Parliamentary Election Hustings

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Robin Orton
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Robin Orton »

My wife and I went to the 38 Degrees hustings this evening. It was well organized and everyone behaved themselves; there was some heckling, but it was quite polite. Standing room only. A pretty left-wing audience, which seemed to include a lot of teachers and probably other public sector workers. All the candidates' speeches and answers to questions attracted some applause, the only exception being Dr George Whale (Liberty-GB), who, whenever he sat down, did so to complete silence from the audience; I thought this was a dignified and impressive response.

Jim Dowd's statement (see earlier posts this evening) was read out at the beginning. In their closing remarks Alex Feakes and Russell Jackson were quite scathing about his record as a constituency MP.

All the candidates who spoke, with the exception of Dr Whale, came over as quite likeable and, in different ways, eloquent. David Hansom, the independent standing on a 'Save Beckenham Place Park Golf Course' ticket, contributed some bumbling and self-deprecatory humour which went down well. The deaf UKIP candidate Gary Harding seemed a decent enough cove, and I think everyone admired him for the cheerful way he coped with his disability. Tom Chance for the Greens and Martin Powell-Davies for TUSC got most applause, although I suppose it's easy to please an audience when you can pander to their prejudices without any prospect of actually having to put your policies into action. It was difficult to take Dr Whale as other than a joke, a sort of pantomime demon king figure who eggs on the children in the stalls to hiss at him.

The main questions from the floor (which had to be written down in advance and handed in) were about education, Trident, fracking, the proposed EU referendum, how candidates would represent their black and minority ethnic constituents, how to respond to future financial crises, whether it was right that working tax credits should be allowed to subsidise employers who refused to pay a living wage, and the proposed transatlantic trade and investment partnership (TTIP). Replies were mostly predicatble, but there was also an interesting question asking what parts of their parties' programmes candidates might rebel against. Alex Feakes said he would vote against replacing Trident; Russell Jackson said he opposed the Conservative policy in favour of fracking, and that he also thought his party's line on immigration was too restrictive - free movement of labour was a Good Thing. (It was also clear that he is far from being a Eurosceptic.)

All in all, an enjoyable and instructive evening. I now know who I am going to vote for.

iandavenport
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Location: Thorpes

Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by iandavenport »

Thank you Robin for your succinct summary of the evening , I also attended with my wife.
I'd like to post up here thanks to 38 Degrees for organising the event , the Honor Oak pub for providing the room for free ( please note , Golden Lion!) and to the seven of the eight candidates who felt the electorate's votes were worth their precious time in trying to garner. I'm afraid i haven't yet decided who to vote for , but the attractions of Beckenham Place 18 hole Golf course did come over strongly.

p.s. I did enjoy one heckle I heard from the back , directed at the Tory candidate ( as most of them were), who having announced he used to work at the Bank of England was dismissed as an "F'ing banker" , displaying a brilliant appreciation of the financial world in which we live

John J Rambo
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by John J Rambo »

Jim Dowd really is a waste of space. Sadly people around here are too thick to look beyond the Punch and Judy politics of 'Labour good, Tory bad' and so he has a job for life.

We deserve better.

Tim Lund
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Tim Lund »

John J Rambo wrote:Jim Dowd really is a waste of space. Sadly people around here are too thick to look beyond the Punch and Judy politics of 'Labour good, Tory bad' and so he has a job for life.

We deserve better.
I agree we deserve better, but in a national election, I will always vote on national issues. If that means I vote Labour this time, it will have nothing to do with Punch & Judy politics.

Rachael
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Rachael »

Thank you for that summary, Robin, and to the organisers and venue.

Jim Dowd's reasons for not attending seem even more hollow now. The audience response to Dr Whale sounds absolutely perfect, which makes it all the more frustrating that this meeting almost didn't happen because of his presence. Letting him speak was entirely the right thing to do. Mr Dowd missed his chance to be dignified in response.

It is tempting to think Mr Dowd is more afraid of his constituents than appearing on a platform with Dr Whale. Especially has he was the only one to refuse.

Robin Orton
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Robin Orton »

Another thing I meant to mention was that someone pointed out that all the candidates are white males. The audience too, so far as I could see, was overwhelmingly, if not totally, white.

Tim Lund
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Tim Lund »

I meant to thank Robin too.

iandavenport
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Location: Thorpes

Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by iandavenport »

Good point Robin, considering that there was a discussion about diversity of the constituency, with 40% of the electorate described as BME.
Sitting in the back row, i can confirm that the audience was not entirely white.

leenewham
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by leenewham »

#jimdowdismissing

Apparently our local MP who didn't bother to go to the hustings, went for a curry instead (according to SE23.com).

He really doesn't care does he?

I've made my mind up too about who to vote for. I have voted labour in the past, but not this time. I think I'll give Tom a Chance.

Apparently you can hear the hustings here:
https://drive.google.com/folderview?id= ... sp=sharing

It's a shame Jim Dowd didn't' tell the truth and say 'I couldn't be bothered to turn up because I will get in anyway, no matter what I do, so I'd rather go for a curry than speak to you lot'.

Oh, and thanks Robin for a great run down of what happened.

stuart
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by stuart »

Rachael wrote:Jim Dowd's reasons for not attending seem even more hollow now. The audience response to Dr Whale sounds absolutely perfect, which makes it all the more frustrating that this meeting almost didn't happen because of his presence. Letting him speak was entirely the right thing to do. Mr Dowd missed his chance to be dignified in response.
Yes, Robin's report was spot on. Would you expect anything different?

I was surprised that that the most eloquent put down of Mr Whale was by, of all people, the UKIP candidate. After that the panel and audience mostly ignored him and I think even he realised his support was rather less than zero.

As I said to Robin I thought all the other party candidates out performed their party and their party leader. Those who went knowing who to vote for will probably had that decision reinforced. Those that were undecided now have a richness of choice presented by the candidates present. Which means there was only one loser last night.

But then it was his choice. The pity is he has damaged the party he claims to represent and was set up to protect the working class. But then they did reselect him and his previous shortcomings were not exactly a secret. Let's hope how a candidate performs at a hustings becomes a more important factor in future selections.

Stuart

Maria
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Maria »

In reply to his to me, I am going to send J Dowd a link to these comments: well, it is a public Forum but he may be busy and miss them.

Thank you everybody. I also know who I am voting for, I think I "know" they will not win, but I also "know" that the winners will not last long - not with the kind of people they will have to ally themselves to they won't. And then there will be (please let that happen) be another election. So, for the first time I feel calm about all this - just hope it doesn't take too long for the so called winners to fail miserably, once people come to realise the horrific consequences of their (hidden and secret) austerity plans.

As for J D he has no divine rights; he too must go at the earliest opportunity. Let me address you directly sir: you are a disgrace and you don't deserve to represent us.

somerandombloke
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by somerandombloke »

Maria wrote:As for J D he has no divine rights; he too must go at the earliest opportunity. Let me address you directly sir: you are a disgrace and you don't deserve to represent us.
Seconded. Id email him and tell him if I could be arsed.

michael
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by michael »

stuart wrote:Let's hope how a candidate performs at a hustings becomes a more important factor in future selections.
Out of interest, was it just Stuart, Robin, and me attending from this forum? (genuine question)
After all this debate about who is or is not on the panel was it really just the three of us who bothered to go along?

Hustings are useful, but would it have been too much to have expected the candidates to post on the local forums and discuss issues here. I think it would have been far more interesting to hear/read a genuine discussion on some of the topics than soundbite politics from 8 candidate on 8 issues.

Many of the candidates talked about the need for policies to come from the people, listening to people, and praising the sense of community in the local area. So why have none bothered to engage in discussion on the issues on the local community forums?

somerandombloke
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by somerandombloke »

michael wrote:Out of interest, was it just Stuart, Robin, and me attending from this forum? (genuine question)
After all this debate about who is or is not on the panel was it really just the three of us who bothered to go along?
I wouldve gone but I was in Holland Park (not allowed say wich famous footballers place I was workin on!) till gone 10. Id love to have got the chanse to wind up 'Dr' George Whale.

_HB

Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by _HB »

http://www.newsshopper.co.uk/news/lewis ... t___Penge/

Jim Dowd has nothing but contempt for you. Don't vote for him.

wrightie
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by wrightie »

Out of interest, was it just Stuart, Robin, and me attending from this forum? (genuine question)
After all this debate about who is or is not on the panel was it really just the three of us who bothered to go along?
I arrived a little after 19:45, bicycle mechanical failure. There was no room at the inn. Stood uncomfortably in the hallway with a few others, then hunger got the better of me and I went downstairs and had something to eat.

stuart
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by stuart »

_HB wrote:Jim Dowd has nothing but contempt for you. Don't vote for him.
Its worse than that. I have never voted for him, I have voted for his party. But if that party insists knowingly on putting forward a candidate who is unsuitable for the role for so many reasons (and you don't know half HB) - one has to draw a line. They can't say they weren't warned.

They can see Labour votes and reputation haemorrhaging here solely because of the JD issue - yet do nothing about it. This is not good.

Stuart

PS I think the 38 degrees estimate of 70 was way off beam. I stopped counting at 100.

Tim Lund
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Tim Lund »

I think these are good questions of Michael's. To answer the easiest first, I was not there because I was out of London on family business. I would have been otherwise, even though the quality of local candidates is not going to affect my vote, but I can't see the point of asking for our votes if political parties are not prepared to discuss politics.

I agree strongly that Forums are better places to discuss issues than hustings, when sound bites will dominate, but they're just part of what's needed.

I think that stuff about "the need for policies to come from the people" is patronising rubbish; I'd prefer politicians to be able to show they can defend the policies they believe in. Taking their policies to the people, on Forums such as this, but using all the other, more recent social media as well, is how they develop long term support. From what I read, it's something the SNP have been very good at, which is one of the reasons Scottish politics interests me so much. I'm far from being a fan of the SNP, but they need to be respected and understood.

Robin Orton
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Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by Robin Orton »

Tim Lund wrote: [...] the quality of local candidates is not going to affect my vote [...]
Sad.

iandavenport
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Location: Thorpes

Re: Parliamentary Election Hustings

Post by iandavenport »

Out of interest, was it just Stuart, Robin, and me attending from this forum? (genuine question)
After all this debate about who is or is not on the panel was it really just the three of us who bothered to go along?
No Michael - I was there as well - I’m not sure there were 100 there, but i think 70 is a bit on the low side
a bit of historic perspective to this - gleaned from the letters page of the Daily Telegraph on 29th April
I wont post it up here, as I’m not sure on the copy write aspect , but the gist is the letter writer recalls listening to Sir Alec Douglas-Hume speaking in the Kirkdale pub during the 1964 campaign, and the next day Harold Wilson turned up with his soapbox to speak.
So 50 years ago we got the past and next PM speaking in Sydenham, now we don’t even get the sitting MP

As an aside – which was the Kirkdale pub?

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