For some people who have recently been thrown out of their party such as Dominic Grieve, the plan to stand as an Independent MP makes a great deal of sense and given how radical he has been as a Tory I would probably vote for him if I lived in his constituency. Tomorrow is the deadline for candidates to sign up to constituencies and so it is vital that the best people do get signed up, irrespective of their party involvements. As we approach a new Parliament with the loss of a great many experienced MPs and the prospect of a very dangerous Government the need for people like Dominic to remain in the next Parliament is clear. There are others who are traditionally from a party who have genuinely sought to make a break from their party for ideological reasons that deserve to be considered. However there are also many people whose departure from their previous political background is relatively tentative and in some cases takes place because of the laws they have broken or appear to have broken and so their Independence is pure nonsense. The real test of course for Dominic and others like Anne Milton is how often they will vote in the opposite manner to the Tories and I suspect he will pass that test with flying colours if he is elected.
The real challenge for our nation given how corrupt our Parliament has become is how will we change the rules and our behaviour to stand some chance of electing people like the man in the middle, Paul Sanderson who is not standing this time around for several reasons including the cost of doing so. Paul stood in Bognor in 2017 and along with many other people I went over and campaigned for him to be elected. Sadly he only got 2088 votes which represented 4.1% and meant he lost his deposit although he beat both UKIP and the Green Party and nearly matched the Liberal Democrat Party. Indeed as an Independent he was very successful compared to most others. Because I know Paul personally I believe he would have been a great MP and indeed it would have been fantastic to see Nick Gibb removed from the current Government to help improve the educational provision for students that people like Paul Sanderson spend time with each day.
Looking at the votes for Independents across our nation, some of whom would be as incompetent as Boris Johnson, but some of whom would be as competent as Dominic Grieve, it is clear we need to find a way to promote Independence and provide voters a way of assessing how capable and competent the candidates are. Inevitably when people like Martin Bell stand they can get elected and indeed his performance as an MP deserves being acknowledged. Having met him since he stepped down I am grateful for his support towards Independent candidates.
I am delighted that in the last few days a faith body called the Evangelical Alliance has encouraged its members to: “Pray for independent candidates who are campaigning and those who are running for election for the first time, that they will be supported throughout the process.” Sadly there are other organisations with links to the evangelical alliance who seem unwilling to promote such a theme, but perhaps Christians in Politics can learn from this recommendation. Indeed we need organisations and individuals from a range of backgrounds and beliefs to promote Independent Candidates in a way that gives them something of a level playing field with the party based candidates who all to often are far more accountable to their political party than they are to their constituents!