A record crowd of around 200 people attended tonight's Hustings in Broughton St Mary's Parish Church. Eight out of nine candidates attended, the only absentee being Cameron MacIntyre (Independent).
Rob Hainsworth (pictured centre) chaired with a firm hand and two-minute egg-timer.
All sides agreed that the turn-out was a heartening vote of confidence in the democratic process, despite widespread cynicism over Westminster propriety and politics.
Following introductory statements, questions covered:
- the true extent of the UK's financial deficit;
- Westminster sleaze;
- the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan;
- establishing a High-pay Commission to set maximum wages;
- the repatriation of UK fishing rights from the EU.
The meeting's format (dictated by a large number of candidates and limited time) encouraged short, positive statements of intent over inter-party debate. Not surprisingly, then, no knock-out blows were delivered or received.
However, the meeting was not without passion, drama and wit. There was ample opportunity to judge potential representatives' character under fire as well as their grasp of policy. Some candidates made unexpectedly positive impressions.
Fuller comment will follow in Issue 182, to be published on 1 May. But if you have publishable observations of your own, please send them to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
[See also 'Extras' (23.4.10).]