What do they mean to voters?
One of the features of this election is the impact political funds have had on the attempts of the major parties to fight even a Boroughwide campaign and of course what the fact that 16 Liberal Democrat Councillors not seeking to stand again signalled about the difficulties the establishment parties face.
Paid for deliveries either through the Post Office or leafleteers by the local Liberal Democrats and Conservatives. Newspaper wraps of the Sutton & Croydon Guardian and paid for Facebook inserts by the Labour Party. But most especially an absolute profusion of “paper candidates” by all three major groups.
So, what is meant by the term “paper candidate” – well in local elections, unlike General Elections, there is no financial cost for registering as a candidate. All that is needed is a proposer, seconder and support from local residents.
That means that a major party can register candidates in a ward that they have no realistic chance of winning but at the same time appear to their traditional voters to offer the opportunity of continued support.
In these straightened times, it also allows them to focus their scarce resources on areas where they have a chance of representation whilst giving the impression of being capable of forming the next administration.
Is that fair to voters? Probably not!
For those of a certain age, remember the song “Paper Roses” and its chorus verse:
Paper roses, paper roses
Oh how real those roses seemed to me
But they’re only imitation
Like your imitation love for me!
For Paper Roses, read Paper Candidates – they aren’t properly canvassing, some don’t even live in the Borough, let alone the ward and if they can’t be bothered to work at that, why are they worth your vote?
When we were elected in 2018, we never realised the hard work needed to do the job properly and there is really no point in standing if you aren’t prepared to do the hard yards. The secret is, we know what is involved and the rewards are heart-warming and that is why we are standing in Beddington and are encouraged by other community minded colleagues standing with us!
Therefore, on Thursday, as your pencil hovers over the choices of three candidates, ask yourself – did I just get a generic paper like the Beddington Champion or the Carshalton and Wallington Gazette on paper as thin as their candidates – or do I think there are three people who are going to work hard for me and my family?
In the Beddington and Wallington – the answer is that if you vote for the three Independents in your ward you will get proper representation at Committees and at Council as well as strong allies to deal with any shortfall in the services you expect from your Council.