By-elections: if you feel locked-out of choice, give Independents like Rosie a chance

Is there a media blackout on Independent candidates in the Parliamentary by-elections on Thursday (July 20, 2023)?

High-profile support: Independent Socialist Rosie Mitchell’s campaign in Somerton and Frome is endorsed by film director Ken Loach.

Many of them would say yes, it seems. Whether deliberately or by accident, the mass media are focusing on the usual Establishment parties – the Tories, Labour, Liberal Democrats and so on.

This is to ignore the rising force in UK politics: the left-wing Independents.

We saw in May that former Labour Party members – who either quit or were excluded by Keir Starmer and his cronies – are winning the hearts, minds and votes of an electorate that is desperate for change.

Thursday’s by-elections mean former-Labour Independents have a chance to take seats in Parliament – if they can bypass the media blackout.

Vox Political is not the force it once was – because there’s censorship of certain political sites on the social media – but let’s do our best to make sure voters know they have a choice.

We start here:

Rosie Mitchell – Independent Socialist candidate for Somerton and Frome

Like many of the new Independents, Rosie is a former member of the Labour Party. She joined in 2016 when Jeremy Corbyn was leader, but she and the party parted company in 2020, after Keir Starmer took over.

Rose has published three videos laying out some of her priorities. Here they are:

Isn’t it pleasant to hear a political candidate actually saying what they want to do?

She has published further details in a micro-manifesto on Facebook which you can read here.

Rosie, a conductor on GWR trains and member of the RMT Union, was raised locally and has lived in Frome since 2015.

She says: “Today’s party politics have left so many of us feeling disenfranchised, politically homeless and without that hope and excitement we had in the past.

“As an independent candidate I’m not hiding where my personal values lie, but I want to be very clear that I won’t be constrained to toe any party line – leaving me free to listen to your concerns, opinions and needs as my prospective constituents.

“Policy-wise we are focussing on the biggest issues of the day; the cost of living crisis and the undermining of public services.

I will be working towards reform and reinvestment in our struggling NHS, fairer housing so people can live here comfortably, better transport links for our communities so people can access employment and essential services and the environment, cleaning up our rivers as a priority.

“I am committed to promoting equality at every level and a fairer, less profit driven system that works for society and for the planet. We do not need to understand every nuance of each other’s identities to have respect, compassion, and kindness towards one another.

“Likewise, our respect for the environment, our countryside and the liveable future of this planet need to be paramount in all decisions we make going forward.”

If you’re in Somerton and Frome and still need convincing, how about this: Rosie’s campaign is endorsed by legendary film director Ken Loach, who met her earlier this month.

He said: “The current crisis needs radical changes. I support Rosie Mitchell. She stands for returning the collapsing NHS to it’s first principles and removing the profiteers from health care; taking back our public utilities like water, to public ownership; an integrated transport system, owned by the people – as a railway worker, Rosie knows what she is talking about; an end to fossil fuels, action not words on climate change; peace and human rights, not slavishly following the USA’s lead.

“Rosie stands with the people she would represent and would fight on their behalf.”

Can any of the candidates from the big political party machines say the same?

Sadly, those big parties do have a lot of machinery to help them cajole voters into supporting them – and Independent candidates like Rosie do not.

Instead, she has been doing something else – actually going out to visit voters and talking with them.

But this won’t be enough. She needs help.

So if you are in Somerton and Frome – or you know somebody who is – how about doing your bit to help democracy by passing on this article and/or details of Rosie and her campaign?

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