Lady Lil, fighting for the democratic right to fight!
Only 4 months since the Brecon and Radnor by-election and there’s yet another General Election. It seems astounding that there is so much ‘spare’ money on the magic money trees for all these elections. If you are one of the big party candidates standing, it is not cost prohibitive, you have the democratic right to stand and the spondulix to pay for it. And if you are already an MP, despite the dissolution of parliament, you will still get paid your £76,000 +++ a year. As an independent or a small party candidate there is no magic money tree. We have to self fund our campaigns.
In July, for the 1st August by-election in B&R there was little time to raise the democracy tax, election deposit, but with a couple of swish-and-swap / bring-and-buy sales we managed it by the skin of our teeth and the rest of the costs came out of my own pocket. The entire by-election was run on £1297 of which (£250 was donated by the party and about £400 came out of my own pocket, the rest was fund raised).
Then here we are in November with another tight deadline. This time for a General Election where nominations have to be in by 14th November. My pockets are empty. As are the Loony Party coffers, and in any instance it’s not just one candidate that needs funding, it’s all of us. So we’re each on our own.
So there we have it. There’s a GoFundMe page for Lady Lil and that is slowly building funds (today it stands at £243 less their commission), hopefully it will keep growing.
Then last night I ran a fundraiser in my home, Cerdyn Villa B&B in Llanwrtyd Wells. A wonderful friend and expert, local reflexology and massage therapist, Eliza Ta of Happy Soles Reflexology and Massage for Better Health, offered to help me fundraise by donating her time and talent and providing taster massage sessions. She performed eight yesterday evening. My daughter-in-law and I home-baked a table full of cakes and I brewed copious quantities of tea/herbal tea and coffee for our guests. I went around my house finding beautiful things I could sell onto to new homes to help raise the funds to such a tight deadline. Beautiful original art by local artists including me, were offered at knock down prices, time is short, and funds were required.
The evening added £165 to the pot.
I’ve listed some of my other treasured possessions on local Buy/sell/swap sites to try and raise enough to cover printing costs and put petrol in the campaign wagon.
Why? Why sell off things you love? To lose in an election?
The way I see it is this. We live with an illusion of democracy in our voting system. First Past The Post (FPTP) is flawed. Election pacts slap the face of democracy even further. And politics in the UK has gone all ‘American’, no longer is it about what each party has to offer, it’s about digging dirt on the others and pointing out the failings of everyone else. We live in a blame culture. It’s about deflection; smoke and mirrors.
In B&R, for the second time this year, both Plaid and Green have stepped aside in a pact to favour a slide towards favouring the Libdems. The election has become solely about leave/remain. Yet there are people out there concerned about our NHS, our education system, our Independence, and our climate…. election pacts and Brexit are muddying the waters.
With a FPTP system it could be argued that in B&R any vote not for the Tory or LibDem is a ‘wasted vote’ one of them will win the seat so why give voice to the other parties. I’ll tell you why. Because it’s democratic. There are millions of people across the UK at the moment that are desperate to have their voices heard about the climate emergency. Four years of mis-management, in-fighting and obstruction on delivering or cancelling the referendum result have enabled the main parties to largely ignore any other issue that face them. Every moment, every emergency meeting (with paid overtime?) on a weekend, has been to debate EU issues. Where are the emergency meetings on climate change? Where are the manifesto policies? Where are the actions? Brexit has deflected all the leaders and enabled them to focus on nothing else.
Engineering the GE by constituency using pacts affects the electorates opportunity to vote for the party they are loyal to; are possibly a member of; or may have campaigned for; and whose manifesto pledges best represent them. It is, in my mind highly undemocratic. Sure it’s unlikely that a Green or Plaid candidate would win in B&R, but so is Labour winning the seat, it doesn’t mean the electorate shouldn’t have the option. They should be able to vote for their party of choice. Their party has a democratic obligation to give them a voice. Yes some of the Green and Plaid voters may turn out and vote Libdem as is the plan of the pact, but I bet a large amount will not vote at all because they have no representation. And that is not fair. Every electorate should have a vote and a voice, be that voice a minor party, or a tactical vote, or the ‘winner’ … and the result should reflect the electorate. Green/Plaid/Loony might not win, but a substantial growth in their votes would send a clear message to Westminster and to whoever does win the constituency, that their issues increasingly matter.
As a Loony, I’m not particularly effective, in that I’m not particularly funny; my views are quite intense. I feel the system is unjust and I want to stand to offer a protest vote. I am the None of The Above option, the candidate, whose box you can put your cross in to register your distain for the election-result engineering created through pacts. The cross that will enable you to say you are fed up with the system; you have lost faith in the parties; you don’t feel they represent you.I’m here to offer an alternative voice. I’ll try and be more amusing as my Loony title dictates, but mostly I just want to encourage every single voter to go out and use their vote…. preferably not for me, but I’m here as the None of The Above, if you need me.