Weymouth College Hustings: A Local Students View

This was my first published article. My take on my local hustings in 2014 for the Dorset Eye.

A Hustings is not a barn dance, as the name may suggest. It is a panel of local politicians who have come forward to answer questions put to them by the local constituency. One at a time they come forward, repetitively dance around questions and each other to the tune of the smartly dressed woman on a podium.

Nothing like a barn dance… Despite the bell.

Richard Drax, of the Conservatives, sat farthest to the left addressing the crowd in media crafted PR tones. Preaching his piece on businesses, how the local council should encourage businesses, the deficit, and how it was going to be solved by people who work in businesses.

Simon Bowkett of Labour, sat as far away from him as possible and said his piece on jobs, how the local council should encourage more jobs, the deficit, and how it can be dealt with by creating more jobs.

Howard Legg, unsurprisingly, of the Lib Dem’s (his joke not mine), hung close to Richard Drax’s arm, and stuck to his plan to review what’s happening and then make a new plan.

Jane Burnett of the Green’s was remarkably short on green. Instead focussing on not cutting the public sector (except Trident), taxing the wealthy and the banks, the deficit, and banning fracking.

The Independent’s, neither of whom I would sit next to on the bus, shared opinions on a string of numbers and statistics Marvin Shrewsbury was very scared of, to which UKIP nodded enthusiastically. Apparently the government is lying to all of us, who knew?

I don’t know why Andy Kirkwood was there, since according to him we don’t live in a democracy, it was all very Orwellian.

And then there was UKIP…. Ah…. UKIP.

The only candidate capable of saying that the majority of the jobs in this constituency are involved in industries dependent on tourism, and recommending Trident move into Portland, both in the same breath.

After the overture, the floor was ‘opened’ to a handful of pre-chosen questions, to be given in a specified order.

The most intelligent question I consider was ‘Why has no one given details on how to cut the deficit?’ (Directly in front of the Weymouth College theatre department’s giant glittery scissors, which was cynically very pleasing.)

To this everyone declared that they had, then referred to their literature and asked us to cast a vote in the pretence that we live in a democratic society. Except for the Conservatives, I don’t remember what he said but it must have been convincing because I now find myself without my right kidney, my first born child or my soul.

Overall it was very enlightening.

Labour came out of it looking pretty good. Conservatives were dodging questions Matrix style. Lib Dem’s sat very neatly in a Richard Drax shaped shadow. Green set up a nice flag, everyone definitely knows where they are now. The independents sent up some nice flags, everyone knows where to avoid now. And UKIP…. Ah.…UKIP.

Heather Livings