I feel I cannot let Richard Barker’s letter (Horncastle News, May 7) pass without comment.
I fully agree with Mr Barker’s issue with parking in Horncastle. As I stated on my leaflet the parking situation is chaotic, and the increases in charges by ELDC have now reached the level where they have become a big disincentive both to visitors to the town and to locals who simply want to shop.
Like Mr Barker, I have also called for the first hour (at least) to be free in all car parks. The free period in the Wong car park is a joke: being the furthest car park from the town centre it is little used.
Mr Barker said “we want people who are their own person...” Unlike the other parties, UKIP has no party whip at local level. All UKIP councillors are free to vote on every issue in line with their own feelings and in the best interests of the people they represent.
Mr Barker also commented on the “lack of visibility and engagement” of the candidates, and that we must “be prepared to spend time and effort ... delivering leaflets to ALL households”. I can’t speak for the other two candidates, but I didn’t have a large team to help me, and to walk round some 3,000 houses just to deliver leaflets to each one in the time allowed is a tall order. Knocking on every door and talking to everyone would have been an impossible task.
That said, I did do some door-to-door canvassing, for some of which I was accompanied by Roger Helmer MEP. I also made a point of speaking to everyone I saw as I delivered leaflets.
As for campaigning in the Market Square, I did try – twice – on market days, but there were so few people there I felt my time was better served elsewhere. I actually had more success talking to people in the Bain car park next to Tesco.
I really don’t think driving around with a public address system would have made a significant difference. In fact, some people find it off-putting. I did, however, fly UKIP flags and have “Vote UKIP” signs on my car during the whole campaign.
The comment that we candidates should have gone round letting people know there was an election presupposes that we were aware polling cards had not gone out to a large part of the town. It is not the responsibility of the candidates to notify the public that there IS an election.
A public debate may have been a good idea, and I would have accepted had one of the other candidates called for one. However, I have been to these in the past and they are not usually well attended. The majority of the audience seemed to be made up of the candidates’ families and friends. Not a big opportunity to swing votes there for anyone.
Finally, as Mr Barker says, the good news is we can all have another go next May – and I intend to.