As folk may know I (Mark Thomas) have spent the past year touring the country getting audiences to propose, discuss and vote for policies to make the world a better place. The end result is the People's Manifesto published by Ebury Press (out 28th Jan 10). Before publication the publishers PR department called and asked if I had any ideas to promote the book.
"Er thats your job." I whined , clearing my throat before continuing,"I do the writing and you do the PR. I don't phone you up and say, "Have you got any spare commas?"
"Well it's your book, we just thought you might want it to do well...."
"OK. What about this for an idea, if you want to stand in the general election you have to pay £500 deposit, which you don't get back if you get less than 5% of the vote. Most independent candidates lose their deposit, which I reckon discourages people from standing... So would Ebury be prepared to pay a candidates deposit?"
"What in the election?"
"Yes. Pay their deposit and £500 worth of campaigning funds to help them out... Obviously whoever stands has to use the People's Manifesto as the basis for their election campaign."
I predicted a longish silence and tense pause by way of response, possibly accompanied by the sound of a pencil being broken in the back ground. But instead a sharp and instant retort of "Yes" came down the phone. "What a great idea."
And thus it came to pass that Ebury Press are going to pay for someone to stand in the next general election.
Anyone can apply to be the candidate. Yep anyone!
Once you have worked out where you are going to stand, a campaign strategy and sorted folk who will help just fill in the forms and apply. I will decide who the candidate will be at the end of March and will come along to help campaign too.
So if you have ever wanted to stand for Parliament this is your chance.