My first hustings (with scores)

I’m not sure why I hadn’t been to a hustings meeting before last week, but anyway, this was my first. One of the local Church of Scotland ministers here in the Dumfries and Galloway constituency acted as a capable Dimbleby figure, a position he has held in previous GE hustings. The questions had all been submitted in advance.

I won’t bore you with the minutiae, but here are summaries from the four candidates representing Labour, the Tories, SNP and LibDems. The very first question was about a local sewage station and the candidates agreed, so I’ll start with the second question:

Q2) Somebody asked what could be done to help people have cheaper petrol and diesel in this and other rural areas when we rely on cars so much.

Labour candidate and outgoing MP, Russell Brown, claimed that the tax on fuel was greater pre-1997. It was also claimed that the SNP (Scottish ‘Government’) had increased rates for small filling stations so they pay the same per square foot as the big supermarkets.

The Lib Dem, one Richard Brodie, called for more tax on aviation fuel which is very lightly taxed compared to what we put in our cars. He was the only candidate who mentioned ‘global warming’ and carbon credits.

SCORES SO FAR: LAB 4; CON 3; SNP 1; LIB 0

Q3) The next question was a concern about a hung parliament and what compromises the candidates would be prepared to make to work with the other parties.

Andrew Wood kicked off for the SNP and said there would be no compromise on scrapping Trident, ID cards and the Scottish Office and rejigging the House of Lords.

Peter Duncan, who was our Tory MP before 2005 when New Labour stole the new constituency with their false promises, sensibly warned against backroom deals. He claimed that the most important thing was tackling poverty at home and abroad.

Labour’s Russell Brown wouldn’t compromise on benefits and pensions or, quite bizarrely, health and safety at work. I think Labour have done enough compromising on pensions all by themselves, don’t you?

The Lib Dem wants a “fairer society” with no income tax on the first £10,000 earned. I could go with that, but he didn’t mention their plans to add VAT to new houses. Funny that.

SCORES FOR THIS ROUND: LAB 0; CON 2; SNP 1 (for ID cards); LIB 1

Q4) The next question was posed by the minister’s teenage son, who asked about lowering the voting age to sixteen and about proportional represention.

The SNP chap put up a good argument for votes at 16. I disagree with him, but I will give him points for making me think more about it. The Lib Dem also wants votes at 16, and obviously PR. Labour’s Russell Brown was “still to be convinced” about votes at 16 and promised a referendum on voting reform. The Tory was also still unconvinced on votes at 16 and ruled out PR due to the importance of the link between an MP and his constituency. He also asked if we were prepared to accept the twenty or so BNP MPs that PR would produce.

SCORES FOR THIS ROUND: LAB 3; CON 4; SNP 2; LIB 0

Q5) Next up was a question from Tory councillor John Dougan about MPs’ expenses: how did the four candidates propose to rebuild trust and confidence?

The Lib Dem wants MPs to be required to have no other employment outside of politics. He wants House of Lords reform (naturally) so that peerages can’t be bought and wants ‘processes in place’ to prevent MPs fiddling.

The Tory says that MPs should view their job as a community service and that constituents should have the right of recall if they are not satisfied with their MP.

The Labour man promised a tighter regime in the next parliament and that every detail would be published. It will be ‘a world apart’.

The SNP chappie called, not unreasonably, for everything that was wrongfully taken to be paid back. He also issued a timely reminder that the power lies with the electorate. Well, it should, but it doesn’t because nine out of ten people still vote for the same old parties that promise, but never deliver.

SCORES FOR THIS ROUND: LAB 0; CON 4; SNP 3; LIB 0

Q6) A young lady asked why herself and fellow graduates had difficulty finding employment and therefore also housing, when single mothers seem to get everything they need on benefits.

The Tory said local people should have a priority when houses become available, which doesn’t really address the situation even if it might sound appealing. He identified that more needs to be done to address the changes in society that have increased the demand for housing.

The Labourite admitted there are fewer and fewer employment opportunities in this part of the large constituency and that there are “no easy answers” and also conceded there is a “real lack of housing”.

What a damning indictment of thirteen years of New Labour’s mismanagement! No jobs and no houses. Just millions of graduates with nothing to do, stuck at home with their parents. The situation is so dire that Russell Brown didn’t even try to weasel his way out with outrageous lies.

The Lib Dems propose a £10,000 income tax threshold and to bring thousands of derelict houses onto the market.

Mr Wood for the SNP correctly identified that more council houses are needed to replace the ‘right to buy’ sell-offs and reflect the changes in society. He claimed that the Westminster government has £300 million pounds for new affordable housing which they won’t release.

SCORES FOR THIS ROUND: LAB 0; CON 1; SNP 2; LIB 1

Q7) An elderly lady asked about euthanasia. It wasn’t clear if she approved or was worried.

The biggest surprise to me was that Russell Brown, outgoing MP for abortion-loving, warmongering, criminal-excusing, blood-stained New Labour ‘couldn’t support euthanasia’ and wanted more palliative care. Peter Duncan for the Tories was against ending life at either end. Mr Wood for the SNP wouldn’t rule it out completely, but as Mr Duncan said, where do you draw the line?

SCORES FOR THIS ROUND: LAB 3; CON 5; SNP 0; LIB 0

Q8) Sam Scobie, brother of Labour councillor Willie, asked about spending priorities and in particular about education and NHS cuts.

Of course, nobody would admit to ‘frontline services’ being in any jeopardy. The Lib Dems have apparently identified £15 billion worth of savings which can be made, including scrapping ID cards.

SCORES FOR THIS ROUND: LAB 0; CON 0; SNP 0; LIB 1 (for mentioning scrapping ID cards)

Q9) The final question was about us being cheated out of the referendum on the EU constitution.

Russell Brown claimed the Lisbon Treaty was totally different to the original Constitution (naturally). Mr Brodie for the Libs thinks Britain can be in the ‘centre of things’. Mr Brown claimed that an independent Scotland would need to reapply for EU membership. Like we’d want to. The SNP chap wants the UK to have the same relationship with the EU as Norway. He was reminded that Norway isn’t in the EU, but he was adamant that they are.

SCORES FOR THIS ROUND: LAB 0; CON 2; SNP 1; LIB 0

So let me tot up the scores and see who has won…….

Here are the results…..

1st – Peter Duncan (Tory) – 21 points

2nd equal – Russell Brown (Labour) – 10 points

2nd equal – Andrew Wood (SNP) – 10 points

4th – Richard Brodie (Lib Dem) – 3 points

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14 Responses to My first hustings (with scores)

  1. English Viking says:

    Norway is not a member of the EU, it is a signatory to the EEA, the European Economic Agreement. It is basically the same as the EEC was promised to be, namely trading agreements and standardisation of certain things like electrical current.

    Switzerland is also not a member of the EU but is a member of the EEA.

    Norway and Switzerland are the two richest countries in Europe. Funny that.

  2. Stewart Cowan says:

    Maybe that’s what he was thinking about, English. What Norway and Switzerland do has to be better than handing over £40 billion a year and getting part of it back on projects the EU wants to fund.

    And being handed an ever-growing list of dos and don’ts.

    The globalists won’t allow the UK to leave the EU.

  3. Subrosa says:

    English, that’s how I’d like an independent Scotland to be – a member of the EEA and not completely into the EU. Wonder if we’ll get a referendum…

  4. Stewart Cowan says:

    An independent Scotland outside the EU and governed by men of wisdom and integrity would be a wondrous place.

  5. English Viking says:

    I might be wrong, but I always thought that Scotland could not afford to be independent from England, even with the oil, especially as it’s running out.

    What would Scotland trade with other countries? I can see the appeal of Whisky, but porridge and men’s skirts are not going to fly off the shelves.

  6. Stewart Cowan says:

    English, Scotland is rich, or should be, via agriculture, fishing, forestry, tourism, export of food and drink, banking and insurance, engineering, oil and coal, film and TV.

    The place has been very badly run for a long time.

  7. English Viking says:

    Stewart,

    I don’t think that most English care one way or the other. If enough Scots want independence, let them have it.

    I also think it would be a very expensive disaster.

    PS ‘Banking’. Not RBS, surely?

  8. Stewart Cowan says:

    It probably would be a disaster if the current crop of politicians had their hands at the wheel. That’s why I said we need men of wisdom and integrity.

    I’m wondering why, if it works for Norway, you don’t think it would work for Scotland, which has a similar sized population, yet more opportunities.

  9. English Viking says:

    Hey Stewart,

    The difference is timing.

    Norway has been an independent country for only 104 years. Before that, it was either Sweden’s or Denmark’s, for centuries past. Upon achieving independence, Norway went on to be one of the poorest countries in the civilised world. It was backward in terms of transport and technology, with an over-reliance on just the things you hope Scotland will be able to export; fishing, forestry, tourism, etc.

    It is only since the discovery of North Sea oil and gas that Norway has become so rich. We still have vast reserves, and the cash generated was spent only on ring-fenced projects such as Health, Education and Transport. The sums of cash are hundreds of billions, to be split between a population of 4.5 million.

    I agree that Scotland could have been in a similar position, if it had gotten independence 40 years ago and was able to keep the money from the oil, but I’m afraid it has now missed the boat. The UK is now a net importer of oil and gas, the reserves in UK fields are increasingly small and increasingly difficult to extract, and Scotland would have to pay very significant costs to obtain the hardware (oil rigs, etc), upon independence. BP are not just going to give them away, are they?

    There would also be the problem of the UK national debt, currently around 1.4 TRILLION quid. Scotland has, obviously, played its part in the borrowing and spending of money that we do not have, so would have to be allocated its portion of debt.

    If Scotland achieved or declared independence, it would immediately be saddled with hundreds of billions of debt, plus a need to find billions to compensate BP and its shareholders, and all so it could stick to fingers to England. In 30 years time, when all the oil is gone, what would you do then? Man does not live by haggis alone.

    I think Scotland does OK out of the deal. A massive subsidy from the English taxpayer, so you can have stuff that we can’t, like healthcare for the elderly and education for the young. It also pays for things that we do have as well, like the enormous amount of benefit scroungers and professional layabouts.

    Face it, you need the auld enemy a lot more than it needs you.

  10. Subrosa says:

    A massive subsidy from the English taxpayer?

    Oh dearie me English, I didn’t expect you to pedal that myth.

    Elect politicians who WILL do what you want. That’s what we’ve done up here. That’s why we spend your ‘massive handout’ to us peasants in the way we do. It is our choice. You have made yours.

  11. English Viking says:

    Subrosa,

    I have never had a choice in these matters.

    It is not a myth that Scotland is subsidised by England. As are Wales and NI. You’re not suggesting that it is the other way around, are you?

  12. Stewart Cowan says:

    Scotland, Wales and NI get more money per head, but so do some regions of England.

    A properly run, independent Scotland would survive nae bother.

  13. English Viking says:

    Stewart,

    I never said that Scotland shouldn’t receive more money, it is part of the Union and should be nurtured, just like all the rest. What does annoy me is the apparent belief amongst most Scots that the average Englishman is to blame for his loss of land and liberty, and we sassenachs are making ourselves rich off the deal.

    Scottish politicians (Brown, Blair, Darling, Martin, Irvine, etc) have wrecked English law, the English economy, the English Parliament and have done so at a time when Scotland has never had so much benefit from the Union, with it’s own laws passed in its own Parliament, all frightfully expensive and mostly subsidised by the English taxpayer. All this, and Scots still seem to harbour a resentment to the auld enemy, and blame them for their ills.

    If the Scottish want independence (and they obviously don’t, otherwise Salmond would be King by now), let them have it, we really don’t care. But it must be a clean and permanent break, no running back when the money runs out, and no endless handouts to ‘former colonies’, for decades to come, a la South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, India, Pakistan, et al, ad nauseam.

    If the way Glasgow council is run is anything to go by, if Scotland did obtain independence, the chances of it being run properly by wise and moral men are slim to none, and slim just left town.

  14. Stewart Cowan says:

    English,

    I don’t actually know what most Scots believe on the subject. Contrary to popular myth, we don’t spend all night reminiscing about Bannockburn!

    I am ashamed of the politicians you mention, and many others, who have betrayed the whole UK. They are puppets of a larger and scarier global apparatus which requires us to be a divided nation (or nations) to break us.

    I agree, an independent Scotland would probably be a disaster with the current politicians in charge. It’s a tragedy.

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