Country Standard believes it is vital that the electorate be given a chance to register their opposition to the Coalition of Millionaires at the Thursday May 5th 2011 Local election's in England.
However, this can only happen if candidates stand, Labour progressive, anti cuts, Independent, it's vital the electorate are given a choice.
Candidates need to have completed nomination forms, available from your local council and have them signed (usually ten signatures) by a number of local electors by Monday 4 April.
Luke Akehurst wrote a good article on the importance of standing in May for Progress (see below)
Stand for Labour
Standing Labour candidates in as many wards as possible this May is extremely important. If you or anyone you know could stand, please read on and find out how to.
I'm not going to use this column to make a political point this week.
Instead I want to use this soapbox to make a simple organisational appeal as an NEC member to Labour supporters reading this on the Progress website or via email.
If you are in an area with council elections this May and your local party has not yet picked a full team of candidates, please put yourself forward.
John Spellar MP's post on Labour Uncut on Tuesday set out exactly why it is essential that Labour has at least one candidate running in every council ward where there is an election, however weak the party's historic vote has been there:
‘The public will only be able to register their disgust with this Tory-led coalition if they have Labour candidates to vote for. It is not only bad for Labour, but bad for democracy if we let the case go by default in some areas by not running candidates.'
With the massive public disillusion with the Lib Dems shown by their derisory sixth place in the Barnsley Central by-election, we cannot allow any part of the country to have council polls where voters cannot choose Labour. In the last decade there have been too many, particularly southern and rural, seats where voters have reached the polling booth and found only the Tories and Lib Dems on the ballot paper.
The excellent Southern Front website edited by Stuart King, set out in detail the massive organisational challenge for Labour of finding enough candidates in the southeast, southwest and eastern regions where there are nearly 5,000 council seats up for election.
It's worth repeating their findings:
‘• Of the 140 councils with elections in 2011 (& 2007), 82 elect all of their councillors in one go (‘all out' elections) and 58 elect one-third of their councillors (election ‘by thirds');
• In only 44 of the 140 councils was Labour able to stand a full slate of Labour candidates last time round;
• In 60 of the 140 councils (43 per cent) Labour stood candidates in fewer than half of the wards electing candidates;
• Labour failed to stand any candidates at all in three local authority ‘all out' elections: Cotswold, Mid Devon and North Devon;
• Labour's performance was better where the elections were by thirds, where in all but four of the councils Labour was able to stand in more than half of the contested seats;
• Conversely, Labour did much worse in those 82 authorities where all of the councillors were being elected, with it failing in 56 of the 82 to stand a slate of more than half the seats (68 per cent);
• 2,981 electoral wards were contested in 2007, in 1,241 of which Labour did not field a candidate (42 per cent);
• Across the south Labour stood 2,483 candidates - barely half of the total up for election of 4,787 (52 per cent)
• Labour failed to fully contest a majority of the seats up for election, managing a full slate of candidates in 1,435 wards (48 per cent);
• The outcome of the 2007 elections resulted in Labour failing to win a single seat in 64 southern councils; in a further 38, Labour groups of five or fewer were elected'
In many areas candidates are already in place. But if you are a Labour supporter and you live in an area where the candidates have not already been picked you can change this.
We have until nominations close on 4 April to sort this out and field candidates in places that have not had the chance to vote Labour in council elections for many years.
• If you are a Labour member call your CLP secretary and ask if they still need candidates. Offer to fill any gaps. Their number is on the back of your membership card
• If you can't get hold of your CLP secretary or get a satisfactory response, or you need advice about the nomination process, call your Labour Regional Office - contact details here
• If you are a Labour supporter or member of an affiliate but not already a member, join first here - then take the steps above
• If you have friends and family who are strong Labour supporters in areas where we have trouble finding candidates, please put them in touch with their local party - call the Progress office if you need help identifying contacts
You can be part of making Labour a truly national party, with votes in every part of the country where there are elections. Please do it.