The missing candidates of this election

Bit of a rant post, but one I’m truly baffled by.

On the one hand, we have epic battles (like Bourne vs Jordan in the South), and good, vocal candidates on here and online elsewhere.

But yet, on the other hand, we have complete silence from candidates of long-standing and established parties.

Why is that? I get it, real life gets in the way and the pandemic has thrown everyone for a loop. But how can @Cllr s expect us to vote for their party mates if those mates are not active? It does not bode well that we are asking these candidates to represent us for the next 4 years if they cannot be visible…

For example, I’ve heard so much more from Mr Raj (Hampshire Independents) than I have from the Incumbent Mr Irish (Focus and copypasta leaflets do not count), and I’ve only seen the online presence of Mr Raj twice


Interesting, isn’t it?

Me, @Josh_Constable, @mummo are active across Eastleigh. All year round. Always.

Social, leaflets, newsletters, emails, phone calls… we’re all busy. For me it’s about priorities. Some people have more important issues when it isn’t election time. Not @EastleighLabour though.

Brilliant question, I’ve noticed the same!

I think due to the growing disinterest in politics and a few other reasons people aren’t coming forward and getting involved so there are less candidates wanting to stand to represent their area.

Am I the only one that finds it worrying that people don’t want to stand and represent us?

Nothing demonstrates this better than the call for independent candidates, and only a few brave people came forward.

So why aren’t some candidates engaging? My opinion:

  • Lib Dem’s - complacency, they trust their misleading leaflets and online electioneering will sort it as it has done for the last 25 years.
  • other parties paper candidates

I think it might be useful to draw up a list of “paper candidates” who don’t engage, so people know not to bother with them - giving the truly active a better chance.

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It’s definitely frustrating and something I’ve been trying to fix. I’ve been annoying people with ESLHustings and volunteering for Democracy Club for years, and so far this local election actually seems slightly better than usual.

I suspect there are many reasons for stealth candidates, and in fairness a big part of the reason is that to run as a serious candidate is hard work. Even without a pandemic, campaigning has to fit around jobs and all sorts of other commitments- it’s not easy, so hats off to all the @Cllr s who have stood.

If you’re a party with limited resources, it makes sense to focus on places you have the best chance of winning. Realistically, I am only going to hear from candidates in one party this election. Paper candidates are annoying but I would still rather have those options on the ballot paper than not. I’d be even happier to have even more options and truely independent candidates but such is life. (My new pet hate is parties with “Independent” in the name- there was a long list to scroll through adding candidates!)

Also, just because you aren’t hearing from candidates doesn’t mean other people aren’t- parties (should) know who is likely to vote for them and how best to reach them. Again that’s completely understandable but I think can be quite dangerous. How can voters have a proper open debate about issues if they don’t see targeted election material? That’s been a huge problem with online campaigning in my opinion.

I seriously doubt any party or candidate is complacent. The incumbents possibly have more to lose if they get sucked into partisan debates, whereas newcomers probably need as much publicity as possible, which may explain some of the differences.

Anyway that was a slightly rambling neutral guess at why some candidates are harder to find but it is ultimately up to us voters to find out more, and I think this forum has helped. Talking of which…

I haven’t heard anything from him or been able to track down anything concrete to add to Who Can I Vote for, so please give him a nudge to add his details!

Now for the less neutral bit…

Labour are tumbleweed where I live even when it is election time!

I understand that the Lib Dems are not popular in this forum and, collectively, they annoy me as well. There are good candidates, and less good candidates, in all parties.

I would much rather see a more balanced council, and I will keep on dreaming about fewer party candidates! Having said that the Lib Dems often seem like a useful scapegoat for problems which they do not create.

Please vote carefully, and please please do not vote for a Conservative candidate! The Lib Dems and Labour are both misleading in Eastleigh but the lies and corruption at the top of the Conservative party are damaging our democracy and need to stop before it’s too late. The only message which might get through is a bad election result.

And finally, whatever you do, vote!

I think some potential candidates are put off by the agro they might get on social media…

Quite a few people tried to discourage me from standing because of this. You only live once though…

I also agree that an incumbent is less likely to want to be pulled into a hustings or other debate…they are sometimes advised not to for the reasons already mentioned here. Listened into the Hampshire Police and Crime Commissioner debate last night and immediately thought “hmmmm…”

Alexander Culley
Reform UK candidate for Eastleigh North (Hampshire County Council) and Eastleigh Central (Eastleigh Borough Council)

Talking of social media… I really should finish off the social media guidelines and publish them somewhere. Any feedback from @Cllr s before I do?

As for hustings, it’s looking unlikely we’ll manage to organise a virtual hustings for just one ballot in Eastleigh, so it’s not just the candidates’ to blame for going missing.

What’s your ward?

I bet you all the pennies in my pocket as Eastleigh Labour Party we have tried to do something in your ward to help voters. We may not have leafleted but I bet we’ve done something.

It also wasn’t a dig by me - I genuinely mean it. It’s not a priority for some people when it isn’t election time. People have other activities - work, volunteering, family, businesses and all that other good stuff.

Local politics is a tough fight. You stand up for people, then you shout about it and you get hammered for it or the opposition knowingly misleads against a clear narrative. You’re transparent and then you’re criticised, you make a difference and someone else claims it. It is what it is; that’s politics.

Few things I will say…

  • Where’s Lynda Murphy…?
  • Has Paul delivered on GE campaign commitments…?
  • Who are the only party really challenging the Lib Dem’s and EBC in Eastleigh on local issues?

If you want to apply the logic of ‘don’t vote for X’ you have to extend that on similar grounds to other parties and not just the Tories. The only way forward for where we live is to elect local people, who work for the community (regardless of elections), who have clear values and commitment to all people in the community, not just those that elect them.

I won’t go on because it’s getting late :joy:

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Wow James. Just wow. How dare you tell people who to not vote for! I thought you were supposed to be impartial. Extremely disappointed in your words.

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I think previous claims of ‘independence’ James are proven to be pretty hollow.

The mask slips finally. Something I always knew was that James isn’t an ‘independent’ and that post above is outrageous for someone claiming to be independent when he wants a role in facilitating debate in this forum and fabulous website.

However, candidates in my party won’t take part in hustings if they are being run by someone who is now so biased. Someone else should run the hustings and elections assessments on here as he cant be trusted to be independent as he so often claims.


By that, we then may sway the vote a particular way, which may not be good as the platform’s meant to be impartial. Also, if (for example) there’s been a targeted campaign (usually only possible online) and we don’t meet the target, the candidate in question may be a “paper candidate” for us but not from others’ points of view

If people are unhappy with “agro” on social media, then in my opinion they shouldn’t stand. There will be tons of heated discussion between residents and Cllrs, and between Cllrs during Borough Council meetings. Social media has (in a way, especially during COVID times) replaced lengthy tense in-person debates.

If Eastleigh Neighbours is anything to go by, then following this , the majority of LD candidates should be “put off”, but still run

So, in Central (for example), you have 3 of the country’s biggest parties all standing. Yet, of those, only @Josh_Constable have distributed “personalised” campaign material (“personalised”, as of course I too have received Focus leaflets, but the whole of Eastleigh receives the same one). Only other Central candidate I heard from is @ACulley (have received @TParkEastleighN 's HCC Eastleigh North leaflet).

I doubt resources are the problem for those parties. Does that mean that everyone else has given up on Central, and it will be a Wayne Irish seat (not addressing to you specifically, but quoting you)

I’m sure they have, just as I’m sure people from all parties and none have tried to help other people in all wards. I was just commenting on your observation about some people not being active all year. My observation is that my local Labour candidates are not very visible even at election time, which isn’t likely to help their election chances however good they are.

I am not telling people how to vote any more than you or any other candidate is. I assume you would like people to vote for Conservative candidates, just as I am giving my personal opinion why I think they shouldn’t.

I hardly think I have been wearing a mask. I am not a member of any party, but that does not mean I don’t have opinions. There are still people and policies I agree with in the Conservative party, including you sometimes.

I am participating in the debate, not attempting to facilitate it.

Just to clarify, @afdy is running the hustings here, not me.

I run the ESLHustings twitter account, which I take great care to keep completely neutral. I also volunteer with Democracy Club to give voters as much information as possible to base their decision on, which again I take great care to do without bias. I contact all parties to help with that effort, and @LisaCrosher has been very helpful from your local party, so I think your candidate details are in better shape than others.

It’s a real shame that you continually make accusations about me lying, being biased, or not being trustworthy. I gave you a significant benefit of the doubt when you were elected and was optimistic about your potential. I actually still think you have great potential, however you have lost my trust by breaking a pre-election commitment. (I haven’t had a reply to my last email about that either.) As I said above, I genuinely believe your party has an incredibly serious problem at the top and ignoring it won’t make it go away.

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You can’t claim to be constantly independent and then resoundingly plead with people not to vote Conservative

Agree- that’s why i’m hopeful this place can improve on that, and its important we do whatever we can as a community to encourage the open debate here. Open researchable conversation I feel is really missing! I think we all want what’s best for Eastleigh in our own way and we’ve got to work together to achieve that (no matter your party colours).

Fair point on impartial, perhaps it would be best to turn that around into a positive and highlight where candidates have been known to be active (one day). My one pet hate is names on a ballot paper that don’t intend to do anything and are there mainly as a distraction.

I’d prefer this issue of lack of lack of active candidates was brought to the surface and discussed with the aim of inspiring more people to get engaged and do so.

Luckily i’m running them online here for the written ones. When I say me, I came up with the idea but I consider it run by the community- everything is wide open for you and the community to see and inspect or make suggestions for change - zero secrets. You can also post and ask your own question. :slight_smile:. My aim was to improve the local conversation, and give visibility for people to research who they are voting for, and maybe learn a little more about politics along the way. @jtonline has been pushing for a video hustings, which I do think is a great idea, but yes it needs someone non-biased to run them. I think @Melanie_Tellwright would be a great choice and has already said she’d be happy to.

I think this is an unfair comment to make in the thread discussing “Missing candidates”. It may be your personal opinion and that’s ok in my book - however it would be unfair for everyone to start calling out who to vote for on threads which are not asking the question “Who should i vote for?”. The conversations would eventually become non-useful. :slight_smile:

I’d suggest taking up the personal issue you have raised separately with @PaulHolmes88, and for the benefit of new readers, consider modifying your comment here as its not relevant to this thread.


Hi Paul, I have offered to run the hustings. I can assure you that I am completely impartial. I only want what’s best for Eastleigh.
My business is a HR consultancy, so I am well used to mediation and dealing with conflicting views.
My view on politics is: I honestly do not mind who someone votes for, as long as it is educated.
In fact my best friend (who I won’t name but I know you have met with her recently) has opposite views to me on pretty much everything. However I respect her because she has educated herself before aligning herself to a party.
Happy to have a 121 discussion with you if that helps at all.


I can believe that as well. If I get invited to a hustings, I’ll happily back you as MC, Mel.

Not sure the Lib Dem’s will be too keen though. Looks pretty silent so far…

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Thanks Sam. Just to be clear to everyone else though this doesn’t mean I am labour!! I really am impartial. Look forward to hearing from LD and Conservatives soon on this. As well as reform and independent candidates!

Ps claws away re Lib Dem’s! Have been contacted privately and they are in.


Quite happy if you’re chairing!!!


Well I will but only if everyone wants me to Paul