Friday, 22 May 2009

MEP Hustings SE Reading 21 May 09

The MEP Hustings in Reading yesterday were hosted by the Oxford World Development Movement OxWDM, Reading International Solidarity Centre (RISC) and is supported by: Oxford Friends of the Earth, Slough WDM, Christian Concern for One World, Reading Greenpeace, Oxfam & Trade Justice groups, and Bond. Chaired by John Madely, author, journalist and broadcaster.

Attending were; Sharon Bowles (Lib Dems 1st), Janet Keene (Lab 6th Bracknell ), Caroline Lucas(Green 1st) and Philip Vander Elst(UKIP 4th).
(The number refers to place on party list)
Nirj Deva (Conservative 3rd) didn't show up.

The Hustings started late as Janet was late, claiming to have had a bad journey.
Many attending came by bus from Oxford.

Though the hustings were open to all, most of the questions seemed to come from the OxWMD.

The first question was really tough, so I wasn't to surprised that most candidates didn't answer it, but as the evening progressed I was shocked at the low standards of most of the candidates. Most candidates supported fair trade, and the Green & LD signed the pledge to stop Europe's unfair trade deals.

LABOUR Janet Keane didn't mention a single Labour policy or show any understanding of the workings of parliament, but spoke from her heart about what she liked and disliked. She wouldn't sign the pledge, but had sent an email explaining her views to the organisers.

LD Sharon Bowles bragged that she understood insurance better than insurers, that she was a scientist whose father had built most of our nuclear power stations (calling one a Bowles hole), coming across as egotistical. She was a supporter of 'micro nuclear power'

UKIP Philip Vander Elst managed to annoy everyone with his belief in free trade not fair trade, his climate change scepticism and support of Israel. He managed to give several book references as sources, including not only title, author but publisher also. He talked about opposing Europe and African dictatorships.

GREEN Caroline Lucas was in a class of her own, she answered the questions, engaged with the audience and won the argument. Particularly useful was her first hand knowledge of trade negotiations with the like of Mandleson, and her background with Oxfam.

Now as a Green Party supporter, you would expect me to support the Green Candidate, but this was the view of those around me also. I expected more from the others, perhaps they are so shell shocked by the expense scandal that they couldn't cope.


howard thomas said...

Did you have a Tory representative there?
Do you know what the Tory policy on an EU referendum currently is? because I am beginning to wonder if they themselves are aware of one!

Adrian Windisch said...

Nirj Deva (Conservative) didn't show up. I'm uncertain of any Tory policies, last year it was 'vote blue go green', now its 'vote for change'.

howard thomas said...

The Tory policy with regard to a vote on Europe is (as I have now discovered) to have a referendum -----providing that they are in government in time to be able to not ratify the Lisbon treaty.
Basically it is spin --because the Irish have to vote again in October and if they come up with the 'right' result this time it will be too late by the time Cameron makes PM.
DC is well aware of this and there is no promise to have any kind of vote on the European question if this turns out to be the case.
And we laughingly call our country a democracy!
I would say it is much closer to being an elected dictatorship.

Adrian Windisch said...

Democracy is the worst form of government except for all those others. Churchill.

I saw Nirj on the politics show today, he shouted repeatedly. I was not impressed.

Adrian Windisch said...

Here's a great clip of Caroline at her barnstorming best:

And this is Nirj Deva and Nigel Farage shouting and loosing any credibility (about 41 minutes in)