Every year when we submit our accounts to the Electoral Commission we are also required to provide a ‘Review of Political Activities’ covering the year just gone.
The 2009 Review has recently been forwarded to the Commission and here is what it says:
During 2009, thoughts again turned towards preparations for the forthcoming General Election. The Wessex Regionalists did not contest the European election in June – for which Wessex is sawn in two by regional constituency boundaries and then the pieces lumped in with other areas – but were pleased to see from the results that the unquestioned dominance of the three larger parties is on the wane. In Cornwall, Mebyon Kernow polled very well and in November two WR members attended the MK AGM and picked up tips on how they did it.
A general disillusionment with politics arising from the abuse of Parliamentary expenses has created a rare opportunity for smaller parties to gain a sympathetic ear. Nevertheless, we remain concerned that the media – particularly the broadcast media – fail to provide the balanced information about the contesting parties that legal equality on the ballot paper ought to suggest.
We continued to monitor dissatisfaction with Labour’s plans to impose over half a million new homes on Wessex, principally to accommodate London overspill. These homes are not wanted in Wessex and do not address our region’s housing needs. Our executive meeting in February was addressed by the Chair of the Shortwood Green Belt Campaign, one of a network of local residents’ groups opposing tens of thousands of homes planned for Green Belt land around Bristol. We are pleased to see that all these plans are now mired in doubt following a successful legal challenge to the Government’s approach.
Letters to the press continued, including an attack on the South West RDA for its abuse of the former Morlands factory at Glastonbury, occupied in January by local people opposed to unimaginative plans that treated their views with contempt. However, a bigger effort this year went into upgrading our presence in cyberspace, where we are able to present our case unfiltered. In the course of the year we launched our new web domain – http://www.wessexregionalists.org – and a WR page on Facebook. By the end of the year the website had attracted over 1,000 hits. Additions to the WR blog – http://wessexregionalists.blogspot.com – have continued to be made (a 50% increase this year over last), as well as an opening contribution to a new blog, http://regionalist.blogspot.com, which promotes the regionalist political philosophy.
The Party returned to the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival in July 2009, providing a busy stall on both Saturday and Sunday. The Festival was the first outing for our new recruitment leaflet, ‘Who Cares About You?’ We also took the opportunity while there to publicise other causes that we back, such as the campaign to re-open the Somerset & Dorset Railway, and to raise awareness of Wessex history and culture. The Government’s supporters at the Festival begged the electorate to vote negatively against the Conservatives, however disappointed with Labour. It was a poor defence of a dozen wasted years.