In just under a week we will be asked to choose who will represent us in one of the most important parliaments for years: one that will vote on all sorts of measures to bring down the national debt and which will affect us all one way or another, and one that will make crucial decision over national security, Europe – pretty much everything really.
So what have the candidates for representing us been doing to communicate with us about their views on such important topics?
We’ll start with Kevin Barron, our MP for the last 27 years. He’s sent me a leaflet that didn’t say much, and covered nothing in depth. He has been spotted outside the Co-Op.
Lynda Donaldson (@LynDonCllr) tweets a fair bit, but largely about how rubbish she thinks Labour are, and how well her campaign is going. She also uses the phrase ‘Time for change’ a lot, but never says much about her views or Conservative Party policy. I’ve not had a leaflet from her.
Will Blair did deliver a leaflet. I didn’t know he was standing until it came. It contained exactly the sort of ill-informed, misleading unpleasantness I expected it to. I understand he has also been delivering slightly more in-depth leaflet which was illegal as it didn’t contain details of who his agent is, but I haven’t had one of those.
I’ve heard nothing at all from the other candidates.
It’s a pretty poor show really. There have been two hustings I know of, and I only know of them because I rang up to ask – and even the people in Kevin’s office didn’t know about them, they had to ask the agent and call back. The candidate for the Conservative Party and BNP didn’t attend one of them, and I suspect they were both in the day when most voters couldn’t attend. Certainly no-one went out of their way to publicise them.
As far as I know there has been no husting anywhere which has been at a time when most people can attend, and if there has been it certainly hasn’t been advertised.
I actually spoke to Kevin on the phone in the week, after trying to contact him for several months. I got to speak to him even though I explicitly told the person who put me through to him twice that it wasn’t a good time for me. Nonetheless we had some sort of discussion in which Kevin didn’t seem quite sure whether the car scrappage scheme was a policy done for environmental reasons or economic ones, but it didn’t matter as he was unable to justify using either. He was also less than clear on what benefits he thought the Identity Card scheme he repeatedly voted for would have brought, and tacitly admitted that the cards would eventually be cloned, which to my mind makes the whole thing an expensive waste of money.
The most interesting part of the conversation with Kevin Barron for me was when I asked him why the Identity Card scheme had been changed from being a compulsory scheme to a voluntary one, and whether or not that undermined whatever advantages he thought the scheme might bring. During this part of the conversation Kevin gave the reason that the legislation had been changed was that ‘people didn’t like it’ – no ideological or economic justification, just that it was unpopular. This rather suggests that the whole multi-billion pound white elephant was only conceived in the first place to be popular: if there was ideological conviction behind it then surely a strong mandate such as the Labour party had was justification enough to impose it, regardless of the perfectly valid objections that it wouldn’t work and yet was a massive invasion of privacy.
I asked Kevin if we could email about other issues I want to ask him about, but he replied that he didn’t want to as I’d put them on my blog, and he didn’t understand why I would want to put them on here.
I patiently explained to him why his views on various issues might be of interest to the voters of the Rother Valley as he really does seem to have forgotten that we exist, but he was unconvinced. I had to leave the phone conversation at that point, but promised Kevin I would email and explain further why it is important that his views are know to those he seeks to represent – hence my earlier post.
Kevin Barron has not yet replied to this message, or the follow-up message.