The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) candidates in the local Council elections in Londonderry have embraced digital technology in order to get their low rates, anti-Europe message across to the local electorate.
The party’s election literature newly features digital bar codes that electors can scan using a smartphone in order to read about UKIP policy and its local candidates.
The Quick Response Code (QR code) also leads to a video featuring UKIP candidates - Dave Malcolm, Kyle Thompson and Geoff Cruickshank - as well as vice-chairman Neil Hamilton on walk and talk about in Londonderry.
Erstwhile, Ulster Political Research Group (UPRG) Regional Secretary, Mr Malcolm, who’s now standing in the Waterside for UKIP, tells potential voters: “I believe the policies that UKIP have are beneficial to all the people, to all communities.
“There’s nothing sectarian or racist about UKIP. We value every citizen of this city. I’d consider that the political parties that we’ve had over the past twenty years, especially, have failed the Waterside miserably.”
Mr Thompson, who is also standing in the Waterside, says: “UKIP intend to use local referenda on issues around planning where people can apply online to have a petition and if they get a certain quota the Council then has a binding referendum and hopefully that will give people more say in their local council.”
Mr Cruickshank, who is standing in the Faughan ward, says: “We can make a change. People out there are looking for change. I’m running for UKIP because I care about the community. I care about the people in the community.
“Hopefully, we can...through people voting for us in the elections...we can deliver.”
Electors can also click through to a full copy of the party’s 2014 European and Local Government policy document once they’ve scanned the code.
Amongst those policies are a minimum attendance requirement for councillors; a ban on co-option of family members; a town centre approach to development apart from one big super shopping centre in Sprucefield outside Lisburn; a rejection of the EU Landfill Directive; and the abolition of the Housing Executive with control of social housing being passed down to the new Londonderry and Strabane council.
It wants social housing to be prioritised for people born in the United Kingdom, British territory or the Republic of Ireland before 1948; and for people who have served in the Armed Forces.
It calls for a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour; it wants a 20 per cent reduction in ‘rate poundage in real terms;’ it opposes the devolution of tax powers; and it calls for an Enterprise Zone in each Council area and a special super Enterprize Zone at the Maze.
It calls for the abandonment of all renewable energy subsidies; the repeal of the Climate Chancge Act; withdrawal from the All Ireland Electicity Market; and the promotion of fracking in Northern Ireland.
It opposes further land based wind farms and says it would also support a fishermens’ veto of off shore farms.
UKIP says it opposes discrimination upon the basis of disability, race, denomination and sexual orientation, but is opposed to gay marriage as it would represent the intrusion of the state into a matter of personal conscience.
It calls for a ‘scientific approach’ to blood donations from high-risk groups.
The party also calls for the abandonment of Section 75 equality screening as it ‘institiutionalises sectarianism’ and that ‘preferential funding arrangements for minority ethnic groups’ should be abandoned.
It also wants to end funding for Ulster Scots and Irish.
Launching its digital media campaign the local party organisation, stated: “If you have a smartphone or other digital device with a QR Reader, you can scan our unique QR Code to access an entire range of UKIP News and information directly to your mobile or tablet.
“We will also be innovating local politics by including our QR Code and http address on our election communication for the Waterside and Faughan DEA’s thereby offering the most comprehensive information on our policies and plans of any party in Northern Ireland.”