Bill P. Godfrey et al

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Vote for me!

Yesterday, four flyers for four candidates dropped through my door. (In my area, there are five candidates.)

I do prefer to vote for the person rather than the party or the party leader. After all, in the UK, the prime minister is elected not by the people, but by the MPs we do vote for. Indeed, from 1990 to 1992, the prime minister was John Major, even though Margaret Thatcher was the party leader at the previous election.

Alas, the flyers felt like they were written by the party, with token space for a photograph and the name. The candidates themselves, a mere detail. They get a paragragh to make fuzzy statements about themselves and how much they support the party, but not much more.

The exception here being Andrew Hammond, the Labour party candidate. Maybe its only motivated by the fact that Tony Blair isn't as popular as he used to be, but his flyer has a personal touch. It talks about him as a person, not just as an automaton for the party. What's more, he knocked on my door just as I was writing this. The candidate himself, not just some party worker.

(It was a coincidence I'm sure. I doubt they have detectors looking for bloggers who appreciate a personal touch. Just in case.)

The incumbent Timothy Boswell, the Conservative candidate, was the only one without a flyer. Did it get lost? Did they bother writing one? Did they decide it wasn't worth the expense of printing one for me? Did I just lose my copy? I don't know.

So, who to vote for? If the personal touch was the only thing, it would be a vote for Andrew Hammond, the only one to step out of the party shadows. Alas, what with no independents, I can't ignore the parties. Andrew Hammond's party had David Blunkett as home secretary and they introduced banana-republic style all postal voting.

Most of all, they seem obsessed with "Hard working families". I'm a single guy who doesn't want any children. Ever. Now my taxes are paying for family tax credits and children's trust funds. Enough with the breeder-pleasing!

As for Veritas (Barrie Wilkins) and the UK Independence Party (Barry Mahoney), I feel that the European Union is more benefit than cost. These two parties want to come out of it.

The Liberal Democrats (Hannah Saul), I do tend to agree with much of what they say. They are the only political party I have ever considered joining. A broad plus for me in general, if only she could step out from behind her party. Their flyer was the worst in terms of personality. It was a Liberal Democrat flyer that just gave her lip-service in passing as an after-thought.

The incumbent Conservative won last time with a little under half the vote. He doesn't need my vote. He'll probably win regardless of who I vote for. Perhaps I can do my bit to make this area seem a bit more marginal. I've not lived in this area for long enough to really know what he's like.

So, looks like either Andrew Hammond or Hannah Saul, but a personal call to my door could make all the difference.

Anyway. I'm going to email each candidate and invite them to leave a comment, that would also make a difference.

For the rest of us, please actually go to your polling station to vote, even if you just spoil your ballot paper. Its the best way to make sure your vote is counted and not stolen by a bunch of dodgy geezers.


  • If only I lived in your area.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3:33 PM, May 01, 2005  

  • Good to know we are not the only country (US) to get candidate spam. :)

    By Blogger Rori, At 8:55 PM, May 01, 2005  

  • Dear Bill,

    Thanks for the positive write-up about my parliamentary candidacy.

    I'm pleased that you had a chance to look at my website -- -- and it was good to meet you yesterday (Sat) afternoon.

    I agree with your point about encouraging people to vote on May 5. At the last general election in 2001, I believe that at least 40% of the electorate didn't vote. Let's hope that 'turnout' is higher this time around.

    Best wishes,

    Andrew Hammond

    By Anonymous Andrew Hammond, At 11:05 PM, May 01, 2005  

  • I have to say that I've always voted Lib.dem. This is all because of things that were said during one of the first elections I was able to vote in. The parties were all going over why exactly you should vote for them. Labour and the Conservatives were saying "We will increase spending in public service [health/schools/police/fire/etc] and we will cut taxes!"

    The Liberal Democrats were saying, "yes, we will increase spending in public serices, but to do this we will have to raise taxes."

    Needless to say, the Liberals didn't get in. But what happened? Were taxes cut? Was public spending increased ?

    All because the majority of voters decided that the following is true.

    p=public service spending
    b=before election
    a=after election

    tb = pb

    ( ta < tb ) AND ( pa > pb )

    putting numbers into this gives us

    [tb=5] tb = pb .: 5 = pb .: pb = 5
    [ta=3] ta = pb .: 3 = pb .: pb = 3


    ( ta < tb ) AND ( pa > pb )

    ( 3 < 5 ) AND ( 3 > 5 )

    which obviously cannot work out correctly. [Note, that I realise that this is an over simplification - but it's just to illustrate ] You can't put less in and get more out. So how come the majority of people didn't come to the same conclusion? Were the major parties playing on the literacy and numeracy problems within the population ? Were the voters fooled and expecting magical intervention to correct the problem?

    To be honest, it still hasn't changed. "No new taxes" "we'll put money into whatever's topical at the moment" "ooh, Iraq war, WMD's and all that" "Vote for us or the other's will get in"

    I do like the "Independant party's" Party political broadcast, starting off all "War of the worlds" - with the Martians replaced by a giant squid representing the EU. Not that I'd vote for them, nothing against my area's candidate [ex TV AM chef, Rustie Lee (sp?)], I just feel they are all celebrity and not much political experience. [just my opinion]

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 3:19 PM, May 03, 2005  

  • Dear Bill,

    Glad to hear you agree with us - at least mostly!

    Sorry if you think the flyer is a little impersonal it's hard to get the balance right between party policy and being proud of our leader and not saying enough about me.

    So in the spirit of blog here's me...
    I'm 26 years old (yes really), married to husband Dean. Dean makes Formula One cars and dreams of running a Science Fiction comic shop one day. My favourite colour is red (I know it should be yellow but it really doesn't suit me that well!) and my favourite food is chocolate. I work for a national cancer charity, lobbying MPs to make them do the right thing when it comes to people living with cancer. I worked for two Labour MPs a few years ago and very swiftly joined the Liberal Democrats! I learnt that I had really been a life long Liberal and just never realised it - something lots of people are now telling me on their doorsteps.

    It is great to think that people would vote for me and the Liberal Democrats but above all I would agree with you, the crucial thing is to vote. As candidates we will be shown all the spoilt ballot papers so if you really can't bring yourself to vote for one of us then tell us why!


    By Anonymous Hannah Saul, At 7:48 PM, May 03, 2005  

  • Hi Bill

    You certainly was lucky to have not only a member of a party to canvas you but the candidate himself.

    I was fortunate to meet Andrew Hammond at a meeting organised by my Parish Council. I found him to be quite articulate and passionate about his cause. Unfortunatly I cannot be persuaded to vote for him. One of the reasons being exactly what you highlight, its not only families that are hardworking.

    Both myself and my wife work very hard to help subsidise the offsprings of these "families" with their child care, family tax credits and childrens trust funds.

    I cannot vote for Hannah Saul as it would seem she was too busy to even put in an appearance at the meeting I attended and her election address told me nothing other than what I knew already about the Lib Dems.

    The area has been Conservative since before my time and the other two candidate are likely to loose their deposits.

    Having weighed up all the options I may go for the candidate at the bottom of the ballot paper:


    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 8:34 PM, May 03, 2005  

  • The parties may well think about 'hard working families' as a shorthand for the breadth of issues relevant to the wider population, but Andrew's website covers the full range of issues: yes, families with children, but also working people, older people, businesses (never mind policy areas such as the environment, transport, community, policing, etc.) gives the detail.

    By Anonymous David Nicoll, At 1:32 PM, May 04, 2005  

  • Anonymous mentioned Rustie Lee earlier. In the interests of the representation of the people act, the other candidates are here...

    By Blogger Bill P. Godfrey, At 1:58 PM, May 04, 2005  

  • Sorry David but I cannot find anything in Andrews' website that will help my "hard working family"

    The amount of money coming into my household has only increased because we have to work more hours because we do not benefit from the Labour gov. hand outs only pay more out in tax to subsidise these handouts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 4:42 PM, May 04, 2005  

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