Traditionally single issue candidates have been able
to muster some support but have rarely been able to break through into a more
The two obvious examples of winners from recent times are
Dr Richard Taylor Wyre Forest Independent Kidderminster Health Care Concern
Martin Bell Tatton White Suit Independent
What is often forgotten about these candidates is that in the case of Wyre
Forest the lib dems stood down in favour of Taylor and in Tatton both the other
major parties stood down, this lent a lot of extra weight to both these
The strength of the single issue candidate is that they often chime in with
people's concerns over a specific local / national problem. Often they are
candidates closely associated with the issue in some way (for example Reg Keys
and rose gentle) which makes them more easily recognisable and people are
clearer about who they are and why they are standing.
This strength is also its drawback because people can see the single issue
candidate as having nothing to say on the other issues. what did martin bell
have to say about renewable energy? Richard Taylor about asylum seekers? and it
can be difficult to overcome the impression of being a one trick pony.
Sometimes the candidate may only be standing on one issue but it resonates with
the wider issues. Martin Bell formerly was a "I hate Neil Hamilton" candidate it
was far more resonant of the general feeling that the Tories were corrupt,
sleazy, and unprincipled as a government and people wanted a change from that.
This means that candidates like Reg Keys and Craig Murray need to capitalise on
the impact their high profile candidature makes but also use the issue of the
war to connect with people's feelings on how trustworthy Blair is - and
Uzbekistan with the idea of an ethical foreign policy and the feeling that jack
straw is a sidelined and ineffective foreign secretary.
More usually single issue candidates have an impact on highlighting an issue and
possibly influencing policy without actually coming close to getting elected. At
this election there are a number of legalise cannabis candidates for example.
None of these candidates are likely to even get their deposit back, but they do
generate general talk among the population and highlight the campaign for more
liberal drug laws.
Even the Greens were once seen as a single issue party and with relentless
plugging away have ensured (with other green campaigners of course) that
environmental issues are now part of main stream politics with every party
touting its green credentials (or trying to). Electorally this could have been a
disaster for the Greens, undercutting the need for their organisation but the
Greens successfully pulled themselves out of their image of a one issue
organisation and have remodelled themselves as a broader progressive party - and
because the parties now all recognise the environment as an issue (whether they
do anything about this or not) they have legitimised the Greens as a party who
talk about real problems.
On the right UKIP are a single issue group who have been able to muster quite
impressive support considering they are going for the core vote of the Tory
party. Ironically it is the Euro elections where they are strongest partly
because of the electoral system, but most importantly because voters see the EU
as UKIP's issue and might not see the relevance in voting for them for any other
body. This is ironic because UKIP MEPs are pointless - it is only in the house
of commons that they might be able to make a difference on this issue.
The new party Veritas is going for a sub group of the UKIP subgroup and are very
unlikely to do well. This is mainly because no one has any idea of what they
stand for apart from the identical issues that UKIP stand for, only more grumpy.
For a single issue party to do well it must have a clear focus and simply having
an ex-Tv presenter as leader is unlikely to make much difference, after all UKIP
have Rusty Lee.
Socialist Unity ~ For Internationalism ~ For Peace ~ For Justice ~ For Unity ~