I have been out and about with our supporters and candidates across Lewisham working to gather in our nominations. One kind elderly lady in Mount Pleasant Rd gave our canvassers a Mars bar each! The process of gaining consent from local electors to stand is not straight forward -the nomination form has to be exactly right as we know to our cost! The electors registration polling district and number recorded correctly. Signatures have to clear and the party title and description has to be exactly as registered with the Election Commission. We live in only a partial democracy, having the right to vote -only if you are able to register to vote and many people are unable to vote. In London, elections to council's are only every once every four years unlike the rest of councils which have annual elections apart from one fallow year. You could be paying both income tax, national insurance, council tax and VAT but if you are not an EU citizen you are unable to vote. Large numbers of Latin Americans who have long & well established communities in a number of boroughs have been removed from the election register as it is now a requirement to give your nationality -again New Labour playing the race card and pandering to the far right. Many have therefore lost the ability to vote and been removed from the register. In a number of wards in Southwark this is likely to have had a significant impact. Thousands of people are so disillusioned with the established political parties and politicians that they refuse to register to vote -even though this is technically illegal but no council has ever prosecuted anyone for willfully refusing to register.
The outcome of the election is likely to not only have a low turn-out of even of those who are registered but in many inner city areas fewer that 25% of the local population will be voting. Hopefully our intervention will help improve matters.