Sunday, 14 April 2013

The Party Line

Candidates for the County Durham Local elections have been announced and as usual there are Independents standing for most seats.1 The 'Derwentside Independents' have voted with the Tories in every recorded vote for 3 years and must have been hoping that the electorate wouldn't notice. 

Independent politicians claim to be apolitical, but they are simply politicians who do not tell the public what they truly believe. A Party affiliation tells voters something about the values of a candidate. I may not agree with these values but at least they are explicit; for example we know that a Tory will believe in a free market economy and thinks there is a place for profiteering in health and education.  Before the Coalition, the Liberal Democrats used to believe in Gay marriage, green energy and electoral reform.  We know that a UKIP candidate will do nothing apart from blame the EU for everything.  The Labour Candidate believes in social justice, community cohesion, progressive taxation and being rewarded for hard work.

Independent candidates are not so open about their beliefs. This can sometimes be an advantage. When talking to voters an independent can simply agree with the voter. They can agree with every position on every matter and change colour like a chameleon. They can also disagree with all parties and join in with the ‘plague on all your houses’ approach to politics. Make no mistake, Independent candidates are politicians. Several groups of ‘Independents’ in the County Durham area even belong to registered political parties and have party leaders.

There were Independent candidates in the Police and Crime Commissioner elections who were actually Lib Dems. There are Independents in the North East who are actually Tories. Rather than being apolitical these candidates are just hiding their views from the electorate.

My values are Labour values. I do not share many of the values that Tories hold dear. The Lib Dems have shelved their values in return for a taste of power, but at least voters know what these values were. Political parties get a lot of criticism, but when you put an X next to a Labour rose you know exactly what you are voting for.

1. List of candidates: http://liamrcarr.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/durham-county-council-candidates-for.html

10 comments:

Syzygy said...

Very true.. Well said!

kittysrose said...

Excellent Post. Good summary of political perspectives and values.

Pam said...

in Avon and Somerset the right wing candidate, standing as the only woman and as an Independent was elected. Very little literature was received. On line comments said she was standing as nonparty political. However, being in contact with local Labour councillors we were warned the candidate was a Tory, and not to be fooled by the Independent tag. In contrast,i n Worcester, the Independent candidate also elected was said to oppose any privatisation. Avon and Somerset's chief constable indicated he would be leaving, (on fixed term contract) refusing to reapply for his own job, and many others are resigning. I have always read 'Tory' whenever I see the word Independent, many of them being landowners, and we should all beware of theIndependent candidate. Until a parcel is unwrapped there is no knowing what is inside.Very good blog Liam, and well said.

Fletch said...

I broadly agree with what you write, but if people are willing to vote for someone they don't know because they feel badly represented by those that they have voted for in the past, it is damming on the performance of those parties. We voted for an independant mayor in Bristol because we were sick of party politics and in-fighting stopping things getting done. The shenaningans by the Labour central committee overruling the local labour committee and telling them that they cannot take up the cabinet seats and help locals is actually a signal that the central labour leadership are not listening to the locals. I also think the recent PCC elections were the single worst organised elections I've ever seen. In Bristol we had next to no information about any of the candidates, the hustings were a joke and the mailshot was too late and thin to make a bit of difference. If you want to put your point across to the people in order to explain what you stand for and to show other candidates as being thin on ideas/information, you need to be able to advertise properly. No wonder the turnout was pathetic.

venue nyc said...

You made a number of good points there. I did a search on the subject and found many people will agree with your blog. I planned to take your Feed then again it does not work. i will probably keep trying maybe is a local issue. Regards, Lanette.

Anonymous said...

Because no member of a political party has ever lied, have they?

Anonymous said...

Great you are so honest and admit to sharing some tory values (Independent in the making)
1 question - if the tories put forward a motion to give Leadgate and Medomsley communities £1 million would you vote against this just because the tories put the motion forward

Anonymous said...

How comes 5 of the above comments were posted before you wrote this post??? I smell some Labour propaganda

Liam Carr said...

Thanks for your comments 'anonymous' I don't usually respond to anonymous comments but I will make an exception: I originally posted this a while back, I then re-posted it more recently. That is why the date changed. If the Tories wanted to provide £1M of funding for Leadgate and Medomsley then I would accept. The question you pose however, is completely rhetorical. In fact central government have cut the council budget by over £100M in the past 2 years. A motion condemning the disproportionate nature of the cuts (which cut North East Councils budgets but leave southern councils intact) was not supported by Independent councillors, who chose to abstain, as did Tories and Lib Dems.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to reply Liam