MELTON HUSTINGS MEETING 26TH APRIL 2010
COULD IT BE A THREE HORSE RACE: INDEPENDENT, BNP AND UKIP?
The election hustings were held in Melton on Monday 26th April. Curiously only the main three parties were invited to address the public meeting from the platform in Melton.
The Independent candidate, Lee Higgins and the UKIP candidate, Peter Baker, assured me that they had both attended the meeting at Melton Theatre and had not been asked to join Conservative, Labour and Liberal candidates on the platform. Peter Baker came along to the Oakham meeting, held in All Saints’ Church at 7.30 pm, with a dignified leaflet protesting the exclusion of the three minority candidates.
A lady from the Church said that both Lee Higgins and Peter Baker would be welcome on the platform and she had invited them along. However neither knew of this before they turned up to the Oakham meeting.
The fact that both Peter Baker and Lee Higgins attended Melton, and would have been happy to appear and speak as candidates, but were limited to questions from the floor, raises the rather thorny issue of election expenses.
It is my understanding – and I could be wrong, if there are any experts out there please do add a comment – that if candidates do not allow fellow Prospective Parliamentary candidates onto the platform with them, then the candidates who do participate become liable for the cost of the meeting.
I am told there have been other smaller meetings from which the minority parties have also been excluded. If the Labour, Conservative and Liberal candidates do not factor the expenses of these meetings into their limited election expenses allowance it may be that this is indeed a three horse race in Rutland and Melton: a race between the Independent, Lee Higgins, the UKIP candidate Peter Baker and the BNP candidate who is always notable by his absence.
How much do you think it costs to rent Melton Theatre for the evening?
Election expenses are limited to around £7,000. If the candidates considerable printing and campaign costs do not include addressing ‘private’ meetings, such as the meeting in Melton Theatre, then all three major party representatives could be barred from taking office for exceeding their campaign expenses. This is one for the Electoral Commissioner to resolve, provided two of the three minor candidates lodge a complaint in good time.
The danger is that the British National Party has the most exposure to media attention and will come fourth in this election. So if Labour Conservative and Liberal candidates are found to have disqualified themselves by exceeding their expenses allowance then we face a nightmare of being represented by a BNP Member of Parliament. Nick Griffin will not be slow in advising his candidates to question election expenses if they can win seats by default.
Peter Baker’s leaflet read:
Due to the TV debates, well all know about the 3 failed parties.
It is a shame the hosts of this evening haven’t made it more interesting by asking ALL the candidates to answer your questions. That at least would have been democratic.
Peter Baker your UK Indpendence Party Candidate is here. Ask him to answer your questions.
Peter immediately withdrew these leaflets when invited onto the platform in Oakham.
However Peter does make a good point and it is still relevant to Melton and any other venue from which he has been excluded.
Surely it is time we turned to candidates who are not trying to climb the greasy pole to a political hierarchy, willing to do the bidding of the party whips? If we want MPs to represent their constituents it is surely time to vote outside the Party Political monopoly? There does appear to be an enormous saving on printing and mailing costs beyond the realms of ordinary business. Martin Brookes said he’d had a personally addressed communication from a Party candidate. How this was possible without using the electoral roll, which candidates are expressly forbidden to use for mailing shots, is a bit of a mystery.
We are told by the press, and by the three main parties, that a vote for any other candidate is a wasted vote. We’ve been brain washed into thinking that a coalition Parliament would be disastrous for the country. Coalition governments in Germany seem to do a better job financially than our tyrannic three party system has so far delivered to us.
What, may I ask, is wrong with having to appeal to our representatives’ consciences? What is wrong with having to win arguments in Parliament by debate, rather than by the shenanigans of the whips? The current three party system is a lazy, indolent and corrupt system. Whips know they can manipulate, bully and blackmail MPs into doing what they are told to do by the party machinery – and stuff the constituents. When it comes to voting, the Whips all whip their votes in under a stringent disciplinary control, which precludes MPs representing their constituents and makes them mere lobby fodder for an elite group of men who would wield all the strings of power. This is not a democracy – it is an oligarchy of self-interested individuals, wielding far too much power for the preferment of their pals, chums and conspirators in crime.
Well in Melton and Rutland this may not be true. It may just be that all three main political party candidates have just ruled themselves out of the race by accruing expenses over and above those allowed in any General Election.
Isn’t it time we stopped being brain washed into kissing toads, who never turn into princes, or voting for the same old losers, who all seem to have the same old agenda. In 97 we had cash for questions; in 2009 we’ve had MPs expenses, bankers for bonuses, Lord Ashcroft’s disingenuous non-dom status and MPs, subjected to fraud charges, using the 1689 Bill of Rights in order to escape prosecution. Berlusconi eat your heart out. Since when were political representatives above the law?
Your vote for a minority candidate might just count for a great deal more than you realise. Don’t let BNP win this constituency by default, vote for an Independent candidate.