In May all of us will be involved in an election which will have a substantial impact on all of our lives. At the end of the last Government the coalition, led by the well funded Tory Party decided that these elections would take place without a crucial piece of election literature freely available to voters. All Parliamentary elections include a free posting by candidates to every home in the constituency and rightly or wrongly, electors expect this as a matter of course. There are many reasons why turnout on 15th November 2012 was so low, but it is probable that a lack of election address contributed to this. As one of the candidates in November 2012 I vividly recall being quizzed on a number of occasions by potential electors if they would receive a leaflet from me explaining my views. I had to admit that they almost certainly would not. One pointed out that she would not consider voting for a candidate that could not be bothered to send her an explanation of their views. I did have a leaflet which thanks to a generous printer I was able to produce for a modest cost of 1p each. However my limited election budget meant that barely 10,000 or so of these were distributed. Yet Sussex has 600,000 homes. I have no idea how many leaflets the Labour Party distributed, nor what they cost (theirs were a lot more glossy than mine, and in colour!), but I do know their budget was 15 times the size of my own overall. The Conservative candidate who won had a budget 100 times the size of mine. Her leaflets cost approximately 10p each and she distributed 250,000 across Sussex. Because of the inherent advantage that Political Parties have in elections, the Party was able to ensure that these went to the 250,000 houses most likely to cast their votes for the Party.
If the Tory Party truly believed in democracy, they would have agreed to supplying an election address from all candidates in this Mays election. However they know that by preventing such a distribution, that will provide an advantage to the well funded Tory Party candidates, at the disadvantage of the other parties and even more so to the disadvantage of many of the independent candidates. This is not democracy and we should be angry about it. Sadly with support for democratic process at such a low level, it is unlikely that much anger will be felt across England and Wales.