March 4, 2015

Paper Candidate

A little while ago, I joined the Green Party. I used to be a member of the Labour Party but since they are no longer socialists, I had a change of heart. I was impressed by the Greens’ policies, they were so clear and accessible, and they felt like a good fit. Just look at their statement on maternity services (scroll down a bit).

Now, I don’t really care that they’re not currently electable; nor was UKIP a short while ago, and now look, there is actually a chance that those scum will have a voice in the next parliament. In fact, thanks to media collusion, they have a voice now. I hate that. And since I live smack bang in the middle of a particularly odious Tory’s safe seat, what does it matter to you who I waste my vote on?

I volunteered to deliver leaflets, because I like going out for walks, and can fit that into my sporadic working times. Yesterday the local party emailed me to ask for a little bit more: would I stand as a paper candidate in local elections? Here’s how he explained it:

Paper candidates are not expected to actively campaign, they simply agree to have their name on the ballot and give our supporters a chance to register their Green vote (last year we averaged 8% of the vote, so you are not expected to be elected). Becoming a paper candidate is a great way to support the Green party

I consulted Pete, who said:

On the one hand, I’m in favour of disrupting the
established institutions. But on the other hand, it adds weight to the
view that the Greens are just a protest party and have no real
policies of their own.

And I found this comment on a political blog:

Paper candidates have a valid purpose in the democratic process. They give voters a chance to vote for the Party they support, rather than being forced to vote for a second choice candidate. Or what is even worse, without paper candidates, voters could feel they are being denied an opportunity to vote altogether.
Do paper candidates get elected? No, They don’t campaign and as we know, the only people who don’t campaign and get elected are from the three major parties

As someone who does feel disenfranchised in local and national politics, I can really see the argument for giving people someone to vote for, even if it’s just an opportunity to register their protest against the other parties. But I also slightly feel that if one stands for election, one should be prepared to serve – and I’m not. I haven’t got time.

So, having written this down has helped, and I probably won’t do it; but what do you guys think?

Karen

9 thoughts on “Paper Candidate

  1. You have answered your own question-
    If you are not prepared to serve, don’t run. It doesn’t matter that you won’t be elected.

  2. I think it depends a little what people think they are voting for. if most people that tick the box for a ‘paper candidate’ are aware that the candidate doesn’t intend to stand then it seems fair. On the other hand if they think that they are voting for a real candidate that seems a little off.

    i do know someone that stood for council for UKIP and after they election it became clear they were just a paper candidate and I did think it would have been amusing (on some levels only) if they had got voted in.

    Hmmm, on balance I think you should probably only stand if you mean it, even if you only mean it a little bit.

    Ms Gammidgy on March 4, 2015
  3. I agree with both the above and I think Ms Gammidgy nails it: the people voting for you need to believe that you’re a real candidate, don’t they? I’d hate to hear that the party I’d cast my precious vote for weren’t serious about my seat and were somehow using my vote as collateral for an argument in the future.
    That said, I live in Ken Clarke’s constituency and have a dilemma this time around. I am not and have never been a tory voter, so my votes in this constituency have been essentially wasted. I would usually vote Labour, but voted for the Lib Dems last time as they are the nearest competition and I was fooled into thinking they were credible. Ken is standing down this time, and I honestly think that we could be a UKIP target, and they’ve always been quite visible around here and the the MEP. I’m not sure how best I can stop it, and I also considered volunteering to knock on doors. I hate feeling that whatever way I cast my vote won’t make a damn bit of difference to the end result. I am considering Green, actually.

  4. I really think you should do it. I can’t think of anyone locally who would be better.
    If you do happen to get elected you can choose how active you want to be. You could do as little as 5 hours a week. In return you’d get your basic £7,487 plus £1,000 “out-of-pocket expenses, IT, communication and home office”, and more if you sit on certain committees.

    Gammidgy on March 6, 2015
  5. Isn’t that for an MP, though? This is just local councillors. Do they get paid? That’s more than I earn as a doula…

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