We are standing as a group of Independent Candidates in the UK General Election on the 12th December 2019 for the 4 constituencies of Blackpool South, Blackpool North + Cleveleys, Fylde and Wyre + North Preston.
For the purposes of this General Election these 4 INDEPENDENT Candidates shall be known as the Blackpool, Fylde + Wyre Independents.
Rather than being an ‘official’ party such as The Conservative Party, The Labour Party, The Liberal Party, The Brexit Party or The Green Party (sometimes referred to as the Big 5) the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Independents is a DIY association of like-minded individuals who are financing their own campaigns and acting as their own agents.
People standing as candidates for the Big 5 (Conservative, Labour, Liberal, Brexit or Green) enjoy many benefits of being part of an established party machine.
For instance candidates of the Big 5 (unlike BF+W Independents) will not need to finance their own £500 deposits nor design, pay and distribute all their leaflets, posters and social media campaigns – these are all done for them.
Normally the Big 5 will parachute in candidates from outside of the constituencies in which they are standing based on their perceived ability to be successful. As the election budgets of the Big 5 ALL run into millions and millions of pounds despite the attempts of the Electoral Commission to provide a level playing field for all, together the Big 5 can ensure they dominate the airwaves, the media and the debate.
Although life during election time is far easier for Big 5 candidates, they have all these advantages at a cost. By being part of a centralised machine these candidates have to tow their own party line and will be severely rebuked by their handlers if they deviate from official policy.
Many of the candidates of the Big 5 have been jostling within their own party machines for years for the honour of standing as a prospective Parliamentary MP in a General Election. As a result sadly most candidates of the Big 5 are willing to sacrifice any independent or critical thinking which might contradict their party for their piece of limelight.
As part of this surrender most Big 5 candidates will also have had to wipe their personal social media – in an attempt to deny they had a past and to signify conformity to the belief system of their party machine.
We Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Independents might not have the money or the media coverage of the Big-5 but we do retain our INDEPENDENCE and do not have to deliver slogans from a centralised party manifesto.
As this General Election campaign unfolds the 4 Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Independents will answer questions on ‘difficult’ or ‘awkward’ national or local issues in an open, honest and transparent way.
The Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Independents represents a combined campaign across the four constituencies of Blackpool South, Blackpool North, Fylde and Wyre + North Preston.
We will appear on the ballot papers on December 12th as
Gary Coleman INDEPENDENT (Blackpool South)
Andy Higgins INDEPENDENT (Fylde)
Neil Holden INDEPENDENT (Blackpool North and Cleveleys)
David Ragozzino INDEPENDENT (Wyre and Preston North)
A vote for one of us is a vote for all of us !
The Four Candidates …
Gary Coleman is standing in the constituency of Blackpool South which is a marginal Labour seat held currently held by Gordon Marsden since the Blair landslide in 1997. Gordon Marsden won 50.3% of the vote in 2017 with a 2,523 vote margin over The Conservative Party who won 43.1% of the total 34,953 votes cast. In 2017 Gordon enjoyed an 8.5% swing and is the fourth MP and the only Labour MP to occupy this seat since World War 2, his predecessors being the Conservative MP’s Roland Robinson (1945) Sir Peter Blaker (1964) and Nick Hawkins (1992).
Of the four seats being contested by the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Independent Alliance for two reasons Blackpool South is arguably the most interesting. Firstly it is not a ‘rotten borough’ having being served by MP’s from not just one party and secondly is a constituency in which the Brexit Party are standing a candidate. You may already know Gary Coleman as he was the Mayor of Blackpool and is currently an elected councillor for the Brunswick Ward of Blackpool South . Gary’s wife Debra is also an elected councillor for the Marton Ward of Blackpool South and unlike Gordon Marsden they live with their family in Blackpool South.
Originally from the Midlands Gary met Debra at a Blackpool FC game and they have been supporters of the club for over 30 years. Like many decent Blackpool people they supported the NAPM boycott, attended protests organised by Blackpool Supporters Trust, the Tangerine Knights and the Muckers Supporters Group and did not re-enter Bloomfield Road until the despised Oyston Family were finally forced to leave the club.
Andy Higgins is standing in the constituency of Fylde which is a strong Conservative seat held currently held by Ayrshire born and privately educated Mark Menzies. Mark is certainly a colourful individual and has been in various positions since 2010. Mark won 58.7% of the vote in 2017 with a whopping 11,805 vote margin over The Labour Party who took 33.3% of the total 46,594 votes cast. In 2017 Mark suffered a 2.5% swing and is the third Conservative MP to occupy this seat since World War 2, his predecessors being the Conservative MP’s Sir Edward Gardner (1983) and Michael Jack (1987).
Andy has lived in Fylde for over 20 years, runs a small local business. He and his family grew up in Blackpool and both he and his sons he were educated at St. Mary’s R.C. High School (previously St Joseph’s College). He has degrees in economics, politics and IR from Manchester and Lancaster Universities and also a PHD in politics and music. Although 54 he is still a keen sportsman having in younger years represented Blackpool at athletics and football. A self taught musician Andy has run a small DIY record label for over 25 years, plays many gigs and chronicles the underground music scene of Blackpool and the Fylde Coast.
Neil Holden is standing in the constituency of Blackpool North and Cleveleys a Conservative seat held currently by Crewe born, career politician Paul Maynard. Coming second as the Conservative candidate for Twickenham in the 2005 General Election he was parachuted in from the Conservative Party ‘A List’ and has served Blackpool North since 2010.
Paul won 44.4% of the vote in 2017 with a 3,340 vote margin over The Labour Party who took 36% of the total 39,393 votes cast representing a + 1.6% swing. Subject to boundary changes Paul is the third post-war Conservative MP to occupy the old seat of Blackpool North , his predecessors being Sir Toby Low (1945) Norman Miscampbell (1962 – by election) and Harold Elletson (1962).
David Ragozzino is standing in the constituency of Wyre and Preston North a strong Conservative seat held currently held by the Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace. Born in Farnborough, Kent and privately educated in Somerset Ben was a Conservative member of the Scottish Parliament as a list MSP for North East Scotland in 1999 and won the old constituency of Lancaster and Wyre in the 2005 general election with 22,266 votes with a majority of 4,171 (8.0%). In 2017 Ben retained Wyre and Preston North with 58.3% of the vote with a large 12,246 vote margin and +2.2% swing over The Labour Party who took 35% of the total 52,646 votes cast .
Why we are different ……
Politics in the UK is simply not working, Some commentators blame it on the Brexit saga, some on awkward parliamentary arithmetic and some on the disconnect between our elected representatives and the people. Whatever the cause(s) politicians from all of the main parties seem incapable of sorting out the problems we face and do not address the serious issues that affect our lives.
All 4 members of the Blackpool, Fylde and Wyre Independent Alliance love Blackpool, its surrounding area and are rightly proud of its people, but we are not blind to its problems. In the areas of health, inequality and poor economic development Labour and Conservative administrations have shown no sign that they have any effective plans to tackle these problems.
Locally in Blackpool South with three successive Labour and nine years under Simon Blackburn’s leadership, Blackpool council’s record is unimpressive. A House of Lords report said that its young people were being “let down and left behind”. A few streets in from the promenade and these problems are obvious. Far more effort should go into dealing with local issues that affect the majority of our town that holidaymakers never see.
As the local football club Blackpool FC is the glue that brought parts of this alliance together the actions of the elected representatives during the local civil war with The Oyston family should not be forgotten. A source of civic pride quickly became a national embarrassment and members of the local community suffered through legal action.
Rather than take a principled and moral lead Simon Blackburn’s ruling Labour Group were conspicuous by their absence. Their subservience to powerful interests whilst the local people were victimized by the same powerful interests, is a shameful episode in the town’s history.
We offered leadership, we protested on behalf of the community, we went to court and some of us were even bankrupted and received custodial sentences. Many today stand proud of the community’s efforts and are rightly ashamed at the Council’s inaction.
The people of Blackpool are principled, resilient and determined but your local leaders are not. The local community is suffering and we need a new approach based on love, care and compassion.
Nobody should ever doubt our passion for this town. Local people are used to struggling hard for justice and we deserve representatives who will fight for their interests.