INFORMATION TO POTENTIAL CANDIDATES
Please remember we are a registered political party. If you are standing as a candidate you are representing the OMRLP. Don’t do or say anything that could reflect badly on the party. We are loonies, Not nutters.
Rule 1. You must be a member of the OMRLP if you want to stand.
In Parish, and Council elections you do not (at the moment) have to pay a deposit. In a General Election the deposit is £500 and the deposit for a Euro- Election is £5,000.
The rules that apply to General elections are by and large the same in smaller elections, the main exception being that in a local election there will be a restriction on who can stand depending on where you live or work. In a General election you can stand almost anywhere.
Don’t wait until an election is called start planning now! Start raising funds for your deposit, design your election communiqué, posters, etc
It is useful if you contact your local election Officer (normally to be found in the town hall somewhere) well before the date of any election and inform him of your intention to stand at the next election.
On local elections there is normally a restriction as to the distance that you live from the area in question. So check this out and obtain a map of the local constituency.
From the date of announcement you normally have only three weeks to sort everything out, which is why it is important to have everything ready beforehand.
This is never enough time, especially if you haven’t got the £500 deposit needed – start getting the dosh now!
Contact Loony party HQ and get a form from them stating that you are an Official candidate from the party, otherwise you cannot stand as a candidate on our behalf…
ANNOUNCEMENT OF ELECTION
You’ve got your £500. A few days after the announcement (allowing them time to get them printed), go to your Election Office and ask for:
1. Candidate’s Consent to Nomination paper, entitled Election of a Member.
2. Appointment of Election Agent paper (most, but not all, authorities have these). If they don’t you’ll have to write on a letter heading in which the Candidate nominates him/her as the Agent, and he/she agrees to be that Agent. (You don’t have to have an election agent if you don’t want one).
3. Nomination Papers, entitled Nomination Paper – Election of a Member. This form has space for the Names of a Proposer, Seconder, and eight Assentors. (For a Mayoral election you will need 28 Assentors.)
GETTING YOUR SIGNATURES
You will need to obtain the signatures of at least ten people who are registered on the current electoral roll* as living in the constituency in which you are to stand for election. *Ask for a copy when you get your other papers. BEWARE! – People will tell you they are on the Electoral Roll, when they aren’t. They’re not trying to con you; it’s a genuine mistake. Some think they live in the constituency when in fact they live just over the border (political constituencies are not based on postal areas) so therefore can’t vote for you. Some have moved house and think they’re automatically on the roll; others think that, because their parents are on the roll, they are automatically, too (again not true). The only way you can be sure is to take a copy of the roll with you when getting the signatures. It’s big, it’s bulky and a pain to cart around with you, but it’s the only way to be certain you’ve got it right. It’s also worth noting that if you get any of them wrong you will be prevented from standing. (You can now obtain a copy of the electoral roll on a floppy disc. Providing you are standing you get it free.)
Some people might think that, because they sign your papers, they’re then committed to voting for you, Not true. Their signing means only one thing: they agree that you should be allowed to stand for the election. As it’s a secret ballot there’s no way anyone’s going to know who they voted for, if at all. Any candidate with 10 signatures has the right to have them all printed on a large poster (along with the other candidates names and assentors etc). When you’ve got your forms filled in, call in and see the Returning Officer. Ask him/her if any of the names could be objected to. If any are unclear or dodgy, you’ll be told – Note: Tippex and photocopies are not acceptable.
A good tip is to have the names of people + a few extra ready months in advance. That way you will not have to go searching for names at the last minute. You can also make sure that they are on the electoral register in advance, and don’t hand them in at the last minute. Do it a few days in advance if you can, then if anything does go wrong you can sort it.
PUTTING YOUR PAPERS IN
When you collect your papers, they should also give you an Election Timetable. Find out when nominations close and plan accordingly. You must get your papers and £500 in cash or bankers draft in before the nominations close. They are mega strict about this – even a few seconds late and you’ve blown it. If you’re dressing up and meeting the media beforehand take this into account (taking pix can take time).
Every Parliamentary candidate (and you’re not a candidate until your nomination forms have been accepted) is entitled to have one election address delivered free of charge to every household in the constituency. All you have to pay for is the printing. The Post Office will nominate one of their employees (usually a middle manager) to oversee the delivery of election material. They will also retain the right to decline to deliver if they feel your Election Address is unsuitable . Before you rush to print, first contact the Post Office with the artwork. They will also tell you when they want your election address, how it can be folded, how many they want in each bundle etc. You must put on all election material:
Printed by: ………….. and Published by …….. Your name and address or that of your agent and at the top of your Election Address: [Constituency Name] Election Communication.
In the Mayoral elections your election address will be incorporated into a booklet containing all the other parties bumf. The returning officer will put it into a leaflet to send to all the voters on the register for you. However this may in some cases be charged to you. Check it out first.
This now applies to all your posters and leaflets.
There are strict rules about putting up posters. In some areas you are not allowed to put up posters on lamp posts or verges etc, in others the rules are quite strict, ranging from how high they have to be and what they are tied with etc, so get all the information from your local electoral officer and make sure you abide by it. If you are not sure ask. If you can have all the leaflets designed and ready to go before any election is called. This will save you time nearer the day (you haven’t got much).
You should aim for a local venue – within the constituency – as your H.Q. Preferably one that serves refreshments all day so that the media can gain access to you whenever they and you want. The owner should agree to a good fee to you for a gig – especially as all our ‘Victory Parties’ are held before election day. You’ll he surprised how many of the other parties’ supporters will turn up, if only for a welcome break from their own tedious campaigning.
As a small party, with hardly any soldiers on the ground, we can’t go knocking on the doors, like the boring parties do. The way we score is through the mass media of TV, radio and newspapers, by holding stunts. As the elections progress we usually find the media are happy to cover at least one stunt – if only to provide some light relief – if they have a local connection. Pick stunts that are humorous, visual and relevant to your campaign. Not dangerous, illegal or plain stupid. The public in general, and the Police in particular, are well disposed towards us for giving them a good laugh when every other candidate is being deadly serious. NOTHING must jeopardize this. We are Loonies, not Nutters. Get out and about during the daytime: Shopping precincts are good places (although some are privately owned and you may get chucked out for overt electioneering) and kids love stickers. Markets are pretty good, as are schools when mums are waiting for their offspring (be careful not to go into the playgrounds to recruit). At night hit the pubs. With a good driver, good local knowledge and a team of dedicated people to help, you can often hit up to 30 pubs. The advance man goes in, preferably in costume, announces the candidate, who then goes in, shakes hands all round, for no more than five minutes, hands out stickers, leaflets, car stickers etc. Then you all go. No time to stay for drinks – even if they’re free (an extra five minutes for a half means a pub you don’t visit and voters you don’t meet). There’ll be time for drinks at the end of the evening back at HQ. Your task is simply to meet as many people as possible in as short a time as possible. Even if no one’s there when you arrive, go to the landlord/manager and introduce yourself (not a bad thing to do anyway) – they’ll often want you to leave leaflets etc and, if you’re not going back at a later date, please feel free to do so. They will often campaign on your behalf.
At all times you should let the local papers know you are there. The occasional letter for their letters page on some topical interest, will normally be enough to arouse interest and start getting your name about. It helps if you make it funny, as most letters are boring, and a pic if you have one is helpful. Send them a copy of your manifesto or the OMRLP manifesto, and get to know reporters. However don’t impose on them.
RADIO AND TV
You may well be invited to appear on the TV or a Radio phone-in program. It is vital you ascertain the format of the show, will all candidates be appearing or are you the only one? Make sure you aren’t left out. This is quite a complex area, and one the Loonies have been taken advantage of in the past. Our recommendation is that, in the first instance you contact the Loony Party as soon as you’re approached.
Because we tend towards the mass coverage of the voters, loudhailers are often used to get over our message. Be careful….Apart from annoying the people you’re trying to encourage, it should be noted that no loudhailers should he used after 8pm, or within 100 yards of a polling station on election day.
The Election Agent is responsible for deciding, with the Candidate, who gets in to the Count on the Loony ticket. You’ll be allowed 10-15 Counting Agents (people allowed right into the centre where the votes are counted, to scrutinize the tables and see fair play), and 10-15 more as spectators in the public gallery. You will need to supply the names and addresses of your people before you are issued with tickets. The Police, who supervise the security at the Count, are dead strict about this. So, no ticket, no show. Your Counting Agents will be the ones who are on TV, so they must dress up (it’s not so important for those in the spectators gallery) but Loonies in the centre area must look like Loonies. That’s the point of it. That’s what makes us interesting and different. WARNING: The Count goes out live on TV, so no drunks, no silly buggers. The last thing we need is a TV clip of a so-called Loony being hoyed out by the Police. The Candidate may give a speech after the Count is over. Traditionally, the winner speaks first, then the second and third etc. We usually recommend a speech (well rehearsed) of no more than two minutes, thanking the Elections Offices/Police etc for doing their job, the Loony Election Agent and supporters and of course the many people who voted for the loonies. Some prophetic statement about this being a victory for Loonies might also suffice.
AFTER THE ELECTION
It would be really helpful if you could contact HQ to let them know exactly how many results you have received, and other information like, How many you stood against, who they were, your previous result, and where exactly you stood. This saves us having to check our records in an already busy time.
When it’s all over, the Election Agent is responsible for submitting an account of expenses. The maximum you’re allowed to spend on a campaign varies between £25,000 – £30,000 ! Drawing up the account isn’t difficult (they’ll give you a form). However you must fill in the form and send it in, even if your expenses were nil (and many a Loony has stood without it costing him anything).
This information is not designed to frighten you off, rather to advise, where possible, of some of the pitfalls, so you can learn from others’ mistakes. It’s also not a comprehensive list of what you should/shouldn’t do -Things are changing all the time so try to keep informed. If you’re not sure, please contact the party and they’ll all do they can to advise.