Hustings time again – Local elections 2022
When I recently posted my blog: “Local election time and the Confelicity Party”, I expressed a hope at the end: “While, in the past, I have despaired of the fickleness of the electorate in their voting decisions (and this has nothing to do with my political views), I am still hopeful for an engaged, intelligent electorate and voters will consider what each candidate is offering and vote accordingly, and that in the end the best candidates win”. The truth is, often all we have to go by, to decide who to vote for, is a leaflet through the door and, if we are lucky, we may get to meet some of the candidates. Many will come to a view, often based on who they consider represents the best (or least of all evils) of the political parties most candidates will align with. While I get why some believe this should be an important factor in local elections, I take the view that the person I vote for should be the one I deem will do the most good for his/her Ward (thus my passion for hustings) and have in the past voted for candidates from different parties.
I am a great believer in hustings (meetings at which candidates in an election address potential voters) but recognise these have fallen out of vogue in recent years and, given voter apathy, only a few choose to attend. Besides which, many of these already support one or other candidate and are unlikely to change. It is made even more difficult when the candidate already in office and likely to win (because that the way the system is) declines to attend, as in the case of James Duddridge, the MP that represents my neck of the woods. Even so, for the good of democracy, making those who make decisions on our behalf more accountable, I believe hustings are worth having and is why in the past I felt it worth making the effort to get involved in organising hustings. I am delighted, therefore, that in my ward, St. Luke’s, we are going to hold a hustings next Thursday (one week before the Southend Local Elections take place – see poster above for details), in which I am pleased to be part of the supporting act.
Between now and then, I will be strictly neutral and, even if tempted to express a preference after the hustings I will likely maintain that stance, well aware when I have come out in favour of one or other candidate it usually was the kiss of death. Meanwhile, I will be supporting my colleague Steve, minister of Ferndale Baptist, who are already involved serving the community, working with its three current councillors (all from different parties), such as tomorrow’s “litter pick” (10am if you want to join us) in Cluny Square. We want to prepare for and publicize (do spread the word) the hustings as best we can. We hope to put on a good show for the hustings (28/04/22 1930-2130) including asking searching questions submitted by residents and, naturally, showing strict neutrality.
Please do come along if you can and enjoy a stimulating time and do your bit to bring back power to the people – and thank you to all of the candidates who have agreed to join us (two couldn’t due to other commitments) and good luck to all! Watch this space for a report!