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Election Debates

From Kate Sweeny

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Hi all

First off, Greens believe in discussing policies, not personalities, so I’m not writing about Steph Booth.

However, people on the Steph Booth thread have been discussing the upcoming debates (Hebden on 25th Feb and Todmorden on 11th March). To our surprise and disappointment, we Greens are not being invited to either one!

I’ve known about the Tod one for a while, and have been trying hard to get the NUT to include me. To cut a long story short, they won’t.

The one in Hebden was news to me when I read this thread the other day. So far I’ve left 3 messages for Marcus at Hope Baptist Church, and am still hoping for a reply.

The wider issue here is whether the "main parties" should be allowed to carve up the political landscape as they please. I hope many Hebweb people will agree that they shouldn’t! I do feel a sense of personal frustration - I’ve put a lot of effort into preparing for the debates we’ve had so far, and there’s a consensus (including on this website) that I’ve put the Green case pretty well. How frustrating, then, that my reward is exclusion from the next round!

I’ll finish with a plea that anyone out there who fancies it to please organise some more debates - and include me!

From Kevin Duffy

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Why aren’t we surprised that the duopoly of British politics doesn’t really want change. They complain that people are not coming out to vote but then rig the pre election debates because they want to hog the political limelight. It’s a disgrace and I think the residents in the upper valley deserve better. If we are asked to put our faith in somebody in the next election, then give us the right to see all the candidates debate. But then, some can debate and some, definitely cannot.

From Kate Sweeny

Sunday, 14 February 2010

I can now add a little more information. Both Hilary Myers (Lib Dem) and Craig Whittaker (Conservative) have asked for the Greens to be included on the panel in Tod. I didn’t want to say this publicly until I’d got permission from them both.

We Greens think that the First-Past-The-Post voting system is the real culprit here. FPTP encourages people in the narrow view that there are only 2/3 parties that ‘count’.

I’ve been banging on about Proportional Representation for 35 years or so. How many more years till we get a sensible system?

From Kevin Duffy

Monday, 15 February 2010

It’s all coming out in the wash… Celebrity candidates trying to manipulate the electoral process… New Labour and The ‘Tony’ gang telling you what you should do. Don’t be surprised if the Sainted Blair arrives soon on our doorsteps to tell us that everything will be OK because we can trust him can’t we?

Steph Booth should do the right thing and stand down, but then that would show some moral courage wouldn’t it!

From Chris O’Connor, Independent candidate

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

I have an invitation to the NUT meeting on the 11th March, as a spectator, as there is only room for the three main parties and the secretary of the NUT who is flying in from New York???
Can you update me on the possible meeting on the 25th??
I love being excluded - Democracy at work in Calder Valley?

From Marcus Bull

Sunday, 21 February 2010

I’ve been away for a few days. Now spoken to Kate! On Thursday 25th February Hope Baptist Church are hosting a presentation on World Poverty from a Christian Aid staff member, and everyone is welcome.

From Chris O’Connor, Independent candidate

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Sorry I am unable to attend the meeting at Hope Baptist Church on World Poverty. I am visiting Ecobuild to check on the latest developments regarding energy saving. As a committee member of a large Housing Association I am always looking for new ways to save energy in social housing. Reducing energy costs for the elderly and disadvantaged has to be a priority for all of us.

From Kate Sweeny

Monday, 22 February 2010

As mentioned above, I tracked down Marcus, who was on holiday last week. The meeting this Thursday (25th) is a talk on World Poverty and I plan to be in the audience, trains permitting. There’s still an issue over the talk in April - just before the putative election - at which the Greens are being kept off the platform. Marcus is chasing it up!

In the meantime, the NUT are holding firm (or being intransigent, if you prefer) regarding the debate on 11 March. The local papers have put it on the front page, and we’ve had support from lots of sources. Many thanks, and keep it coming - this is about what kind of democracy we want!

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

A penny’s just dropped. The NUT… that’s teachers, isn’t it? The ones we pay to help instruct our children about (among other things) democracy, fairness, responsibility, citizenship, balanced debate, toleration, open-mindedness, generosity of spirit, freedom of speech, natural justice etc. And setting a good example.

From Gareth Binding

Sunday, 21 March 2010

After hearing rumours regarding my reasoning for attending the recent Education debate at Todmorden High School I would like to quell them and point out the following:

The main reason for attending was; I was concerned there may be attempts to disparage my Company in the wake of the Tribunal Judgement, having read so much misleading and untrue press coverage and given that Cool UK works closely with Todmorden High School, I felt it was my duty to attend.

I was subjected to an embarrassing discussion with the Head Teacher and the Chair as I was informed a complaint had been made that I made a gesture towards the Labour PPC on my arrival. I was then told I would have to leave, because if I didn’t Mrs Booth would withdraw from the debate.

I explained, I wouldn’t stoop so low as to make any gesture and went on to explain my main reason for staying and I further explained; I had lived in Todmorden for 14 years, two of my children had attended Tod High and Cool UK was currently working with both the school and Calderdale authority, any suggestion that I was there to disrupt the evening would have been ludicrous.

After they returned from a further discussion with Steph Booth I was told I could remain although no questions would be accepted from me and I had to sit out of her line of vision, I was pointed to where I was allowed to sit.

I sat silently through the whole debate and applauded the performance of the panel where applause was warranted.

It has been suggested Mrs Booth’s poor performance at the debate was down to my presence. For Mrs Booth’s sake, if she does get to parliament, I hope the House of Commons and the public at large will treat her with the same respect and reverence as I did that evening.

See also

HebWeb news: General Election Meeting report