Tweet There was a good crowd in Tenby on Tuesday for the eighth in the series of hustings meetings. Around 80-90, I reckon.
As a follow-on from the televised debates, the first question asked each of the three London party candidates to explain why his leader should be PM, without mentioning any of the other parties. Nick Ainger just about managed that, John Gossage for the Lib Dems managed to convince precisely no-one that Nick Clegg was even in the running, and Simon Hart failed totally by basing his whole answer on an attack on Brown and Labour. He did, though, manage to fail to mention his own leader at all. Spectacular own goal. My contribution, as ever, was to point out that no-one in the room could actually vote for any of the three men concerned.
The hunting issue came up again, as might be expected. Once again, Simon Hart fudged his answer. Instead of making any attempt to justify either the practice or his own stance on it, he framed his response in terms of standing up for persecuted minorities in society. You could almost read the bubble above some heads - if he's not being straight about his own core issue, to what extent can we believe what he says on anything else?
It was the first hustings meeting at which we were joined by the UKIP candidate, but I doubt that anyone left any the wiser about what they stand for. Apart from being against "Europe" and in favour of cutting fuel duty, which were the only two themes about which we heard anything.
I personally like the question time format for meetings like this with other candidates, and I've enjoyed all eight in the series. They're a useful part of the democratic process, but I'm never sure how many of the audience are not already committed to one or other party. Certainly there have been some at each of the meetings, but never as many as I might have liked. For those who do come, it's a good way to compare and contrast - both parties and candidates.
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