The Government’s intention to go ahead with the local elections in May has been widely reported.
[Until, of course, they cancel them. Last minute cancellations is a neat way of impoverishing the small parties and independent candidates.]
No one knows whether any form of canvassing or even door-to-door leafleting will be allowed. Currently they would not constitute a valid reason to break lockdown rules. Any leafleting may have to be done through existing commercial delivery firms. So it doesn’t looks like a very level playing field.
Voters will have to take their own pencils to the polling station to make their mark. No pencil, no vote?
Chloe Smith, constitution and devolution minister, said:
“Democracy should not be cancelled because of COVID.
“More than ever, local people need their say as we build back better, on issues ranging from local roads, to safer streets, to the level of council tax…….
“We will work with political parties to ensure that these important elections are free and fair.”
Already the balance is tipping against independent candidates.
Nevertheless, despite this, Owl has reasons to be optimistic that the Tories across Devon will lose seats.
Owl will develop this theme over the coming months.
Or more parochial interest (to Owl, if no one else) is: which “Division” in East Devon will be the lucky one to have Cllr Ben Ingham as its Conservative candidate.
Having been “Independent” Leader of EDDC Ben has turned Conservative and set his sights on the County. As reported by Owl in October, Ben had a pop at ousting that old stalwart Cllr Christine Channon for the Exmouth and Budleigh Coastal Division but failed. (Owl thinks veteran Cllr Channon will struggle to find support in the Exmouth half of the the significantly redrawn boundaries).
Owl doesn’t know if he has been successful elsewhere but is convinced he will be trying, and Owl understands that the Tories are having difficulties finding candidates.
If not then Owl wonders whether he might even try to run under a different label such as an “Independent Conservative”, a “Conservative Independent”. He could even re-brand himself a “Real Conservative” or an “Alternative Conservative”.
Though on past form Owl thinks a “Provisional Conservative” might be the most suitable description.