Author Topic: Independent Candidates?  (Read 15887 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline DaveWood

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Male
    • Swindon Liberal Democrats
Independent Candidates?
« on: March 08, 2010, 10:27:02 PM »
A lot of people talk about the desirability of people standing as independent candidates in the local elections.  We usually see at least one in each set of elections and they never do especially well.  I don't think Swindon has elected an independent for 10 years, although I may be wrong.

So that leaves us with some questions:
1) Do people feel independent candidates are inherently better? And if so, why?
2) Why do the electors not agree?

Offline Steve Wakefield

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Gender: Male
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2010, 10:45:47 PM »
Sid Daniels was the last independent I can recall for Chiseldon who stood and was elected in the early to mid 1990s.  ;)
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline komadori

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1445
    • komadori's green corner
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #2 on: March 09, 2010, 12:27:28 AM »
1) Do people feel independent candidates are inherently better? And if so, why?
2) Why do the electors not agree?
1) Yes, because they are not shackled to the policies of a party. Party candidates will always, from time-to-time, put party loyalty above the needs of their local electorate.
2) I'm not sure that electors don't agree. A disadvantage for independents is that they have no party machinery to support them during an election campaign. Also, although independents are inherently better, it's also the case that a fair few independent candidates are closer to 'nutter' than to 'serious candidate'.
If something's worth doing it's worth doing in green. komadori's green c

AndyH

  • Guest
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #3 on: March 09, 2010, 09:00:07 AM »
A lot of people talk about the desirability of people standing as independent candidates in the local elections.  We usually see at least one in each set of elections and they never do especially well.  I don't think Swindon has elected an independent for 10 years, although I may be wrong.

So that leaves us with some questions:
1) Do people feel independent candidates are inherently better? And if so, why?
2) Why do the electors not agree?

1) Yes, because they are not shackled to the policies of a party. Party candidates will always, from time-to-time, put party loyalty above the needs of their local electorate.
2) I'm not sure that electors don't agree. A disadvantage for independents is that they have no party machinery to support them during an election campaign. Also, although independents are inherently better, it's also the case that a fair few independent candidates are closer to 'nutter' than to 'serious candidate'.

Kanadori

Without trying to sound like I am trying to just support Dave, there a few other reasons.

1) I’ve always found that people vote for two main reasons.
1st is the candidate. Regardless of party, a candidate will gain votes if they have a good reputation, this is of course the personal vote and one such instance of this locally is the recently de-selected Maurice Fanning. Look back at the voting trend for GH&P and you will see that he always pulled in more votes than other Labour candidates. In the case of Graham Cherry in Parks, clearly the “local candidate” also became a vote winner.
2nd is the party. Yes people know that most candidates will usually have to follow a party line at some point, even if it does not fit in with what a ward wants. However as I have said in previous posts, the Lib Dem philosophy of “localism” is a winner in this aspect and people are starting to prefer their Councillors & MP’s to be able to think a bit more independently. That’s why I’m a Lib Dem, because Lib Dem’s are a broad-spectrum party who don’t frown on independent thinking.

2) Believe me, as someone who has been an independent, it’s not just about a party machinery at election time. Just remember there are at least four years of trying to keep up-to-date with ever-changing information. As an independent you are not always in the “loop”, mainly because the powers that be cut you out and partly because trying to read and digest all this information becomes a full time job in itself (So if you work full time it becomes even harder). Being part of a party is also being part of a “team”. As a team you can be more informed by sharing areas of special responsibility. No Councillor or MP can be an expert in every field and that’s why a team is more effective.

I think your rationale that independents are inherently better, also hides another significant factor though. I think it is very rare for an independent not to also be LOCAL. I remember Sid and whilst he was a good councillor, his remit was local and centred on Chisledon on town council issues (Before the ward was became Wroughton & Chisledon in a Unitary Authority).

Offline Steve Wakefield

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Gender: Male
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #4 on: March 09, 2010, 09:58:37 AM »
I think your rationale that independents are inherently better, also hides another significant factor though. I think it is very rare for an independent not to also be LOCAL. I remember Sid and whilst he was a good councillor, his remit was local and centred on Chisledon on town council issues (Before the ward was became Wroughton & Chisledon in a Unitary Authority).

I knew Syd very well and he and his wife especially as Mayor and Mayoress made that a good year. He was a nice man and I had a lot of time for him. From what I recall the Labour Councillors that held the administration from my experience were respectful of his view. Are you telling me that as a LibDem councillor you will be more Team player and less local? You say Libdems believe in Localism? So do you support Total Place? Do you have to believe in localism as people usually vote for the candidate they believe can win? Or is it because the Libdems will never hold the administration in Swindon based on their past successful track record?
 
I think you were at your most effective as an Independent in Penhill, if you look at your time on the Sickness monitoring task group, the one to introduce fixed penealty enforcement on the spot fine powers to council officers, the academy campaign and  the parking ticket issue in Marston Avenue. From my recollection you had a higher profile as an independent than you did as a Labour councillor and I believe far more effective.

I would use you as an example of why councillors should be independent, as you were very independent minded as a Labour councillor and I believe you will be as a Libdem. At the moment I find it difficult to comment on your effectiveness as a LibDem Councillor as you have not been elected yet, so that history has yet to be written. :angel:
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

AndyH

  • Guest
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2010, 10:47:34 AM »
I think your rationale that independents are inherently better, also hides another significant factor though. I think it is very rare for an independent not to also be LOCAL. I remember Sid and whilst he was a good councillor, his remit was local and centred on Chisledon on town council issues (Before the ward was became Wroughton & Chisledon in a Unitary Authority).

I knew Syd very well and he and his wife especially as Mayor and Mayoress made that a good year. He was a nice man and I had a lot of time for him. From what I recall the Labour Councillors that held the administration from my experience were respectful of his view. Are you telling me that as a LibDem councillor you will be more Team player and less local? You say Libdems believe in Localism? So do you support Total Place? Do you have to believe in localism as people usually vote for the candidate they believe can win? Or is it because the Libdems will never hold the administration in Swindon based on their past successful track record?
 
I think you were at your most effective as an Independent in Penhill, if you look at your time on the Sickness monitoring task group, the one to introduce fixed penealty enforcement on the spot fine powers to council officers, the academy campaign and  the parking ticket issue in Marston Avenue. From my recollection you had a higher profile as an independent than you did as a Labour councillor and I believe far more effective.

I would use you as an example of why councillors should be independent, as you were very independent minded as a Labour councillor and I believe you will be as a Libdem. At the moment I find it difficult to comment on your effectiveness as a LibDem Councillor as you have not been elected yet, so that history has yet to be written. :angel:

Steve
Quote
He was a nice man and I had a lot of time for him. From what I recall the Labour Councillors that held the administration from my experience were respectful of his view
  :agreed:


Quote
Are you telling me that as a LibDem councillor you will be more Team player and less local?

Look again at my post and in the context in which it was written.

Quote
as people usually vote for the candidate they believe can win?

Have to disagree with you here Steve, if not for party people vote for the person they think will do the best job, next they’ll vote for the lesser of whatever evils are presented to them on the ballot paper. (that’s why some councillors get re-elected even when they’re not very good)

Quote
From my recollection you had a higher profile as an independent than you did as a Labour councillor…… Sickness monitoring task group, the one to introduce fixed penealty enforcement on the spot fine powers to council officers

Sorry Steve I think it was as a party shadow lead member on finance and as Chair of a commission. The task groups I chaired that you’ve mentioned above were as a party group member not an independent.


Quote
you were very independent minded as a Labour councillor and I believe you will be as a Libdem

The difference is that whilst the Lib Dem’s welcome this and don’t get their knickers in a twist when you voice a different opinion, Labour (nor the Tories) don’t.

Ipso facto one of the main reasons why I am standing as a Lib Dem.

Offline DaveWood

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Male
    • Swindon Liberal Democrats
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2010, 02:14:19 PM »
1) Yes, because they are not shackled to the policies of a party. Party candidates will always, from time-to-time, put party loyalty above the needs of their local electorate.

It depends on which party you pick.  Most parties are known for having authoritarian structures and attitudes meaning that people are, indeed, whipped into a certain line.  Or - more likely in most cases - people are selected who need rather less whipping.

As Andy has said the Lib Dems don't have these authoritarian structures and there's never been a whip applied whilst I've been on SBC.  There is reasoned discussion and people are free to vote differently, and often do.  In a previous job I was political assistant to the Leader of a Lib Dem Council, and I don't remember there being any whipping to the party line there either.

Although I think it's fair to say that a lot of people vote for parties based on their principles and their manifestos.  And I know a lot of people do expect their representatives to deliver on these principles and manifestos.

Another question would be: why is it important to defy a party whip? Sometimes this indicates that a party is at odds with local opinion, which is fine.  But a lot of independents seek election as such because they have their own strong views and don't want them moderated.  And by not moderated I've known that to include non-moderation by the electorate! I've known a lot of independents (having done my dissertation on this subject) who take representative democracy literally.  People elect them to represent them, and then they don't care what the peoples' views are afterward. 

2) I'm not sure that electors don't agree. A disadvantage for independents is that they have no party machinery to support them during an election campaign. Also, although independents are inherently better, it's also the case that a fair few independent candidates are closer to 'nutter' than to 'serious candidate'.

I don't think people think independents are inherently better than parties, all things being equal.  If people really wanted an independent then party structure/support would not matter.  Look at Central ward, for example.  You could put out a leaflet in 25 hours costing £50 there.  That's one morning's work with help of family and friends.  If the people did feel independents were more desirable then surely that is all it would need? I seem to remember David Cox stood as an independent in Central, being a former mayor and councillor, and he put out a pretty good leaflet.  Got nowhere.

Offline Steve Wakefield

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2566
  • Gender: Male
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 02:37:16 PM »
Steve   :agreed:

Have to disagree with you here Steve, if not for party people vote for the person they think will do the best job, next they’ll vote for the lesser of whatever evils are presented to them on the ballot paper. (that’s why some councillors get re-elected even when they’re not very good)



I remember a sitting councillor saying that to me once before, later when they lost to a new kid on the block. I thought to myself; have they not been hit by their own petard?

Sorry Steve I think it was as a party shadow lead member on finance and as Chair of a commission. The task groups I chaired that you’ve mentioned above were as a party group member not an independent.


I did not mention chair I missed that one? However, I was sure you had been the member of a task group so I accept that I could be wrong, but the adver must have got this wrong too? 

Architect of the scheme, independent councillor Andy Harrison (Penhill), pictured below, said that it was only sensible for officers to be able to enforce better behaviour across different areas.

http://www.swindonadvertiser.co.uk/news/716157.More_power_to_their_elbows_/


I know from a previous post that you have records and records of conversations; therefore I am sure you are correct. ;)
All posts on this forum are my own opinion and do not represent the views of any council or any political party.  :banana:

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2010, 03:12:02 PM »
It's a good thread, this one...shame I haven't got any time for a long response today, but....

I seem to remember the general trend of the 2008 local election results in Swindon was that the Liberal Democrats, more often than not, came last in most wards.

I also remember forming the opinion that some of the Lib Dem results were little, if any, better than could be reasonably expected by independent candidates 'going it alone' without the benefit of a party machine supporting their campaigns.

I'm not picking on the Lib Dems here, but they are a good-fit for this example.


Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 03:15:41 PM »

Here you go, a little light reading.  Off to work  :)

The 2008 local election results for Swindon.

2010 provides a very different electoral mood than 2008. Perhaps it will also provide a more varied choice for the local electorate.

Offline DaveWood

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Male
    • Swindon Liberal Democrats
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2010, 04:12:02 PM »
It's a good thread, this one...shame I haven't got any time for a long response today, but....

I seem to remember the general trend of the 2008 local election results in Swindon was that the Liberal Democrats, more often than not, came last in most wards.

I also remember forming the opinion that some of the Lib Dem results were little, if any, better than could be reasonably expected by independent candidates 'going it alone' without the benefit of a party machine supporting their campaigns.

I'm not picking on the Lib Dems here, but they are a good-fit for this example.

Quite possibly.  Maybe Swindon electors prefer the authoritarian style.

Offline Geoff Reid

  • Twitter: @Geoff_Reid
  • Active But Odd
  • Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 10109
  • Gender: Male
  • Bald as a chimps arse
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2010, 04:50:52 PM »
Not sure what you mean:

Do you think Independents are more likely to be authoritarian? Or that Liberal Democrats are more Libertarian than the rest on offer?

Offline Chav

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
  • Gender: Female
  • INNIT!
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2010, 07:36:48 PM »
I think, if I could stand for election, I would go independent because I know hand on heart that I could not tow the line and follow party policy if it was something I did not agree with and felt strongly about, especially if it was to do with an issue that affected the community.
I would feel very uncomfortable , and to feel like that would be a reason to question my loyalty to the party or the people, and the people would win hands down.

Maybe I wouldn't make a very good politician after all - I would be far too gobby and rebellious  ;D

Still everyone has their reasons as to why they join who's party or not as the case maybe.
"Politics is the skilled use of blunt objects." -- Lester B. Pearson.

Offline komadori

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1445
    • komadori's green corner
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2010, 08:12:44 PM »
I think your rationale that independents are inherently better, also hides another significant factor though. I think it is very rare for an independent not to also be LOCAL.
Fair point.

As Andy has said the Lib Dems don't have these authoritarian structures and there's never been a whip applied whilst I've been on SBC.  There is reasoned discussion and people are free to vote differently, and often do.  In a previous job I was political assistant to the Leader of a Lib Dem Council, and I don't remember there being any whipping to the party line there either.
Just because councillors aren't whipped, it doesn't mean they are not putting party before their electorate: for some that behaviour just comes naturally. And when has a party whip ever described their work as unreasoned discussion?

Although I think it's fair to say that a lot of people vote for parties based on their principles and their manifestos.  And I know a lot of people do expect their representatives to deliver on these principles and manifestos.

Another question would be: why is it important to defy a party whip? Sometimes this indicates that a party is at odds with local opinion, which is fine.
Agreed, and if a party member is a habitual rebel against their party line, then the voter is may not be getting what they thought they voted for.

But a lot of independents seek election as such because they have their own strong views and don't want them moderated.  And by not moderated I've known that to include non-moderation by the electorate! I've known a lot of independents (having done my dissertation on this subject) who take representative democracy literally.  People elect them to represent them, and then they don't care what the peoples' views are afterward. 
So no worse that some non-independent councillors.

I don't think people think independents are inherently better than parties, all things being equal.  If people really wanted an independent then party structure/support would not matter.  Look at Central ward, for example.  You could put out a leaflet in 25 hours costing £50 there.  That's one morning's work with help of family and friends.  If the people did feel independents were more desirable then surely that is all it would need?
No, surely not. If that were really true, why would any political party bother with large advertising campaigns when £50 worth of leaflets would do?

I seem to remember David Cox stood as an independent in Central, being a former mayor and councillor, and he put out a pretty good leaflet.  Got nowhere.
Didn't put his leaflet out very far though: many never saw it.
If something's worth doing it's worth doing in green. komadori's green c

Offline DaveWood

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Male
    • Swindon Liberal Democrats
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2010, 10:30:52 PM »
Just because councillors aren't whipped, it doesn't mean they are not putting party before their electorate: for some that behaviour just comes naturally. And when has a party whip ever described their work as unreasoned discussion?

I think I'd need to hear the evidence on this one. 

So no worse that some non-independent councillors.

Indeed.  So independents are not inherently better than non-independents in this respect.

No, surely not. If that were really true, why would any political party bother with large advertising campaigns when £50 worth of leaflets would do?

Quite so.

If the electorate found independents to be better than parties by nature of them being independents then surely recieving one leaflet outlining their views would be worth more than multiple party leaflets, billboards, etc.  I'd say this is not the case.

Offline DaveWood

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Male
    • Swindon Liberal Democrats
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2010, 10:32:04 PM »
I think, if I could stand for election, I would go independent because I know hand on heart that I could not tow the line and follow party policy if it was something I did not agree with and felt strongly about, especially if it was to do with an issue that affected the community.
I would feel very uncomfortable , and to feel like that would be a reason to question my loyalty to the party or the people, and the people would win hands down.

I feel exactly the same.  And I know my group would not put me in this position.

Offline komadori

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1445
    • komadori's green corner
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2010, 12:03:44 AM »
Quote from: komadori
No, surely not. If that were really true, why would any political party bother with large advertising campaigns when £50 worth of leaflets would do?
Quite so.

If the electorate found independents to be better than parties by nature of them being independents then surely recieving one leaflet outlining their views would be worth more than multiple party leaflets, billboards, etc.
No. If independents are intrinsically better, then one would expect the electorate to find their leaflets more persuasive, but that doesn't mean it would totally negate the advertising might of a national party.
If something's worth doing it's worth doing in green. komadori's green c

Offline DaveWood

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Male
    • Swindon Liberal Democrats
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2010, 08:31:28 AM »
Not sure what you mean:

Do you think Independents are more likely to be authoritarian? Or that Liberal Democrats are more Libertarian than the rest on offer?

I think LDs and independents are likely to be more free thinking and less authoritarian. 

Offline DaveWood

  • Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 506
  • Gender: Male
    • Swindon Liberal Democrats
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2010, 08:34:28 AM »
No. If independents are intrinsically better, then one would expect the electorate to find their leaflets more persuasive, but that doesn't mean it would totally negate the advertising might of a national party.

Indeed.  If independents were inherently better you would expect a leaflet to have a disproportionate impact on their vote.

However if the electorate felt they were inherently better - which is the root of this point - then the electorate would ignore the party billboards and be swayed en masse by the independent leaflet.

There are places where the electorate do feel independents are inherently better than parties.  Where a whole campaign from a party is guarenteed to be beaten by one leaflet from an independent.  But that place is not Swindon.

Offline Tobes

  • Regents
  • Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4951
Re: Independent Candidates?
« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2010, 09:37:11 AM »
Quote
There are places where the electorate do feel independents are inherently better than parties.  Where a whole campaign from a party is guarenteed to be beaten by one leaflet from an independent.  But that place is not Swindon.

Your proof is...?

(Most wards are simply never exposed to the choice)
I do not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it - [attributed to] Voltaire... 'Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessita' - William of Occam.... 'You have a right to feel offended, but just cos you are offended doesn't mean you are right'