Friday, February 24, 2006

London Hustings...........

My usual reason for being in Friends Meeting House is a Stop the War gathering or a Unison conference.......this was.......a bit.....different (not quite so much heckling for one thing)! I have to say it reminded me of my very first hustings, standing against SWSO candidate Tony Greenstein (who anyone of my vintage involved in NUS - circa Dave Aaronovitch, Trevor Phillips and Sue Slipman - will remember). But I think the word they used to describe me was..........fascist!

I took my friends Yasmin (she of the contraversial play "Bells" fame) and Vyv.....who had never been to hustings in their lives before, and who both, I am glad to say, thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Yasmin (who Simon managed to succeed in persuading to join the party in 15 minutes where I had failed miserably for the last 15 years) not only wants to join but is planning to come to conference next week.........

So what of the event, once we got past the slight interuption. It was my third hustings, fourth if you count Meeting the Challenge (well who knows when we will get such an opportunity again - unless we get a caretaker Mr Campbell or Mr Idon'tknowifi'mamillionaire Huhne - whom I predict wouldn't last five minutes), so I was particularly interested in whether the questions would winkle out any of the hidden agendas.

The differences did emerge over Iraq, why on earth does Ming not see the reality that we are part of the problem and not part of the solution? Our forces have frankly been totally discredited and sold down the river by this government (and I say this as an ex soldier who has served on active service), we are certainly putting them and the Iraqis at greater danger by leaving them there.

My particular concern I have to say is where the party goes in its approach to public services - the only virgin territory left for the piranhas in the private sector hungry for new blood. Of course that is one of my main policy reasons for supporting Simon, only he will fight to maintain public services in the public sector, frankly Ming shows little interest and is unlikely to put up any sort of a fight, and despite all his protestations that he somehow straddles orange book and social economics I was totally unconvinced by Chris's rhetoric - the subtext is deeply worrying. Tristan, tell me why I am wrong?!

So next week it'll all be over allegedly.........but with all the twists and turns of the last few weeks, maybe there'll be that final, unexpected, sting in the tail?!

And life will return to................normal?

No comments: