Yesterday saw the announcement of all the candidates standing for election on 5th May. It turns out there are only 2 independent candidates standing in the whole of Derby – myself and a candidate in Chaddesden.
So what does it mean to be standing as an independent?
Primarily it means that I don’t have to get involved in party politics. I don’t have to vote according to what my party believes – I am free to vote according to what I feel is best for residents of Oakwood and Derby. I won’t abstain when I agree with the opposition but don’t want to be seen to agree for political reasons. I can also debate freely holding all parties to account.
I can form my own manifesto (more on that in a subsequent blog) setting my own priorities, based on what I think Oakwood needs from conversations with people who live in Oakwood, use Oakwood and care about Oakwood.
There are a few things that make being an independent candidate more difficult. In the main the electorate will vote for a party based on the wider political situation – how the government are performing, how the opposition are doing. As an independent I don’t have the national media coverage. It is up to me to promote myself, get my ideas across and hope that people like me. I don’t have the financial banking of a party. I cannot share in publicity with other party members.
I also lack campaigning/political experience – as a candidate you can appoint an ‘agent’ to run your campaign. Many parties have these. I don’t. I don’t have people to go to for advice about strategy or procedure. I am doing all my own research. It is proving to be quite a learning curve.
What I do have is passion and drive to work in Oakwood, to make it an even better place to live, even with cuts to budgets and threats to services. It’s going to be a massive task for me to be elected – Oakwood is an historically safe Conservative seat… However I believe that the people of Oakwood need a new voice. A vote for me will be a vote for the residents of Oakwood – I will be YOUR voice – not the voice of a political party!