Not that you would know it by following local media outlets these days but there are actually 5 candidates standing in the 2015 May General Election for the constituency of Romsey & Southampton North, not just the incumbent.
Such has been the media blackout on the other 4 candidates that locals are actually starting to question the political agenda behind it.
One reader of this blog has produced a bar chart showing the column inches given to each candidates since January 2015 – lets just say the blue ink nearly ran out!
The only way you can find out about these other candidates is to go on-line and hunt down their websites, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts etc.
The results are very interesting, they have all actually been doing a lot of work locally and have all been engaged in things that should have been reported in the press. One candidate in particular has been picking up the slack of the “incumbent” and doing work for constituents that she should have been doing.
Searching for news of these 4 gallant candidates on the internet is great…if you are an active internet user, not so great if you are one of the vast numbers of postal voters in the constituency who are elderly and not silver surfing, ie. those who rely, lets say, on the impartiality and accuracy of the local media for their “information”.
So here is a round-up of all the other very worth Prospective Parliamentary Candidates for Romsey & Southampton North that the media seem unable to report on – in “Party” alphabetical order.
Ian has lived in the constituency (both north and south) for 12 years and has been a member of the Green Party for a similar period. A seasoned environmental campaigner, he was Chair of the London Cycling Campaign during the early 2000s, when cycling began its massive growth in the capital. He works in international development, and has raised over £300 million to support essential products and services to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest populations. These include such things as basic financial services, solar lanterns helping children study at night and clean cookstoves that reduce harmful gases that kill millions each year, especially women. Locally, he is a churchwarden in Wellow, at the Church where Florence Nightingale is buried. The church attracts visitors from the nursing community all over the world and – along with Magna Carta – is celebrating its 800th Anniversary in 2015. Talking about his reasons for standing, Ian said: “Having lived in this constituency for over 10 years one thing I know we can depend on is the fair minded nature of Hampshire people. We believe in rewarding hard work and whether in city, town or country in this very diverse constituency, a shared sense of community and compassion underpins our values. Citing some local examples he pointed out that even when people can get jobs, they often need to hold down two or even three. “And even then,” he said, “they probably still can’t make ends meet because the minimum wage is not a living wage.” Problems of low pay are compounded, he pointed out, by lack of public transport, especially buses. “When transport is run for profit and not to meet the needs of passengers, people either can’t get to jobs they could otherwise take, or have to rely on cars they can’t afford. It’s the same problem when they try to access vital health and social services.”
I’m delighted to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Romsey and Southampton North. I came to Southampton in my early twenties to study at university, and I was the first in my family to have the opportunity to do so. I now work as a lecturer in Spanish and Linguistics at the University of Southampton. This experience drives my belief that good educational opportunities should be available to everyone regardless of their background or where they live. I’ve seen and experienced first-hand how education empowers individuals and strengthens society. In 2011 I was elected to Southampton City Council for Peartree ward, and I’ve actively campaigned to protect local NHS services, promote the Living Wage, and recruit urgently-needed foster carers in the city. I’m interested in educational policy, children’s safeguarding, and exploring ways that faith groups can play a role in their local communities. Another of my key interests is skills development, and in 2013, I led an inquiry into Apprenticeships which led to almost £1million of investment in skills and training opportunities for the city’s young people. Recently, I helped to establish the Southampton Fairness Commission, which brings together public, private and voluntary sectors to reduce inequalities here and make the city a fairer place to live and work. Outside of politics, I’m married, and I’m a dad to two young children. I also serve on the governing body of a local secondary academy, I’m a Saints FC supporter, and enjoy walking in the beautiful Hampshire countryside and running to keep fit.
Ben Nicholls was selected as Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Romsey & Southampton North at a packed meeting of local members on 21st March 2014. Ben, 27, was born in Stoke-on-Trent but moved to Southampton aged twelve. His father worked at Southampton University for many years, whilst his mother and sister still teach locally. After school in nearby Winchester, Ben studied for a music degree at Cambridge University. He then began his career in the civil service, working on education and child protection issues, before spending two years as a cross-party adviser on education in Parliament. He then worked as a senior manager in one of the country’s largest colleges, where he was responsible for communications, policy and public affairs. A dedicated supporter of the voluntary sector, Ben is founder and chair of RicNic, a youth theatre charity which he has run for the past ten years. RicNic has its largest branch in Hampshire and provides free-of-charge opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to explore the creative arts through innovative summer projects. Ben is also a trustee of another arts charity, and has volunteered with a number of organisations and projects over the years, including serving as a primary school governor. As a campaigner, Ben’s focus is on issues which give local people genuine control over their own lives, and on making society a fairer place for us all. Having worked with some of the country’s most disadvantaged people, Ben has a particular passion for education and improving outcomes for young people, and for ensuring adequate support for those who need it most. He is particularly proud that the Lib Dems have brought genuine freedom and fairness to Government through raising the personal tax allowance. Away from work, volunteering and campaigning, Ben is a keen musician, though with rapidly decreasing levels of skill! He has sung with a number of local groups including the Romsey Abbey Choir. He is also a keen walker with a vested interest in protecting the beautiful constituency countryside.
Sandra James is the Parliamentary Candidate for UKIP for the Romsey and Southampton North Constituency. She is keen to hear from local constituents and understand the issues that most concern them, especially regarding local matters. Sandra is passionate about debating the fundamental issues and facts surrounding the UK’s membership of the EU; whether it is the economic debate, where she continues to voice her concern on the level of Eurozone growth compared to the forecast growth for the wider global market. She is keen to help local business’ who are under on-going threat from EU bureaucracy. As a career person who has worked for a considerable time within the financial sector she is affronted by the seemingly continuing lax attitude to the auditing of EU accounts and it’s performance, coupled with the substantive cost of maintaining EU bureaucrats. Sandra believes that we should be friends with Europe but manage instead our trading relationship through a European Free Trade Agreement this will prevent our sovereignty being usurped by our continued membership of the EU. UKIP are the fastest growing political party in the UK, because we resonate with people through our ‘common sense policies’, we are not career politicians – we speak up for the things you are saying. In the European elections we secured 31% of the vote across the Constituency beating the Conservatives into second place. We have been called every name under the sun for publicising views over the past few years that the other parties are now falling over themselves to endorse.