I was entirely unsurprised to hear from attendees that the Shoeburyness ward local election debate organised by Cllr Anne Chalk was a stage-managed farce. Those readers with long memories may recall that at the one she organised last year I was supposed to be representing the Labour Party, until she cut me out last minute and tried to claim Labour had not turned up.
This time Cllr Chalk managed surpass herself, employing one of her friends and allies as a thoroughly biased chair. Almost all of the questions were offered to Cllr Chalk, who, apparently was best placed to answer as sitting councillor. Aside from the bias this shows to the incumbent, I have seen no other debate where questions were not answered by all candidates at the debate, in favour of one obviously preferred contender.
The result was the Conservative candidate Roger Hadley being asked a lot of questions about how awful his party is, and Labour’s Maggie Kelly being cut out of the debate almost entirely. The Green and Liberal Democrat candidates did not make an appearance. It says something that Cllr Chalk is so worried about being found wanting, that she has to stack the deck against her opponents.
I think Cllr Chalk should apologise for this abuse of democracy, and assure us that it will not be repeated.
Avenue Road, Westcliff-on-Sea