CHESTERFIELD (1st March 1984)

Sid Shaw ~ The Campaign

 

I would like to thank Sid Shaw for providing all the material used in this section. 

The text in blue is taken directly from correspondence with Sid and gives us a candidates view of an election campaign.

Getting Nominated

As a first-time candidate Sid had a lot to learn about the world of politics. The first thing is to get your nomination papers in on time and pay the deposit. You need ten signatures from people who are on the local electoral register and your deposit in cash. That was problem one for Sid because he wanted to pay his deposit with an Elvis cheque and the returning officer would not accept it.    


Getting some expert help

                                                                                                                                                                       

Having cleared the first hurdle, Sid decided to seek some advise from an expert on the subject of election campaigns. He teamed up with Screaming Lord Sutch of the Monster Raving Loony Party and they spent the next few weeks trying to find some voters. This was not as easy as it might seem, as the streets of Chesterfield were rather crowded with 17 candidates and their campaign workers, not to mention the hundreds of TV crews and reporters who were covering every aspect of the by-election. 

 
" Just to campaign with Sutch for several weeks was an amazing experience. We were invited daily by the competing candidates to their headquarters for tea (Tories), coffee (Liberal Democrats), beer (Labour) and even Tony Benn signed my manifesto, which was much more left wing than his own or the Labour Party. "

 


Getting Your Message Heard

 

PRESS CONFERENCE

IN A

FISH & CHIP SHOP

It was time to attract some attention from the media, so the two candidates of THE NEW ALLIANCE sent out invitations to a joint press conference. This was to be no ordinary press conference in some smoke filled room with a few tables and chairs. This press conference would be the world's first press conference to be held in a chip shop. 

Reporters were asked to bring along their own knife and fork as the two candidates went fishing for votes.

 

" Since the media are alcoholics we were going to offer FREE beer at our first Press Conference until our plans were overheard in a hotel bar by a man who said we couldn't offer free beer. When questioned who he was he told us he was the Election Returning Officer for Chesterfield and it was a criminal offence to entice the media with alcohol for an Election...so we charged a penny a pint ! The next Press Conference  was promoted as the "World's First Press Conference in a Fish and Chips Shop" and so it went on day after day. "

Sid announced that there would be a ban on the sale of all fish, with the exception of rock. And, of course, his party would make sure they had plenty of sole. 

Campaign Literature

" The Election was a real eye-opener about British people and I found many to be scroungers. I gave out 2,000 stickers, 700 posters, 500 badges and each one of these "bastards" said they would vote for me. But when you came to the actual election the Party name was not prominent just the personal name and no one had ever heard of "Sid Shaw". I should have changed my name to Elvis Presley! "

 


The Victory Party

 

The campaign was over and it was time to count the votes. The New alliance candidates sent out invitations to their joint "Victory Party" and just in case the official result didn't go their way they decided to issue their own figures as the polls closed. 


The Legal Stuff

The campaign might be over but the candidates (or their agents if they have one) still have to deal with the paper work that is required by election law.

Here, you can see a copy of the notification of election expenses sent to the returning officer by Sid. All candidates have to provide such information and there is supposed to be a strict limit on the amount each candidate is allowed to spend. However, there do seem to be ways around this problem if you are a candidate for one of the large political parties. 1