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Is there a role for Independents?

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Fringe parties a side show to the main event.

The results for the huge North East Region (which stretches from Teesside to Berwick) in the EU Parliament election show a very disappointing adventure for the fringe and minor parties who fielded candidates, prompting the question about their role. Those with a single issue, or no particular issue at all were dealt with harshly by the electorate. Parties such as the English Democrats, the Socialist Labour Party, No2EU, the Christian Party-Christian People’s Alliance, Libertas, and the Jury Team could just about muster 45000 votes between them from a turn out of almost 600,000. At £5000 a pop for the deposit, as well as the costs of literature for an electorate of nearly 2m, the participation in this electoral exercise must have been particularly expensive for some, as they became little more than a side show to the main event. Perhaps tellingly, many of them were overshadowed by the very events which they were protesting about, MPs integrity, honesty, and character, as voters turned to heavier weapons to bash the main stream parties with.

I am not decrying their efforts to attract votes, nor the risks that they were taking, perhaps without their presence more protest votes would have ended up in the pockets of less savoury parties, but I am left questioning the relevance and role of some of the independent candidates who offered little in the way of fresh new ideas or policies for a body responsible for writing almost 75% of our laws these days. Perhaps in elections of this stature we need the organisation, machinery, and experience of the larger political bodies to adequately represent Britain’s interests in Europe.

When they could weigh less votes in some areas than a local ward councillor, one first of all has to admire their courage in standing, but then ask “was it worth all the bother and expense?”

Where now for new parties such as The Jury Team or Libertas?

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Written by curly

June 8, 2009 at 12:36 pm

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