Campaigns

Recruiting members
The Internet
Winning votes
Local elections
General elections
Assembly elections
European Parliament elections

Recruiting members

We are a political party not a pressure group, think tank or a debating society, so our first priority is recruiting as many members as possible - whether this is by handing out leaflets, word of mouth, on the internet, by organising events is up to you. We need members to stand and one day win at elections. Elections cost money, so that means fund raising, even if that's only members' subscriptions. And having more members will help us get media coverage. If you write to a newspaper, feel free to sign off with 'Young People's Party' if the subject matter is relevant.

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The Internet

Please add our blog to you blogroll, and feel free to use our 'YPP' badge (see sidebar) as your avatar on Facebook and Twitter. Our Facebook group is here and our Twitter account is @YPPUK, hashtag #YPP.

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Winning votes

To win votes at elections, we need members to stand at local and national elections - you don't get votes if you're not on the ballot paper. With a bit of luck, we'll pick up votes from the undecideds who have never heard of us before but see our name and logo on the ballot paper. Of course it will be years before there are any YPP local councillors and decades before there are any YPP MPs, but we have to start somewhere; and even if we are not winning seats, we are at least making our presence felt.

And it may sound trite, but make sure that you are registered to vote where you live i.e. where it's convenient for you to vote. You don't have to registered to vote in an area where you stand as a Parliamentary candidate, but it's one of the qualifications for standing at local/council elections.

Just to demystify the whole process...

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Local elections

Standing at local council elections (town, parish, district, unitary or county) is actually free - you do not need to pay a deposit. The rules are slightly different for different elections, but in general, all you need to do is fill in a few irritating forms; get permission from our Nominating Officer to use the YPP name and logo; and get your nomination papers signed by ten people living and eligible to vote in the ward. To make things more difficult, you have to enter each person's electoral roll number on the form, but you can obtain the full list on CD from the council if you ask early enough.

Getting your name and our name on the ballot paper is two-thirds of the battle. If you have £50 to spare, then you can have leaflets printed (they are surprisingly cheap). If you don't have the time and energy (or friends) to help you deliver them, there are businesses who deliver leaflets for 1p or 2p per address, which adds no more than another £50 to the cost of the exercise. Don't forget to fill in your expenses return and submit it to the council afterwards, even if it is a nil return.

Each local council has its own electoral cycle. In most areas in most years there will be an election to something or other. You just have to start paying attention to the local council website in February and March to see what's up for grabs.

The DCLG have a good summary of the system here, they explain the electoral cycle here. There are about 20,000 local councillors at all levels in the UK, so to put up a full slate of candidates at every election about 6,000 members would have to stand.

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General Elections

Standing at General Elections is much the same in terms of paperwork and faff. The big difference is that candidates have to pay a £500 deposit which they only get back if they get more than 5% of the votes cast, and of course there's an expenses/donations form to fill in afterwards. That's the bad news.

The good news is that at General Elections, the Royal Mail will deliver your leaflets for free to each household in the constituency, so if you can also scrape together £500 - £750 to have enough leaflets printed, the deposit is actually good value for money (it works out at about 1p per leaflet delivered).

The total cost of a bare minimum General Election campaign with a full slate of candidates and a leaflet for every household is at least £900,000; there's no upper limit, but spending much more than £1 million is probably a waste of money.

When will the next General Election be held? Your guess is as good as ours, see below.

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Assembly elections

The same sort of rules apply at elections to the devolved assemblies in Scotland and Wales, which are both due to be held in 2015 and the London Assembly/Mayoral elections due to be held in 2016, so it's far too early to start planning for those.

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European Parliament Elections

The European Parliament is a pointless and expensive rubber-stamp body of no particular interest to us... but MEPs are elected by a form of proportional representation (multi-member constituencies with votes allocated using the d'Hondt system, if you're interested), so smaller parties have much better chances of winning seats. Out of 72 UK MEPs, only 37 are Conservative or Labour and the smaller national parties (UKIP, Greens, BNP) won 20 MEP seats between them (one UKIP MEP promptly defected to the Conservatives).

The deposit to put up candidate is £5,000 per region, and there are eleven regions in England, Wales and Scotland. It might be well worth paying the deposits just to get our name on the ballot paper, even if we do no more than that. Paying the deposit also entitles parties to free leaflet delivery to each household in the region, which works out at 0.2p per leaflet (if we can afford to have millions of leaflets printed).

The total cost of a bare minimum European Parliament election campaign with a full slate of candidates and a leaflet for every household is at least £600,000; there's no upper limit, but spending much more than £700,000 or so is probably a waste of money.

The next European Parliament elections are due to be held in 2014, and it has not happened for thirty years that a UK General Election was held in the same year as an EU Parliament Election (which suggests that the next General Election will be in 2013 or 2015).

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