When the candidates for the City Council elections were announced on 25 April I started to look for their personal statements. Who exactly are these people who want our votes? Some of them are well-known: existing Councillors, habitual candidates – others are new to the scene and unknown.
I looked at all the parties’ websites. Labour had a near-complete set of personal statements. The others, nothing. The Greens have something for their existing Councillors, but the statements date back to the 2012 elections and haven’t been updated. Nothing on their new candidates. I searched for and found a very few personal websites for the candidates. Some have twitter accounts where their bios are more or less informative. I didn’t find any facebook pages with anything useful, though as a non-user of facebook I may have missed something.
I contacted all the parties’ local offices asking them for the information I wanted. The Conservatives and UKIP promised me something within a few days and were as good as their word. The Conservative website now has a complete set for all their candidates. UKIP emailed me details of all their candidates. The Greens have said they have prepared statements but can’t let me have them yet. The Oxford LibDems don’t seem to have a central contact point on their website. Local Councillors I know personally have sent me information but the set is not complete.
I’m astonished that the parties seemed so unprepared. I expected they would have all this ready to launch right at the start of the campaign. I imagined they would be putting their candidates’ details on their leaflets and flyers, and would have written them weeks ago. It’s as if they don’t think people will want to know anything about the candidates, that they will just vote for the party. I can see that this is more likely in a General Election, but locally I believe the person counts for a lot.
Anyway, here’s everything I have been able to put together by now, ward by ward (one page for each). The statements are the candidates’ own words (or their agents’). I have only edited out direct political point-scoring which has nothing to do with a candidate’s own qualities and beliefs. For a one-page list of the candidates and their twitter accounts see this page.
Personal statements ward by ward.