Hustings mark general election

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As usual at election time, the candidates were asked to present themselves to their electors at a hustings. This time, there were two. The first was organised by the climate emergency action group Extinction Rebellion, and took place in Hastings on Friday, November 22. Three of the four candidates standing for election in the Hastings and Rye constituency took part, namely Peter Chowney of the Labour Party, Paul Crosland, Independent and Nick Perry, Liberal Democrat. Sally-Ann Hart of the Conservative party declined to come, her agent citing safety concerns.

Peter Chowney (Labour) addresses a question from the audience while Paul Crosland (Independent) looks at Sally-Ann Hart’s (Conservative) empty chair. Nick Perry (Liberal Democrat) is on the right

The hustings meeting was full to capacity and the discussion focussed on what the candidates and their parties (where relevant) would do to address climate change. The atmosphere was collaborative, friendly and informative. While many people went away wishing that more could be done, it was clear that climate change was a big concern for everyone in the room.

Extinction Rebellion is a global environmental group which explicitly eschews violence in making its arguments to address and halt climate change. It has a diverse group of supporters including medical staff, small business owners, civil servants, shopkeepers, religious leaders, students, creative artists, office staff, ex and serving police staff, manual workers, parents, children and many others, from all walks of society, across the world.

Sally-Ann Hart makes her point

The second hustings, this one in Rye, was organised, as has become traditional, by Churches Together and was held in St Mary’s Church on the damp evening of Tuesday, November 26.

This time all four candidates turned up to answer a diverse array of questions on subjects ranging from local transport (including the inadequacies of the Marshlink line), new homes built on the flood plain, affordable housing, travel in the EU after Brexit, pension age changes and which way did the candidates vote in the Brexit referendum.

Nick Perry speaks for the Liberal Democrats

By and large, everyone stuck to their respective party lines, kept more or less to their time limits and this year, unlike 2017, had virtually no barracking from the audience. If the answers were, at times, a little predictable in the way the main party candidates reeled them off, this might perhaps be attributed to the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates both being old hands at this, having survived several previous elections and hustings, whereas for the Conservative candidate, it was a newer experience and managed to bring forth an indication of the intensity of her belief in some of her answers.

With only two weeks to go until a general election, regarded by many of the politicians themselves as the most important that most of us will have ever taken part in, we have spoken to all the candidates on neutral territory – The Mermaid very kindly lent us the Boardroom there for the purpose and our grateful thanks go to them for this.

Image Credits: Paul Crosland , Seana Lanigan , John Minter .

13 COMMENTS

  1. It was disappointing that Sally-Ann Hart did not attend the XR hustings, she never replied to an email I sent beforehand either. If it was on police advice, then that throws up a big question as to why the other candidates and indeed the members of the public attending were not warned of the unspecified security threat. Following Boris Johnson’s non appearance on the leader’s climate change debate yesterday, it is deeply disturbing that the Conservatives have literally nothing to say about the biggest crisis of our time.

  2. For the record, Cllr Hart was also conspicuous for her absence at Rother District Council’s first Climate Change steering group meeting on Friday 18th November. She was the only group member not present.

  3. It baffles me as to why world’s governments do not have the same view as these so called Eco Warriors?
    Could it be they and their scientists do not agree with this scaremongering?
    Or could it be that said governments are determined to wipe out the the human race and all other living things by ignoring these drama queen protests?
    My money is on the former.
    Oh, and by the way, serious politicians such as Cllr Hart have much more important things to do. Such as save this country from the idiotic political and fiscal incompetence promoted by certain other wanna be MP’s.

  4. The Conservatives have been in power for 9 years and we still do not have a sustainable energy policy. Funding cuts have been made in support of solar power and wind farms at a time where other EU nations have increased support. Too many in the Conservative party, including the MP candidate Sally-Ann Hart, appear silent or skeptical about climate change. This is the most important issue of our time and to be absent from debate and discussion is unconscionable.

  5. I am concerned that Rob Lee the agent of Sally Ann Hart said that the decision for her to not to attend the Extinction Rebellion hustings was on advice from the police. (He also refused to discuss measures to address his concerns regarding her security). Non of the other candidates received this advice from police. When XR followed this up, the police said they were unaware of any such advice being given.
    This issue is of most importance and it must be established whether we are being told the truth. Clearly all candidates seeking to become our MP must be held to account. …our future is in their hands.
    I am not affiliated to any political party and have voted for different parties over my lifetime. I hope I would be making a fuss if I was being lied to by any of the candidates.
    I will be voting for the planet and am checking what policies our candidates have to tackle our climate emergency and species extinction.
    I want to see real commitment to tackling the climate emergency and am not impressed by reading that Sally Ann went to the theatre instead of debating the climate emergency with our other three candidates.

  6. Utterly agree Dr Camic!

    And do we want liars to represent us? When I asked Sally Ann Hart why she hadn’t come to the climate emergency hustings in Hastings she said the police had advised her not to come. I and others have asked her to prove that this is true and neither she nor her agent have done so. I don’t want someone who doesn’t appear to be able to speak the truth on this issue to represent me or anyone else in this constituency. If she cannot be trusted on this issue, what CAN she be trusted with? It’s not a good start!

  7. Well I don,t agree with any of the point scoring I see here.
    Right now I, along with the vast majority of the worlds population do not believe the end of the world is nigh. Who had the temerity to call this issue an ’emergency’. Urgent maybe but ’emergency’? Perhaps instead of writing here the authors could direct their bile towards China or India (perhaps even the USA) creators of much of the alleged noxious gases and garbage so often talked about.
    I can see this rag is being used to post politically driven comments that I can wager come from anti Tory parties? Climate Change is indeed useful ammunition.
    When are the Climate Change zealots going to get it into their heads, most of the population right now want some stability in the country? This means concentrating firstly on direct real life issues that have been ignored for more than three years. When we have some stability and a sensible (I live in hope) government then perhaps the Climate Change issue can be pursued more effectively.
    The past three years has seen an unending cacophony of anti democratic noise along with anti democratic activity that has kept this country in limbo. Forestalling any attempt at running the place even half properly.
    I, along with most, just want this nonsense curtailed and if Cllr Hart chooses to ignore the Climate Change zealots and concentrate on issues closer at hand then so be it.
    Oh, and by the way. Please don,t bombard me with any hysterical facts, figures or opinions that you think may convert me. Like the vast majority of the population I’ll be taking a balanced view of this issue. Not lying on the floor blubbering as I await the demise of the human population and our lovely planet.

  8. Clifford, you are 100% correct. There is NOT a climate emergency in the UK, and yes we have some big issues to sort in this country without being distracted. Climate change is happening and has been for millions of years.

  9. Kitty Cooper asks if we want liars to represent us, picking a politician who doesn’t lie is going to be a somewhat difficult task.

  10. Thats right Richard and Clifford, there is no such thing as climate change either in the UK or elsewhere. All those pesky scientists, international organisations and other experts across the world are telling porkies. As for all those people and animals already severely affected by climate change well thats just FAKE NEWS.
    We can all just calm down and wait for Santa’s arrival at the end of the month. That’s if all those flying pigs don’t impede the progress of his sleigh.

    • Krista,
      Oh dear, oh dear.
      I don’t see any criticism of scientist, experts or international organisations in my comment, or denial of news content. Merely a suggestion that we prioritise the way we run this country. And I noted there are too many people prepared to use the climate change argument as a political milch cow.
      I do know how you feel though, when something is important to ones self.
      I myself considered joining the Flat Earth Society. However a good few scientists derided the theories that the FES espouses. I was quite upset and was prepared to go to to London and find a smart set of railings to chain myself too. I even thought about gluing myself to a door at the Houses of Parliament.
      Fortunately common sense prevailed and I decided against such action. After all I have a job to do and I didn’t want the neighbors talking about me should I get taken away by the men in white coats (especially just before Christmas).
      Yes, we should all calm down and wait for Santa’s arrival. I’ve asked him for a flying pig. I just know they exist some where.

      [Note; this comment has been very slightly edited to meet our guidelines]

  11. Krista,
    Oh dear, oh dear.
    I don’t see any criticism of scientist, experts or international organisations in my article, or denial of news content. Merely a suggestion that we prioritise the way we run this country. And I noted there are too many people prepared to use the climate change argument as a political milch cow.
    I do know how you feel though, when something is important to ones self.
    I myself considered joining the Flat Earth Society. However a good few scientists derided the theories that the FES espouses. I was quite upset (although not hysterical) and was prepared to go to to London and find a smart set of railings to chain myself too. I even thought about gluing myself to a door at the Houses of Parliament.
    Fortunately common sense prevailed and I decided against such action. After all I have a job to do and I did’t want the neighbors talking about me should I get taken away by the men in white coats (especially just before Christmas).
    Yes we should all calm down and wait for Santa’s arrival. I’ve asked him for a flying pig. I just know they exist some where.

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