Tuesday, 27 April 2010

'Hustings' at St. Mary's Church, Ely - a polite business

Last evening's 'hustings' meeting, held at St. Mary's Church, Ely, was in good part what I predicted. Because it was organised by the local churches and because it was in one of Ely's lovely churches, it consisted, in the main, of polite people asking polite questions about polite subjects. The meeting was firmly and fairly controlled and no heckling nor applause were permitted. For those reasons, I couldn't help but mourn the passing of the old-style public meetings in public halls, where an element of rowdiness and rumbustiousness was expected and nearly always evident. I have spoken many times at such meetings and the sort of subjects that come up on the doorsteps - sometimes impolite subjects - would be raised. I really miss those old-style election meetings.

Nevertheless, the performers - the remaining six candidates (Mr John Cowan, the Labour man, has been 'suspended' by his party which is now advising Labour supporters to hold their noses and just vote Labour, which is not logical, but never mind) did their stuff reasonably well. Of course, they followed their party lines, as party people have to, and I rejoiced in being free from all that. Through being free from all that, I believe - and was told - that I came over as being both sincere and different, which I am.

Due to shortage of time, all that I can provide for this blog this morning are some pictures of the performers and a few short comments.

As I said to some people, with Mr Cowan now out, it's 'one down, five to go.'

Here are all of us who are left at the beginning of the meeting. The chairman is reading out the rules. And I am not asleep: I am reading the pre-submitted questions!

Next my Green and hairy friend, Mr Simon Sedgwick-Jell (whom I admire enormously for his intellect) is holding forth - or fifth.

Next, a be-suited me responds to something or other (with a hand in a pocket - not good).

And then my 'elder brother' (yes, he has been taken for my elder brother, though he is 61 and I am 72), Mr James Paice, is also holding forth - or second.

And then there was Mr Jonathan Chatfield, of the Liberal Democrats. He is the one standing in this picture and he has a purely accidental halo effect by his head. He's pleasant enough, but there's not much in his personality department.

Next, the very tall (but, thus far, insubstantial) Mr Andy Monk, of UKIP. I respect that party's principal line, though I don't agree with it, but it's when Andy tries to tie his party line to local issues that he comes completely unstuck. See how bored his neighbours appear.

Finally, until I report again on tonight's 'hustings' meeting at Impington Village College, is the earnest young Christian, Mr Dan Bell, representing the Christian Peoples Alliance. I have no doubt that Mr Bell will poll well, for South East Cambridgeshire is, in my opinion, a strong Christian island bastion in a sea of less attractive beliefs and practices. We were asked the following:

'What would you say ... to the growing number of Christians who have had enough of this [the alleged sidelining and undermining of Christian values], and will choose to cast their votes on that basis.'

My answer was simple. I suggested that they should vote for Dan Bell. For some inexplicable reason, this drew laughter, even though it was not intended thus to do.

Here is Mr Bell holding forth - or first.

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