hustings

LISTEN: Rochford & Southend East parliamentary hustings 22/04/15


(Note: This is an ambient recording, and as such won’t always be fantastic. Luckily, Bell Vue made their own recording of the microphone feed. So if there’s bits of this which are inaudible, try listening to theirs.)

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Southend Election Hustings 2015


debate

I really meant to get this post together earlier than this; one of the symptoms of election time being that there never seems to be enough time to get everything done!

Nonetheless, after the Rochford & Southend East hustings hosted by the Echo last night, here is a list of all the hustings and debates of which I am aware, in the Southend area — i.e. the two Parliamentary constituencies and the local elections.

If I’ve missed any (which I doubtless have) please let me know via the comments or my contact form and I will update.

Read on…

Southend Tory MP goes massively off-message on EU renegotiation


james duddridge

Last night the Southend Echo hosted the first in a series of general election hustings for the area, this one for my own constituency of Rochford & Southend East.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to make it there myself, but my impression from watching the online coverage — and the Echo’s rolling liveblog of the evening is still online should anyone wish to read it — was of a good, if uneventful, evening attended by all five candidates.

One point did catch my interest, tweeted by local radio journalist Tim Gillett, was Tory incumbent James Duddridge’s position on EU membership:

Read on…

Southend Against the Cuts are wrong to shut UKIP out of debate


picard facepalm

When I narrowly* lost the West Shoebury local council election in May 2014, only the victor — UKIP’s James Moyies — gave a speech. As he came down at the end of it, he came up to me and asked why I hadn’t given a speech myself. He was worried that I had, in effect, no platformed him.

The truth was that this was my first time at a Southend election count, and I didn’t realise that anyone but the winning candidate gave a speech. Naivety, basically, and I told the new Cllr Moyies as much.

It is in this light that I am very disappointed to see that Southend Against the Cuts have decided to exclude UKIP from their general election hustings.

Read on…

A mess of a hustings


southend civic centre

Firstly, an apology. It is, I suspect, not an apology owed by myself, but I will give it nonetheless. To anyone who attended the hustings last night at Hinguar Primary School in order to see and listen to me, you would have been disappointed.

I arrived at Hinguar at ten to seven, only to be told by Cllr Anne Chalk that I wouldn’t in fact be speaking. It had changed, apparently, from the West Shoebury and Shoeburyness hustings that had been advertised, to a Shoeburyness only debate. And as such, only Conservative Cllr Roger Hadley and Independent candidate Nick Ward would speak.

Now, I don’t know when this decision was made. I do know that I had discussed my intentions today and last night with senior Labour councillors, and no such communication had reached any of us. I do however know that the decision served to make it an Independent vs Tory battle, and that the accusation that the Labour Shoeburyness candidate had not turned up was entirely spurious. Maggie Kelly was never intended to come, as she was working.

But actually, having sat through the spectacle ensued, I’m not sure I’m not glad to have been little part of it.

Read on…

Shoebury hustings, Monday at 7pm


southend civic centre

It’s a bit short notice, but I will be taking part in a hustings for the West Shoebury and Shoeburyess local elections at Hinguar Primary School in Shoeburyness.

Julian has already pointed out that these elections are suffering from a surprising shortage of debate (something for which we have both tried to make up using our blogs), so it’s good that there will be some opportunity for live questioning.

The debate will be held at Hinguar Primary School, at 7pm on Monday evening. I don’t yet know who else will be speaking (presumably a selection of the West Shoebury and Shoeburyness candidates), but it will be hosted by BBC Essex radio presenter Tim Gillett.

All are welcome, so come along and put your questions to your local candidates before the vote on May 22nd.

Thames Valley Police Commissioner Hustings in Wokingham


The most common thing I hear from people when I talk to them about the Police & Crime Commissioner elections —  now less than three weeks away — is that they have no idea who the candidates are, or what policies they are standing on.

It’s an understandable problem, really. The Thames Valley is a big area, and the elections have been both terribly timed and remarkably unpromoted, given that they’re for a major new public office. Unless voters have specifically gone looking for candidates’ positions (or maybe not even then) or they have been canvassed by activists then there is little chance they will have much idea what each candidate is proposing.

So local hustings have been of primary importance in this campaign. There have been several already, but Wednesday will see the candidates coming to Wokingham for a public debate. The Finchampstead Society will be hosting a debate at 7:30pm at the Memorial Hall (Wokingham, RG40 4JU) where the candidates will be speaking and available to answer questions.

As far as I’m aware, only the three main party candidates have confirmed attendance: John Howson (Lib Dem), Anthony Stansfeld (Conservative), and Tim Starkey (Labour). Which leaves the two remaining independents and the UKIP candidate may well not be there. But it’s better than nothing.

I shall be there, and I urge any residents of the Thames Valley area who can make it to join me. This is a serious and major public office, and we are running a real risk of allowing a candidate to sleepwalk into it with no real scrutiny or democratic process. Come along on Wednesday evening, and put your questions to the people vying to be your first Police & Crime Commissioner.