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A local resident has co-authored a free guide to help individuals running in the Local election make the most from their campaign budget.
Hertford resident Jim Thornton has written Elections on a Shoestring along with the leading environmental activist Tamsin Omond. The content of the guide was compiled from ideas sent in from around the country.
The 16-page guide was printed in association with the Independent Network (IN), a non-profit organisation that provides support to candidates who are not members of political parties. IN asked over 1,200 Independent councillors to contribute advice on how candidates can get the maximum return from their budget.
Nonetheless, as the guide notes they are just as useful for those applying for Student Union or Trade Union elections where campaign budgets are also small.
‘By law we cannot spend thousands to get ourselves elected to local councils,’ explained Jim, ‘So any candidate in the May Local Elections has to look carefully at every penny. This is especially true if you are an Independent, with no large party machine behind you.’
Jim is an Executive Member of Independent Network and Tamsin, as well as working for IN, is a leading campaigner in preventing the sale of our woodlands and recently appeared as a panel member on Channel 4s ‘Ten O’Clock Live’ programme surrounding how to protest effectively.
INs council of reference includes Martin Bell, former Independent Tatton MP, Prof. Colin Copus, Professor of Local Politics at DeMontfort University, Dr Richard Taylor, former Independent Wyre Forest MP and Tony Eggington, the Independent Mayor of Mansfield as well as a number of cross-bench peers and prominent Independent councillors from the around the country.
Certainly, making the most of their budget is something Jim is acutely aware of: ‘I am probably the wrong person to have helped on this,’ he explained, ‘as in the General Election last year I had the highest spend-per-vote received in the whole country. However, you learn as much from great failures as you do from great successes!’
East Herts Council held a meeting for potential councillors on 3 March (see wardtimes, 19 February 2011). This provided the opportunity for people to see whether or not they were interested in becoming a councillor and to get to talk to the various political parties and organisations in the area.