Nancy and Caroline have everything to gain from Charlotte avoiding the Hustings

In a recent blog on her website, Chuck Vere reflects on whether to take part in hustings in the run up to the general election. In a later post she says “You see, if I am not there Labour and them Greens will fight amongst themselves – such a bad thing?”

I imagine the hustings in Brighton Pavilion will be most fascinating, and I can see why Chuck is in two minds about attending. Following the example of Labour in 1996/97, the Tories in 2009/10 are saying as little as possible in order to avoid making mistakes.  But unlike Labour in ’97, the Tories cannot assume an uncomplicated procession into Downing Street.  Its candidates are going to have to fight house to house and street by street in constituencies like Brighton Pavilion.  Hustings will be an important part of that.  Hustings at The Calvary Church will be just one of many that will be arranged.

What Chuck Vere has to do, and what she will find very difficult given the poor organisation of the Tories across Brighton Pavilion, is to get to meet and convince ordinary residents – those who have not moved to Brighton from London in the last five years – that she isn’t just another Tory on the make.  She may be comfortable at the Withdene Sportsman and in the company of members of the local Conservative Association, but how will she get on in Crabtree Avenue, in The Dip, and in Stephens Road.  When will we see her on the Number 46 bus? The Conservative Association is not strong beyond the outlying wards.

Caroline Lucas has the a similar problem, getting across to residents beyond the Muesli Belt where the Greens are particularly strong.  Caroline has momentum but not a strong organisation across the constituency.  Nancy Platts, who is running the most energetic campaign and who is seen around all wards, and understands why the bells tolling this evening at St Peter’s Church is significant, is hampered by a local Party on its knees.

The outcome of a three-way split, in an election campaign being waged by three extraodinary women, may be decided by hustings.  On that basis I would be delighted if Chuck Vere failed to show as it would give the edge to Nancy and Caroline.  However, in the interests of democracy I hope she will be there.

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One Response

  1. Baps, it is my great pleasure to inform you that I have already decided that I will be at the hustings…. herewith highlights of my email to Rev Wells at The Calvary:

    “With regards the hustings, I am in principle very keen to accept. As you know my main concern is that it has the potential to become a set-piece event with a partisan audience and therefore of very little benefit to me. I hope that you will do everything to ensure that we can have an open and honest discussion of the issues, both locally and nationally, and I am happy to talk this through with you.

    In order to ensure an open discussion, I would favour a short, say three minute, intro from each candidate, and then straight into pre submitted questions from the floor which are moderated by an independent adjudicator and not shared with the panel in advance. I feel that the danger of pre-prepared questions is that candidates start spouting party policies rather than speaking from the heart”

    So, I am looking forward to a wide ranging discussion of local and national policies and how each party intends to pay for them! Can’t wait!

    BTW, you won’t spot me on the 46 bus as if I am heading up to Hollingbury I will have boxes of leaflets with me, so will probably take the car.

    Look out for the team in Patcham tomorrow – the local Tories are turning out in force – even on a Wednesday morning.

    Best wishes,

    C

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