 UK Parliamentary General Elections in Great Britian.
All independent candidates should contact their local electoral registration office as soon as possible regarding standing for Parliament. You can find the contact details of your local office on the About My Vote website.
You cannot get your point of view in the papers if you do not do the basics. These include:
The major parties maintain lists of candidates that they send to journalists and some of these are published online. However, independents and minor parties can be overlooked.
Leaflets uploaded to The Straight Choice are being syndicated by the Guardian, providing exposure to campaigns, thus making The Straight Choice a good way to create extra advertising and assisting transparency.
If a candidate needs a helping hand in designing effective election literature, there are many examples on The Straight Choice.
For a chance to meet Martin Bell pop along to one of the venues in your area in April and May.
Martin Bell OBE, former MP for Tatton, will be talking about his definitive book on the expenses scandal and the future of UK democracy. Martin had publicly vowed never to write another book but an “88p bath plug changed all that”.
Any independent candidate who is interested in being endorsed by the IN must send all relevant information by the close of Tuesday 13th April.
You can find out more about endorsement by checking out the Endorsement secction of the IN website.
A number of high profile individuals are supporting independent candidates. The former independent MP Martin Bell has stated that he will only be supporting Independent Network endorsed candidates in the upcoming election.
The BBC needs images of independent candidates.
This is great exposure for any candidate, as the BBC are compiling a pre-General Election candidates' database and need photographs which may be broadcast during the BBC Television Election Night coverage.
The photos need to be head and shoulders shots, with only slight smile or neutral look, and against a plain background if possible. An electronic image via email is best, ideally resolution of 300 DPI or over 3 megabytes.