With just a week to go before the close of nominations for the English local elections the English Democrat’s website carries what could be described as ‘a plea of desperation’.
“”However there is a further objective and that is to qualify for a Party Election Broadcast. In order to do this we need to stand over 374 candidates, so even if you wouldn’t be able to do any more than just put your nomination papers in, and would therefore stand just as a paper candidate, please do let us know if you would be willing to do this to help us to get a Party Election Broadcast across England.””
Rumour has it, and it has not been verified, that with a week to go they are about 200 short!
The website is not clear as to whether the candidates have to be members of the EDP or not, if they do then this will really show how committed their membership is.
Robin Tilbrook, Party Chairman and London Mayoral candidate recently claimed a membership of about 3,000, 375 candidates would require about 13% of the members to stand. A more realistic figure has a fully paid-up membership of about 700, if this is more accurate then over 50% would need to come forward.
Whatever the membership figures may or may not be the stark fact is that to get their Party Election Broadcast the EDP need to field three times more candidates than they have ever fielded before.
This is the dilemma that the EDP finds itself in, they have been losing many of their ‘long-time’ members. At the National Council meeting last November one of the Area Chairmen bemoaned the loss of a number of members due to “our unfortunate association with Sinn Fein”. Readers may remember that this was engineered by another EDP National Council member Steve Uncles. Another Area Chairman spoke of “the number of resignations which referred to our association with ex-BNP members”.
In Yorkshire, the South West, Kent, London and elsewhere there have been a great number of resignations from the EDP, to an extent these have been replaced with ex-BNP members. In some cases whole BNP branches have gone over to the EDP
The view of England Watch is that rather than stand as many no-hopers as possible it would be a better use of slender resources to concentrate on 10-20 seats in which they have won a reasonable number of votes in the past, such as Doncaster, Peterborough, Rochford, Broxbourne.
They have two of their four councillors reaching their sell-by-date in May, Cllr Goldspink’s Peterborough seat is up for election but he has already announced that he will not be defending it. Seamus Donne in Three Rivers also has to stand up or stand down. These two wards should be at the top of the list for shipping in activists.
Finally we come to the reason for the 375 candidates, the Party Election Broadcast. For a small party it is difficult to think of anything more deserving of the term ‘ego-trip’ than a PEB. Anyone out there old enough to remember the Referendum Party or the Natural Law Party will recall that They stood! They broadcast! They vanished!
The EDP Leadership have first-hand knowledge of such failure.
At the 2005 General Election the EDP stood 25 candidates and they averaged 1.5% of the vote in their constituencies. There was no Party broadcast.
At the 2010 General Election the EDP stood 107 candidates and they averaged 1.3% of the vote in their constituencies. There was a Party Election Broadcast but the ‘average’ per candidate fell.
This is a link to the site, can you help them out?