Having delivered leaflets for various political parties over the years and never quite identifying with any of them, I eventually bit the bullet and stood as an independent. Not just once, but on two separate occasions.

Unfortunately the UK electorate is very tribal and that didn't work, a situation that was not helped by Hedge End Town Council deciding not to issue polling cards for one local by-election, thus compromising the turnout and inadvertently (I hope) helping the Lib Dems. However I did beat UKIP on my first attempt and was very pleased about that.

I then bumped into Ray Hall, when he stood as a candidate for the Beer, Baccy and Crumpet party in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election. I was contributing to Eastleigh News at the time, as a citizen journalist, and Ray Hall lived within walking distance. We were inevitably going to meet.

Realising that I was local and politically active, Ray stayed in touch and tried to get me on board. Eventually I stopped writing for Eastleigh News and felt better placed to do so.

I am currently the Nominating Officer for the Beer, Baccy and Scratchings (formerly Crumpet) party, working behind the scenes (at the moment) rather than standing for election myself. Having accepted that role, I no longer claim to be independent. If only all independents were as honest...

We are hoping to change the name of the Beer, Baccy and Scratchings party soon, to be a little more inspiring to the electorate. You may recall that the original name of Beer, Baccy and Crumpet was banned by the Electoral Commission at the last minute, prior to the 2015 General Election, a tactic which compromised what we could do in that election. Unfortunately, the new name was chosen in a hurry and we found that Scratchings didn't have quite the same appeal that Crumpet did. No wonder Crumpet was banned. Finishing seventh (out of 14) in the Eastleigh by election, the best of the fringe parties, we were a real threat to the establishment...!

So if you would like to stand for election and are looking for a party to join, do please get in touch, via email BeerBaccy@Outlook.com. We would be delighted to have you on board.

And you can help in other ways too..

1. If you live in the Eastleigh parliamentary constituency and would be happy to sign nomination papers at election time, it would be great to hear from you. Having your contact details on a list will make the nomination process a lot easier when elections arise.

2.  Likewise, if you live in the Southampton Itchen or Southampton Test parliamentary constituencies and would be happy to sign nomination papers at election time, it would be great to hear from you too. We are likely to contest those seats too, at some point in the future.

3. Help with leafleting is always appreciated, if you are able to do so. We can tailor this to accommodate what you are are able to do, so please don't worry about being swamped with thousands to deliver. I know that is hard work and we will be grateful for every little piece of help.

4. If you would like to become a member of the party, and receive a regular newsletter, perhaps even order a T-shirt, we would greatly appreciate your support.

5. Last but not least, contesting General Elections and Parliamentary by-elections requires a £500 deposit. Leafleting costs money too, so any financial donations (large or small) would be very gratefully received and used wisely..

Do please contact me via email BeerBaccy@Outlook.com if you can help in any of those ways, or feel that you can help in some other way.

Or indeed, if you have any general queries about the Beer, Baccy and Scratchings party.

Ray Turner
Nominating Officer
The Beer, Baccy and Scratchings Party