Monday, 25 May 2009

Successful launch of Animals Count's manifesto

Unlike most political parties that launch their manifesto in boring conference halls, Animals Count demonstrated yet again to be different. We launched our manifesto outdoors, at the Kings Oak, High Beach, Loughton, Essex, on Sunday 24th May, where we were greeted by many dog owners who were keen to receive a free general veterinary check up of their dog.

Animals Count President and veterinarian, Andrew Knight provided free dog consultations. The response was very positive, with many people saying they would vote for us. One person even thought Andrew was an animal healer because one dog almost fell asleep during examination :) We were blessed with perfect weather and the atmosphere was very relaxed.

We are confident that we will receive many votes; not just because Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats are selfish, greedy and incompetent when it comes to the economy and running the country, but also because more and more people recognise that these parties will never make the required changes necessary to protect animals. Our manifesto contains the most comprehensive set of policies on animal issues of any party contesting the EU elections.

4th June EU elections. Bring 'em on!

Saturday, 16 May 2009

Political campaigning fairer in the Netherlands

When I was a candidate for the Dutch Party for the Animals in the 2004 EU elections in the Netherlands, the campaign consisted of handing out leaflets on the street and putting up posters on billboards in every city, town and village across the country. Every political party is allocated one spot on the billboard, and this helps voters become aware of which parties and candidates are contesting the elections.

The other main outreach method was the media; we had articles in regional newspapers, we were on the radio and regional/national TV. The support of about 10 celebrities (actors, authors, artists, TV presenters, etc.) on our party list ('list-pushers') attracted a lot of media and public attention. And we participated in debates across the country. I spoke at a highschool and my former agricultural college, and participated in a 2h popular national radio show. The lead candidate, Marianne Thieme, participated in a large number of debates, talkshows and interviews. We received over 153,000 votes, which was just short of a seat in the European Parliament.

Except for the leaflets, none of the tactics are used in the UK during election periods. As far as I understand there is an 'interview' ban in the media, although some MEPs or candidate MEPs do feature in newspapers or TV, so the rules are not clear. The only means of outreach here seem to be the old-fashioned leaflet and the modern way of using the internet. But to reach every household in a region, a party requires more than £30,000 to print leaflets. Smaller parties are usually not able to raise these funds. Hence, more-established parties will already be at an advantage and it doesn't seem to be in their interest to change the campaigning rules.

Let's hope people will see that many politicians are into politics to progress their own career and to enrich themselves, while Animals Count will be defending the overwhelming majority in society who need our support most; the animals. Vote for Animals Count on 4th June in the Eastern region!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Politics with intrinsic integrity

Where will you find a political party with intrinsic integrity? All of the elected parties have recently been exposed in unacceptable MP expense claims, caught by the Electoral Commission for fraudulent donations, involved in (online) smear campaigns, etc. Yet, why are we surprised?

Many politicians are in the business of politics because it's their career. Not because they particularly care strongly about certain issues. The frequent re-shuffling in ministerial and secretarial posts is a good example of lack of true dedication to the field the politicians work in.

Animals Count is different. Animals Count is a political party for people and animals, and for the first time in history a UK party for animals will be contesting the EU elections on 4th June in the Eastern region. We are not in politics because we want to be the ruling party in government, but we intend to shake up the system and raise the bar for animals across the political spectrum.

Animal issues are dear to millions of voters yet remain poorly represented by almost all politicians, and they generally feature at the bottom of the political agenda. We are not interested in self-enhancement or short-term policies that respond to the whim of the day; we stand up for the weakest beings in society; the animals. And we propose policies that benefit animals, the planet and people on a long-term basis.

Animals Count is a breath of fresh air; literally, because we propose to rapidly reduce the polluting animal agriculture industry both on animal welfare and environmental grounds. We need a reduction of 50% in European meat production and consumption either by everyone eating half as much meat, or 50% of people eating no meat, or somewhere in between, in order to achieve a real reduction in CO2 and other global warming gases, such as methane and nitrous oxide. Without such measures, global warming will become irreversible. None of the other political parties do what needs to be done.

Animals Count stands out in another way. It is interesting to note that none of the 13 other parties (and one independent candidate) in the Eastern region chose to have a woman lead their electoral list. The Eastern region has been betrayed by some MEPs, one of whom has been arrested for fraud. Animals Count will set things right for animals, people and the environment.