Last night I attended the Hustings for St Ives Parliamentary seat over at the St Ives Guildhall. (A Husting is where the prospective MPs face questions from the public). I had never been to one of these before , but I thought I would turn up and hear what they had to say for two reasons. Firstly, I am going to vote for one these Candidates, and secondly who ever wins the seat I will have to work with in my role as a Cornwall Councillor.
Five of the Seven Candidates turned up. The two missing were Simon Reed for MK and Jonathan Rogers from the Cornish Democrats. No reason were given as to why they could not attend. The whole even was organised by the Cornishman Newspaper and Chaired by Jaqui Walls its editor. I did a quick head count and I reckon just over 80 people attended.
The Candidates were then invited to give a 2 minute opening statement. Everything was pretty standard as they laid out their stalls on what they were standing on and what they would do. It was then the turn of the public who had submitted questions previously.
If I am honest this is where the whole concept went wrong. Instead of giving the candidates a set time limit to answer the questions they were given an open mike. This resulted in a lot of waffle and rambling from most of the Candidates. Hardly clear and the points they were trying to make got lost in a lot of waffle. I had to ask myself are they still answering the same question they were asked.
As to who came out best is best answered by those who were there here is the link to the Podcast for you to make your own minds up. I know who I thought did best and who came unstuck a few times, but that’s for me to decide when placing my X in the box. (Link to follow)
After an hour and a half only 6 questions were asked and answered when the Chair called the Hustings to the end. This was not well received and I stood up and asked if the meeting could be extended as many people there had questions to ask and had travelled a fair distance to be there. One Elder Gentleman was most upset and made the comment that he had made the effort to come and had forgone his Dinner to be there. There were a few other shouts from the crowd to extend, but sadly it wasn’t.
I came away disappointed as I had not heard enough as to who was the best to have my vote. I know there has to be a time limit on the procedures, but only 6 questions? Guess we will have to wait another 4 odd years to have another go.
Saying that its hard, and I know from experience when you are the Chairman as to when to cut someone off, or allow them to continue to make their point. We are all guilty of waffling on in this job. I would rather see the Hustings than not. So good effort all in all.