I thought at one point, because Dan Bell, of the Christian Peoples Alliance, was absent, that we had 'lost' another candidate and that instead of 'one down, five to go,' as I had remarked the night before at Ely, it was 'two down, four to go.' Perhaps this isn't so, though no explanation was offered for Mr Bell's absence and this election in this constituency continues to be exciting and to offer up sacrificial surprises.
Here is the 'platform' at the start, with no Dan Bell, the Christian candidate standing who is not the only Christian standing, and Simon Sedgwick-Jell, the Green man, not quite ready. Simon was very much on the ball later and in company that suited his case and his cause.
Here are the other panellists in alphabetical order. First, though he won't be first after the 6th of May, Mr Jonathan Chatfield, of the Lib Dems. He is the one standing. One of the others looks bored.
Next is pictured Mr Andy Monk, of UKIP. He does not impress. Sadly for him, I don't think that he impresses his own party people who loyally come along on every available occasion. Like all of the other politicos, he appears often to consult his party political 'manifesto.'
Clearly the most important person on the platform was the present MP, Mr James Paice. He 'scored' on one or two occasions at Impington, but there's something of the 'number two' about him after 23 years in Parliament. I still like the guy but I believe that he is well past his 'sell-by' date. He wants to bring back fox hunting and hare coursing, etc. That is not only a cruel policy: it is also very dated. Here is Mr Paice in full flow.
Finally, though I am not perfect by any means and was a little lost on one question last evening, I believe that I kept my end up. The reaction of members of the audience was very positive indeed and I 'held' them throughout the evening. (Just look at Mr Paice's face: ain't it a picture?!).
What pleased me more than anything at Impington was that, despite most of the questions being of an 'environmentalist' nature - enabling Simon Sedgwick-Jell to 'score' successively and successfully - I was able to allude to every single one of my policy lines. I 'got in' my antipathy to the wasteful war in Afghanistan, the idiocy of the government-funded National Trust ruining thousands of acres of our precious food-growing Cambridgeshire Fens, the whole point of being a true independent for South East Cambridgeshire surrounded by party people spouting from their party manifestos, praise for Labour's bringing in the civil partnerships reform which is now accepted, my enthusiasm for education, my commendation of the higher standards of house-building these days combined with my criticism of the 'starter hutches' that so many youngsters have been condemned to by the planners of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, and my 'we are all doomed' line on world population and immigration to this country.
And, by sheer sleight of hand and the tolerance of the chairman, I even succeeded in praising Labour members of parliament who, with the aid of some Conservatives such as Ann Widdecombe, brought in the Hunting Act 2004 which banned hare coursing - the bane of my whole adult life - and fox hunting, stag hunting, etc. I said that we need to keep making progress and not go backwards. Mr Paice has said that he will vote to repeal that progressive Act. Shame on him and those like him in the backward-looking Tory party that hasn't really changed, despite what 'Dave' says. They are wrong. I am right. I shall continue to argue thus.
Here is a picture of the last few seconds of a fox's life. I received it today from the League Against Cruel Sports, of which I am not a member but from whom I obtain much helpful 'stuff.'
And here is a beautiful (borrowed) image of a leaping hare. Whenever I see one of our English brown hares, I feel inspired. I hate the b****y hare coursers and those who support them.
Clarissa Dickson-Wrong is one of the latter.