Who is going to get the anti-lockdown votes on May 6th?
Across the UK there will numerous elections taking place this Thursday 6th May.
These elections will not only be a test of how the public perceives the mainstream parties, but an opportunity for them to vote for anti-lockdown parties too.
London Mayor and Assembly
In London the voter is spoilt for choice in this respect, with five freedom from lockdowns London Mayoral candidates and all of the London wide and London constituency Assembly member elections being contested by such “freedom” candidates. The only danger is that with the Reform Party, UKIP, the Heritage Party, Let London Live and London Real, all standing, it is potentially splitting the vote.
However, that will not happen in eleven of the fourteen London Assembly constituency elections where it is just the Reform party standing.
Electors effectively have four votes:
First and second preference votes for London Mayor, One vote for the 11 London wide Assembly members and One vote for the 14 London Assembly constituency members.
Police and Crime Commissioners
As for outside London, there are elections for 35 Police and Crime Commissioners and 4 for Police, Crime and Fire Commissioners.
These all involve the voter having first and second preference votes.
The Reform party are contesting 12 of these and the English Democrats are contesting two, and whilst there are 17 Independent candidates, not all of those are lockdown sceptic, so there is not the wide choice some would like there to be.
There are also 7 Combined Authority Mayoral elections and 5 Single Authority Mayoral elections.
Of these, there are a total of 7 lockdown sceptic party candidates. These are the Reform party, UKIP and the English Democrats. There are also 10 Independent candidates, some of whom have anti-lockdown credentials. However, there are still 4 Mayoral elections where there is no lockdown sceptic choice available. The only option voters have in these areas is to vote for the least bad choice.
Election of 5,000 Local Councillors
Throughout England there are a numerous local elections to vote in at least 5000 Councillors.
There are anti-lockdown “freedom” candidates standing, including the new “Freedom Alliance” party, who are also fielding candidates in Scotland and Wales.
The consensus of opinion is that those who are lockdown sceptic did not have the time to organize for these elections as they were too busy opposing the government’s constantly changing lockdowns agenda.
Many people consider the whole lockdowns scenario to be the new political agenda, replacing other major issues such as the EU, immigration and so on.
Therefore, it is up to electors to choose the “least bad” choice from the four parties who have supported lockdowns- the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens.
There are many Councillors and candidates of those parties, who although in a minority in their parties, do not support the lockdowns and all their associated policies.
The situation is slightly different in Wales, where there are elections for the 60 Members of the Welsh parliament. Electors have two votes. One for the constituency they are in (40 Members), and One for the Regional list of candidates ( 20 Members ). With the constituencies, it is first past the post system for a Member to be elected, and with the regional lists, generally 5% plus is needed to ensue election of a Member/s.
The elections there have other issues such as the very status of having a separate Assembly for Wales. The Abolish the Welsh Assembly party is standing in all 5 regions as well as in 23 constituencies.
It is going to be a far from straightforward election.
The lockdown supporting parties, which include the Greens, will be opposed in all the constituencies and all the regional lists by the lockdown sceptic Reform party. So there will be a definite choice for those who oppose the whole concept of lockdowns.
There are others to choose from such as UKIP, the Freedom Alliance, Propel and some Independents, so the outcome will be interesting, especially as a small number in the mainstream parties are lockdown sceptics too.
In Scotland, the situation is also less straightforward as there are other issues there too, notably the independence issue. Apart from the SNP, there is the new Alba party, amongst others, on the separatist side. On the pro-UK side there is the new All for Unity party as well as the Abolish the Scottish Parliament party.
There are twenty five parties and many independents standing for the Scottish Parliament.
The elector has two votes:
One for their constituency ( of which there are 73 Members elected)
One for the regional list ( of which there are 8 with 7 each, making 56 Members elected).
There are 15 parties standing in the regional lists and generally a party needs 6% of the votes to obtain one seat or more.
The constant conflict between the SNP government and the three main unionist parties may well be what most influences the voters, but it could well be that the hidden element in this election is the lockdowns issue.
On that issue, every single one of the regions has at least one lockdown sceptic party.
The Freedom Alliance and UKIP are standing in them all, with the Reform party in all but one.
The Reclaim party has one regional candidate.
The Scottish Libertarian party and Scottish Family party have lockdown sceptic credentials to consider.
There are 20 smaller parties standing in the Scottish elections plus the five mainstream ones.
There are 25 Independent standing candidates in either constituencies or the regions and some of them are in the lockdowns sceptic category.
As for the constituencies, there are a small number of lockdowns sceptic candidates, but the vast majority of these contests will be a choice between the standard mainstream party choices. With these, some will not have supported their party’s stance on lockdowns, and this may be a factor in obtaining votes.
Hartlepool By- Election
This result could be influenced by lockdowns issues, but with 16 candidates it is a difficult call.
The electors have a choice of three lockdowns sceptics parties, the Freedom Alliance, the Heritage Party and the Reform Party. There are also five Independents and the North East party and some of these have concerns about lockdowns.
However, it may be that the timing of this by-election is not good, as otherwise it could have been a rallying point for the anti-lockdowns cause, with a well overdue national debate on the whole issue.
Many people believe that the issue of lockdowns and restrictions on freedoms should only come about by means of a national UK wide referendum. Certainly what all parts of the UK suffered during over a year of lockdowns has not been subject to any democratic consent.
However, these local elections have started, people have already put postal votes in, and the results will be out at the end of next week !
The important point to remember is that these elections are very important and that voters should exercise their right to vote !
Independent Political Commentator
Founder of the umbrella group, the National Alliance for freedom from lockdowns