@daily_express MP deposits are counter democracy

This is a letter, which I sent to the Daily Express in response to Frederick Forsyth’s comment about frivolous election candidacy.

I appreciate that some (such as the estimable Fred Forsyth) may find some election candidates are frivolous and time-wasting but isn’t that the joy of true democracy. The cost of the ink on the voting papers can’t be that great and the leafleting costs have to be born by the candidates themselves.

The lost deposits must cover any admin costs.

Time-wasting? Whose time is wasted? A voter has to look through a slightly longer list of candidates before putting his cross. That can’t waste that much time.

Frivolous? The voters, who put their crosses against these candidates didn’t think them frivolous. They took the time and trouble to cast their vote. Surely they thought it important, even if they were only saying “ my vote doesn’t count”, or “ I find none of the main parties acceptable”

In Eastleigh there were 10 parties, who averaged 200 votes each. That’s 2,000 people who don’t think that any of the main parties represent them but were prepared to get off their backsides and go to the polls.

The candidates themselves were “voicing their dissent” and were prepared to “put their money were their mouth was”, in terms of time and effort, canvassing costs (no lobbying donations/bribes for them) and lost deposits.

Consider UKIP, now classed as one of the main parties. They were not always so and a fair few of their candidates will have lost their deposits in the early days.

Consider the NHA Party. These are professionals within the NHS, concerned about a very real threat to the services, which they provide.

If the concern is about maintaining the Status Quo , then by all means raise the deposit. In fact raise it to a level where those with rich backer’s, or access to public funds can afford to risk such sums.

If the concern is about the truly frivolous then why not insist that each candidacy be supported by nominations from 200 registered voters. That would have got rid of 7 of the Eastleigh candidates but still allowed candidates with genuine local concerns to get a voice.

Let’s go further and ban all leafleting, apart from a pro forma leaflet, similar to those presented by candidates for membership of the Board of a Building Society.

Further still; confine all canvassing to door-knocking and equal presentations in local media.

What is the justification for national advertising and party political broadcasts?

Get rid of this from political life and not only is the Public spared many hours of lies and propaganda, political parties are spared the need to sell their souls to the highest bidders.


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