Anne Marie Waters

Tuesday 26th January 2021

 

Cabinet Office Minister Chloe Smith has stated that door to door campaigning for this May’s elections is not permitted.  This will inevitably make effective campaigning near-impossible for independent candidates or new and up-coming political parties.  This, it should be obvious, favours the established parties – Labour and the Conservatives.

This year’s elections should have taken place last May but were cancelled due to the coronavirus restrictions.  They are due to go ahead this year, but with much disadvantage to smaller parties.

The Cabinet Office has stated that campaigning is “not considered an essential or necessary activity” but I would argue entirely the opposite.  It has never been as necessary for voters to be offered a choice, given how many people are less than pleased about how the virus has been handled by the establishment parties.  Indeed, there are many issues that one could argue have been seriously mishandled since we last had elections in the UK.  These include the disgraceful behaviour of police relating to both lockdown restrictions and indeed their bowing to Black Lives Matter while they were in the process of committing criminal damage last summer.  Furthermore, illegal immigration continues (including to Hartlepool) while the government watches and the Labour Party offers no criticism or opposition.

A few points to make on the prevention of effective campaigning:

  1. We are able to receive our usual post through our letterboxes – why not political leaflets?
  2. Delivery drivers knock on our doors to bring us goods, why not allow us to door-knock provided we practice the same required social distancing?

The government claim that voters may find information on alternative parties or candidates by checking online, but this is simply not an answer.  How can a person research political parties they don’t yet know exist?  Furthermore, online research only means that candidates and parties are at the mercy of the mainstream press and big tech.  We know how both censor political opposition, or outright lie about the policies of parties they don’t approve of.

We must object to this and insist the government place no undue or unjustified restrictions on our ability to campaign.  We are their opposition after all, and it is entirely undemocratic for a sitting government to prevent its competitors speaking face to face with the voting public.

Today I have written the following letter to Cabinet Office Minster Chloe Smith. I urge others to do the same.

 

Dear Ms Smith,

I am writing with regard to the Cabinet Office declaration that effective campaigning for this May’s elections will not be permitted.  

According to reports, the Cabinet Office does not consider such campaigning to be an essential or necessary activity. 

Can you please explain why this is the case given that this activity is both fundamental to our democratic processes, and the restrictions are entirely unjustified in light of the fact that the exact same activities are permitted for commercial reasons. 

Please explain why: 

  1. We may not post leaflets safely through letterboxes even though post continues to be delivered as usual. 
  2. We may not campaign door to door even though commercial companies deliver goods safely, from person to person, on a daily basis throughout the country. Furthermore, it is entirely possible for door to door campaigning to remain socially distanced.

These restrictions are an unnecessary impediment on independent candidates, as well as new and upcoming political parties, but more importantly, they deny voters a chance to make a genuine and informed choice about who they wish to represent them in elected chambers across the country. 

I look forward to your response. 

Yours sincerely, 

Anne Marie Waters 

Leader 

For Britain Movement 

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