General Election 2015: Louise Irvine (NHA)

Post length: 507 words, about 2 and a half minutes.

Details

Full name: Louise Irvine
Party: National Health Action Party
Website: https://nhaswsurrey.wordpress.com/

Analysis

Louise Irvine is a GP standing in the South West Surrey constituency on behalf of the National Health Action Party. The NHA is a small party fighting on one basic issue: to save the NHS. The NHA are fielding 12 candidates in the 2015 general election and, as South West Surrey is┬áthe current Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s constituency, we have one of them. Presumably the other 11 candidates are contesting other high-profile seats.

I have seen more posters and garden signs for Louise than for any other candidate while out and about (for me that’s Farnham town centre and the roads to the east towards Aldershot). This might be a sign that she’s well supported or could simply indicate that the campaign is very vocal. Campaigners have also been out and about in the town regularly at weekends handing out leaflets and balloons — they are quite noticeable thanks to their white and blue NHA tabards.

The leaflet which dropped through my door, below, is split 50/50 national and local. The first internal page focuses on the party’s national campaigns by claiming to dispel 3 myths about the NHS. The second page covers three local issues — care homes, local democracy and local development and mentions, interestingly, that the NHA has no party whip. This is an interesting point — if this is true then while the candidates have the support of a small national party with one issue at it’s heart, elected members would effectively be independents in the House of Commons. The second internal page also has a statement from the candidate covering how health cuts have impacted the constituency.

It’s notable, however, that there is no mention about where Louise is from herself. The statement of nomination says she lives in London, and a quick search turns up Louise’s Wikipedia page which says she works for a practice in Lewisham. Much like the UKIP candidate it appears that Louise has been dropped into the constituency by the party, but on this occasion I can understand that a single issue party such as the NHA would want to contest the seat held by the government minister responsible for their issue.

Conclusion

I agree that the NHS is a very important issue in the upcoming election and I hope that Louise does well enough to be noticed, but I think it’s a shame that the party could not find someone from within the constituency to contest the seat. I can, however, understand why Louise, a strong campaigner, would want to fight for Hunt’s seat. The party she is standing for is effectively a party of protest and I don’t imagine she has much chance of winning in such a safe Conservative seat as South West Surrey, but it will be interesting to see how well supported she is. Additionally I suspect the party will consider it a victory if they manage to get some national media coverage for their issue on election night.

Posted on Friday 24th April, 2015 at 8:51 am in Obiter dicta.
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