Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Political Exclusion Zone in place
With the latest news that, following the NUT's example at the recent debate in Todmorden, the Churches Hustings are excluding the independent, Chris O'Connor, UKIP representative, Greg Burrows, and Kate Sweeny, the Green Party candidate, it would now seem that there is a political exclusion zone in place to make sure that no-one votes for any party in the Calder Valley other than the "big three", i.e. to maintain the status quo.
Of course, the majority of the local electorate will vote for either Steph Booth, Hilary Myers or Craig Whittaker. They have the history, the organised and polished policies and the budgets to make sure that, to some degree or other, tribal voting patterns will ensure they retain their deposits.
But what about those people who feel disenfranchised by the current arrangements?
If we take a look for a moment at the offerings of the three candidates excluded, one party had the second highest votes in the European elections, another is not only very popular in the Upper Valley, but part of a groundswell movement linked to the sustainable development of low carbon economies right across the world, while the third appeals directly to the voters who are apalled by the recent shenanigans surrounding the (still ongoing) MP's expenses scandal and the bankers bailouts.
All three candidates actually have messages that strike a chord with a great many people, so why are they left out?
Surely the churches have no political agenda?
All credit to the organisers of the Lightcliffe debate, who did manage to include everyone, but it looks like that may be the only time we get to see them all together.
NB. For those who aren't aware, the original debate I had organised, not only had Kate Sweeny included, but Chris O'Connor had also been invited. At the time Greg Burrows hadn't declared himself as a candidate so, for that reason only, wasn't included.