It was my first election hustings.
If you think this is a teenager eager to learn about ‘my’ new world of politics, not so.
I have always found general elections a fascinating exercise in human nature and of course the democratic process which we are privileged to have and to share with the FREE world.
You experience the lot – good intent, devotion, passion, community calling, party politics, the politically ambitious, the eccentrics/exhibitionists, a lot of wishful thinking and much inexactitude. I particularly like watching the body language of the party leaders (and the candidates) as they avoid the difficult questions and deliver prepared party answers. No one wants to make a mistake.
We had much of this at the hustings. Call me old-fashioned (I am retired) but I was not impressed when one candidate could not be bothered to turn up and another was late. The event was only a few days before the vote that counts.
I should mention the polls or indeed the poll of polls and we are not talking about UKIP’s anti-immigrant policy here. Wrong kind of Poll. How could the pollsters get it right for Scotland and not for the rest of UK? Apparently one pollster had the result about right but was afraid to publish!
Back to the hustings. The questions were pre-ordered and then selected by the chairman who thought he was being fair and tried to cover the main areas of interest both locally and nationally. As with the TV companies these occasions do not come alive until the questions come direct from the ‘electorate’.
Despite the ‘alleged’ problems with our economy in Cornwall there was no question on that subject and when raised from the floor no appetite for it to be put to the candidates! Strange.
Election night started with a ‘bang’ when the Exit poll showed what we had actually been up to. It just got worse for all those who thought we were heading for a hung parliament. Gone was all the hype and speculation as to who would go to bed with whom. There were a lot of disappointed small parties and some not so small.
Then to ‘cap’ it all we had Paddy Ashdown promising on TV to eat his hat if these polls were right. Then in true party style refusing to stick to his promise (sorry Lib Dems), but there you go.
The newly laid pavement outside the BBC turned blue – just as well they had enough tiles in blue and yellow. Poor Sophie who had drawn the short straw.
Back to the hustings – it is sad that the strongest candidate of the evening was well down the final list when all the votes had been counted.
Why were there so many empty seats, and why was the average age of those attending well above middle age?
… and finally ……………………… what happened to Ed’s stone?