Jury Team: so far, it’s a flop

Jury Team is the new political organisation that is letting anyone put themselves forward for selection as a European Parliament candidate on their behalf and is letting the public vote on who should actually stand.

Its launch got extensive mainstream media coverage, including from the BBC, Mail, Telegraph, Sky, Guardian and Sunday Times. Moreover, almost all of the coverage was very friendly, e.g. not pointing out the myriad of similar ventures in the past which have failed nor asking why their website goes out of its way to encourage anonymous donations.

With that favourable background and now only 20 days to go until the close of poll for their candidate selection process, it seems fair to judge Jury Team on how it is doing so far.

And the picture is one of a party that has flopped. Because the latest figures from their website shows that in three quarters of the European Parliament electoral regions the number of number of people who have applied to be a candidate is the same (2 regions) or less (7 regions) than the number of seats up for election. In one region, there is not even a single name put forward. Letting the public choose your candidates doesn’t add up to much if there aren’t enough on offer to provide an actual choice.

Moreover, the number of votes cast in total to select the candidates has been tiny. In only four regions have more than 150 votes been cast in total by the public, with the total under 50 in three regions (and zero in a fourth where there are no candidates on offer).

Far from being a major step forward in involving the public, the number of votes cast across a whole region in most cases is smaller than the number of votes often cast in the selection of a candidate for just one Parliamentary constituency by one of the mainstream parties. Similar, the numbers of supporters on Facebook or people looking at their films on YouTube are extremely small.

Even on Twitter, although the number of followers is superficially more respectable (but still under 1,000), it is only half the number of people who Jury Team are following on Twitter. Following double the number of people who are following you is normally a sure sign of a Twitter account that is trying very hard to get noticed (becuase if you follow someone on Twitter, they will often follow you back), but failing.

Overall, it’s looking rather like a flop so far.

Here are the full figures, taken from the Jury Team website and other websites on Saturday 4th April:

Facebook: 144 supporters
YouTube: 3 subscribers, 142 channel views
Twitter: 735

East of England
Number of seats for election: 7
Number of Jury Team candidates: 5
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 245

East Midlands
Number of seats for election: 5
Number of Jury Team candidates: 5
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 76

London
Number of seats for election: 8
Number of Jury Team candidates: 11
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 333

Northern Ireland
Number of seats for election: 3
Number of Jury Team candidates: 0
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: n/a

North East
Number of seats for election: 3
Number of Jury Team candidates: 3
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 74

North West
Number of seats for election: 8
Number of Jury Team candidates: 4
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 142

Scotland
Number of seats for election: 6
Number of Jury Team candidates: 3
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 30

South East
Number of seats for election: 10
Number of Jury Team candidates: 22
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 434

South West
Number of seats for election: 6
Number of Jury Team candidates: 8
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 266

Wales
Number of seats for election: 4
Number of Jury Team candidates: 3
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 10

West Midlands
Number of seats for election: 6
Number of Jury Team candidates: 2
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 33

Yorkshire & The Humber
Number of seats for election: 6
Number of Jury Team candidates: 2
Total number of votes cast for Jury Team candidates: 19

Note: the Jury Team website says, “72 MEPs will be elected from 12 regions. The Jury Team intends to put forward 70 candidates for the UK”. It is not clear which two seats they are not planning to contest.

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20 Comments

  • “Moreover, the number of votes cast in total to select the candidates has been tiny. In only four regions have more than 150 votes been cast in total by the public, with the total under 50 in three regions (and zero in a fourth where there are no candidates on offer).”

    It sounds as though it would be very easy for extremists to infiltrate this organisation – if they thought it worth the effort.

  • Having been interested myself in politics for a long time I applaud the concept. It is hard to determine if the idea is a flop or a reflection of the political apathy we have at present. The real problem is attracting the right candidates who don’t have big egos and are not good at selling themselves. A bit like ch4’s “Big Brother” we all know a few good characters at home but they’ll never put their name in the hat.
    Personally it shouldn’t be about individual candidates more about policy ie:free public transport, getting rid of Trident and putting a stop to experiments in mainstream education – the list goes on.

  • Grammar Police 8th Apr '09 - 12:47am

    @ Michael, but there’s nothing to join.

    There’s nothing really that links the candidates other than a desire to get elected. It’s entirely possible for Jury Team candidates to completely disagree with one another on every major issue. Therefore, unless one agrees with the 1st candidate on the list, there’s no point risking a Jury team vote. It’s only getting press interest because it’s been set up by a weathy ex-Conservative (oh, and what happened to the last party set up in such circumstances – Referendum Party, got lots of press, but not that many votes).

  • Maybe, like me, people are so cynical of anything to do with Politicians, we are waiting to see what happens. Given that the Lib-Lab-Cons MPs, with a few exceptions, are daily shown up to be a bunch of crooks who evade prosecution because they make the laws and they exempt themselves, I would be wary of burying the Jury team just yet. I’m hoping they put candidates up for Gordon Borwn and the Labour part wake in 2010, as I don’t want a Tory Blair replacing our current bunch of Zombies.

  • Michael Clayton 10th Apr '09 - 10:25pm

    I applaud your cynicism John. Based on the evidence, it is totally understandable. But please watch this space and put us to the test. I hope we can restore your faith.

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