Election Website launch: Find out all about your local council candidates (Update 2)

Find out more about the people who are looking to represent you on the Isle of Wight council for the next four years. Read on our new election site what they have to say about themselves and how they answer four topical questions.

election site

We at OnTheWight have long put our energy into trying to help Islanders understand all they can about the people that seek to represent them, be that at a local Isle of Wight level, or nationally.

Our latest effort is – election2017.onthewight.com – it lists every ward for the upcoming 2017 council election and there you’ll find details of every candidate standing; a map showing you the boundaries of the wards and even a link to the OS map of the Wards, so you can examine the boundary in minute detail.

The candidates
Each of the candidates links take you to a page dedicated to that candidate. We’ve made attempts through the group leaders to contact them all so they can engage with the public to let you find out more about them.

On the candidate page you’ll find a photo of them, and a section of text where they’ve had total freedom to tell you about themselves.

They also have an option to answer the follow four simple questions that have resonance across the Isle of Wight:

  1. Please list your top three priorities for a) The ward you seek to represent, b) The Isle of Wight as a whole.
  2. Young people (up to the age of 25) are the future of the Island. What has to change to improve their future?
  3. What should be done to improve and protect healthcare on the Island?
  4. Why should the people of this area vote for you? What do you bring that the other candidates don’t?

Huge effort
You’ll see below a broad set of ‘Thank yous’ that have made it possible for you as Isle of Wight residents to have access to all of this information about the people seeking to be elected.

Your friendly OnTheWight team have put in over 80 hours to get the system in the shape that you see before you. That’s equivalent to two full working weeks. It’s far more than we expected to do, but our philosophy is, if we commit to a project, we’ll see it through to the end to the best of our ability.

Unsurprisingly it’s taken us away from the many other things that we have to do in a week – like raising income.

If you’d like to support the effort to bring you this democratic tool, we’d be delighted if you wanted to donate something towards it.

Thank you!
We want to send out a big ‘Thank you!’ to a fellow news publication in Wrexham, the wonderful Wrexham.com and to Adam Davies at MyDesign Wrexham for donating huge amounts of time to the project.

When we were deciding how we were going to ramp up our election coverage this time, we created a dream wishlist of everything that we’d like to provide the Isle of Wight.

Calling around to fellow news publishers across the country we found that what Wrexham were doing closely matched our desires.

They’ve been amazingly generous with the system and their time in helping ours get set up.

Home-grown help
Locally we’ve also had some great help. A big thank you to Garth for his impressively fast responses and skill in getting the server setup and code changes made. A big thanks also to Simon Cooke who flexed his CSS muscle, when the rest of us were left scratching our heads.

Thanks must also be paid to the candidates too who have taken the effort to fill out their profiles and answer the individual questions. It shows a level of commitment to the democratic process and gives an indication of the work that they’re prepared to put into representing you.

Without the effort of these people the system as you see it wouldn’t have been possible.

Zero engagement from Conservatives
We have been diligent in ensuring that all groups and independent candidates have had equal access to the system.

For a reason that has yet to be explained, none of the Conservative councillors have taken up the opportunity to engage with their voters that we extended to all group leaders. This is despite multiple emails and phone calls to Cllr Dave Stewart.

Strangely, we did receive a phone call from the IWCA yesterday asking why they had been left out. We explained how many times we’d tried to contact Cllr Stewart and forwarded them the emails that we’d previously sent Cllr Stewart. Since then we’ve heard nothing.

Frankly we’re at a loss as to why none of the Conservative councillors would want to freely engage with the people that might elect them. It’s hard to see it as anything but a contempt for those whose votes they are seeking to gain.

Update 13:22 Friday 21st April
Since publishing this article OnTheWight has had a number of Conservative councillors get in contact telling us they knew nothing about the opportunity to put their profiles on the site. We’ve pointed out the many attempts we made to gain their email addresses through their group leader, Cllr Dave Stewart and have referred them to Cllr Stewart.

Of those that have been in touch, we’ve been delighted to send invitations to and will of course continue to do this for all candidates to want to send us their email address (each has a separate login code sequence).

Trivia fans might like to know that Bob Seely was the first (last night) to add his photo and bio. Matthew Price was the first to complete his full profile, making the Newport North the first ward to have a full set of candidate profiles.

Update 10.05am Friday 21st April
Five days later, Cllr Stewart finally responded to our emails and messages, stating,

“This offer will be discussed at our next campaign meeting and I will come back to you once we have taken a view on this matter.”

Head over to election2017.onthewight.com to find out more about your candidates.

Image: NASA

Thursday, 20th April, 2017 6:43pm

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Filed under: Election, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Politics, Top story

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

40 Comments

  1. East Cowes


    20.Apr.2017 6:56pm

    Looks fabulous! A wonderful way for islanders to engage directly with politicians and for politicians to make their cases to the people as well!

  2. Philip Hawkins


    20.Apr.2017 8:22pm

    What appears to be missing is where the candidates actually live – would it be possible to link back to the previous piece that had that info?

    Apart from that it is stunning – all we need now are a “few” more inputs (like most of them where I live!).

    They are probably all working hard on their leaflets?

  3. Thank you On the Wight for a fabulous effort in getting this information up together. I can only presume that the Conservatives have not engaged as we may hold them to account if they put things in writing!

  4. electrickery


    20.Apr.2017 10:38pm

    Tories not bothering to take part? Are they all washing their hair or is it just the same old arrogance?

    PH: If a candidate stands in his own ward he risks being excluded from some activity including votes because of “pre-determination”. So many stand in a neighbouring ward where thay can still be in touch but can also contribute as their constituents expect.

    Well done to OTW!

  5. The Sandman


    21.Apr.2017 6:28am

    Well done OneTheWight, this is really good initiative. Lets hope some more candidates fill it out. Is it going to be pinned at the top for the next few weeks, so that it is not lost down the news thread?

  6. Andrew Smith


    21.Apr.2017 8:09am

    Very interesting reading, thank you OTW!

    Interesting to see that you haven’t heard anything back from the ‘Undeclared’ Cllr Jordan, is he undeclared due to last years happenings?

    • Andrew Smith


      21.Apr.2017 8:14am

      Also very interesting that some Cllrs are running as independents even though they have in recent history been aligned to a party, having lived in Shanklin North/Lake South for the last 5 years I know for a fact that Mr Whittaker does not have ‘independent’ views

    • AS:

      I received the link to log in only yesterday, around midday, whilst out delivering leaflets.
      I have been working on the document this morning but yet to finish it.

      The undeclared came about because I (along with some others) completely misunderstood what the box on the nomination paper form meant by “description” in no more than six words.

      My understanding is that Independent will be marked on the ballot paper, however.

  7. wightgeek


    21.Apr.2017 1:56pm

    Not surprised at the local Tories being evasive and aloof, given how their national leader is too frit to debate with the other party leaders. All very poor for democracy.

    I’m also concerned that their candidate for Ryde South, Charles Chapman is making no reference whatsoever to being the Conservative candidate in his campaign literature. Even the imprint had him promoting himself, all which gives the impression he is still ‘independent’.

    • electrickery


      21.Apr.2017 2:25pm

      Sounds as though we should invite Cllr Chapman to declare himself; perhaps he’s too ashamed to confess to being a Conservative.

      PJ:
      Looks as though several people have been caught out like this. The instructions (and backing legislation) are extremely vague and ambiguous. Could it be a way to advantage experienced deadlegs over dangerous new blood?

    • Holdheadinhands


      21.Apr.2017 2:50pm

      You will also see he hasn’t put the correct imprint as his agent Ian ward is not shown and he uses the words people before politics which is the island independent slogan

      • wightgeek


        21.Apr.2017 3:54pm

        I decided to check with Electoral Services at the Council for an opinion, who said that they were unaware of “any offence that would relate to the omission of information on a candidates election material” and that “if a Candidate caused the material to be published themselves, then, in my view, the Election Agent would not need to be included in the imprint.”

        When he spoke to me on my doorstep the other day he was at great pains to distant himself from them, even to the point of saying he wouldn’t be voting for them himself(!) (he lives in an adjoining ward). His lack of principles is sickening.

  8. Geoff Lumley


    21.Apr.2017 2:35pm

    So two Tories get positive mentions for being first of the last.

  9. juliancritchley


    21.Apr.2017 3:24pm

    This was a really good idea by OnTheWight.

    I updated my page as soon as I got the invitation email. What a great idea to put a bit more flesh on the bones of candidates and allow people to look past leaflets which are often a bit restricted in content.

  10. Geoff Lumley


    21.Apr.2017 3:36pm

    As did I Julian. And we did it without having to get the approval of some party overseer as seems to be the case with the Tories.

    One Tory has since taken the opportunity of his slow engagement to have a go at what his Labour opponent has submitted

    • Matt Price


      22.Apr.2017 10:33am

      Not slow engagement Geoff, as soon as I saw this excellent website uploaded I naturally checked my own ward and when I found my profile blank I asked Sally if she could email me the request which I had not received before.

  11. Mrs Retired Hack


    21.Apr.2017 4:43pm

    Well done, Simon and Sal. It’s excellent that councillors of all parties, and none, are choosing to participate. Let us hope that Cllr Stewart takes belated advice from his media advisor, and realises that engaging with the electorate is a good thing.

  12. Ali Hayden.


    21.Apr.2017 6:07pm

    A nice touch from OTW to engage prospective Councillors with the residents who will be voting for them.
    I would just like to clear up a point that has been queried by a few people.
    My home address is St Michaels Avenue in Ryde, although I am standing as a candidate in Arreton and Newchurch Ward.
    I lived in Arreton village for 26 years and have been on Arreton Parish Council since May 2013.
    Due to the breakup of my marriage in 2015, I no longer live in Arreton.
    I do, however still take a very keen interest in what is going on there and am still on the Parish Council. Also I feel that having lived there for such a long time and raising my three daughters in Arreton village, I can more than adequately represent the residents of Arreton and Newchurch Ward.
    After careful consideration, it would not have made sense for me to stand in Ryde.

    • East Cowes


      21.Apr.2017 6:33pm

      Ali Hayden – maybe put that high up in your candidate statement because it looks like you’re from Sandown originally and happen to have sat on the Arreton Town Council…. not that you have lived in Arreton Village for 26 years….

  13. Ali Hayden.


    21.Apr.2017 7:43pm

    East Cowes; Thank you for your comment. Yes I was actually born in Sundown many years ago.
    I’m not too sure whether I can go back in to alter my candidate statement, maybe Simon or Sally can clarify if this is possible for me.

  14. Ali Hayden.


    21.Apr.2017 7:44pm

    …..that should of course say Sandown! Spell checker strikes again.

  15. Sounds quite nice as Sundown, can we change it? :)
    But joking aside it’s brilliant to see candidates engaging with this.

  16. Iain Maclennan


    23.Apr.2017 11:17am

    OTW certainly deserve a positive chuck-up for their sterling effort in improving the scale and quality of engagement between electors and candidates. The electorate on the IoW too deserve to be commended for their courtesy and openness on the doorstep. Certainly that strongly characterises my experience so far in Arreton and Newchurch ward. This positive attitude of Islanders largely sets them apart from many of their counterparts in mainland areas where I have campaigned in the past, and underlines what a special place the Isle of Wight is and will remain – for my part at least, if given the opportunity to serve in this way.

  17. I did my postal vote this week. Three candidates in my ward and not one has bothered to stick a flyer through my door. though I did get the general Conservative flyer which was sent to every home on the island a few weeks ago.I was almost tempted not to vote (which would have been a first for me), but I did. I didn’t like any of the candidates or their respective parties to be honest. In all my years as a voter I’ve never had a dilemma like this before.

  18. electrickery


    23.Apr.2017 8:53pm

    So here we are, a week after launch of the OTW initiative (for which full marks!) and still the Tories, to a man, consider that they do not need to take part.

    If any voter has any doubts about supporting the Cons, you have the answer before you.

  19. Nick Stuart


    24.Apr.2017 10:52am

    As a candidate I’m delighted to put forward views and grateful to On the Wight for the efforts they are making.
    Being professionally party neutral for my past working life I’m impressed by the effort and time that people put into this political process and look forward to engaging with people around the island. On Facebook (Nick Stuart Liberal Democrat Freshwater) for the interested, I’m providing a different view of campaigning, only in the sunshine so far!

  20. Anni Adams


    24.Apr.2017 3:10pm

    This is a great platform and thank you for providing it. Maybe someone can fill me in on a few things though. New as I am to the process of standing I’m baffled as to why so many candidates have not got involved in this or the Radio Soapbox debates. Am I to assume that if you run for Conservatives you are so likely to win you don’t need to engage with the voter? It’s been really great talking to people on the doorstep and in the high street and Nick you’re right… this weather makes it all the more pleasant!

  21. Steve Goodman


    25.Apr.2017 3:10am

    Libdim Bob Packham wants East Cowes residents to vote for him; here’s why he doesn’t deserve those votes.

    According to his campaign leaflet (& picture of Packham posing and pointing outside the former Frank James Memorial Hospital), which has infuriated some genuine Friends of FJ, …’it is only recently, after (he) raised the issue (of FJ being neglected for too long) with the Town Council that work has started on the building and grounds…’

    As most ‘common sense’ residents, and readers of OTW, CP, etc. will know, Bob the pretend builder had b*****all to do with the ending of the ‘far too long’ neglect at FJ; credit for that was earned by the ‘common sense FJ Friends working hard for five years to deliver real change for our area’, as BS Bob might say. Those friends include present local councillors Luisa Hillard and Julia Baker-Smith (who replaced Conservative councillors who were part of the FJ problem) and who do deserve resident’s votes for those and other good reasons.

    What was also ‘neglected for too long’ was BS Bob’s now impossible entry into our big band of those who bothered to save FJ. BS Bob says he ‘wants to use his (gained elsewhere) knowledge and experience to improve the area’. Good; If he’s genuine about that he can start by making an effort to learn this recent local history lesson, and continue by withdrawing his deliberately misleading begging letter and preferably his unwelcome backfiring self from this local election and finding something more useful and honest to do instead.

    • billy builder


      25.Apr.2017 7:59am

      Steve, you’re wasted supporting the Greens, the tone and content of your comments would be much better suited to the ‘Nasty Party’ (Tory/UKIP)

      • Steve Goodman


        25.Apr.2017 8:39am

        It’s the unjustifiable tone and content of the the bs comments of one ‘better suited to the false election claims nasty party’? candidate you’re wasting your time trying to support.

        Is it not clear from his bs bumf and my response that he certainly doesn’t deserve my support, and that the (independent, not nasty, not green) candidate who does is Luisa Hillard?

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