The circus came to town last night when the local StTW
group organised a hustings debate, chaired by a churchman (either St John's or Augustine's- sorry, nameless sir) for fairness. Our NuLab MP Nigel Griffiths
, declined to attend fearing a biased meeting, yet all other candidates including the pro-war Tory attended. Left to right: Graham Sutherland (SNP), Gavin Brown (Tory), Steve Burgess (Greens), reverend chair, Marilyne MacLaren (LibDem), Morag Robertson (SSP)
And here is the closest we got to meeting our MP Nigel Griffiths- his giant grinning head on his constituency office. He prefers that we would speak to this, or to the hand, because the person ain't listening.
Anyway, it was a very 'Edinburgh South' gathering- a polite, muffled audience listened to each candidate in turn, even the Tory, applauded them all, and didn't interrupt, much less heckle or hiss. Spotted the usual miscreants there, including Elaine and Toch from WordPower
bookshop. Nothing could've been further from the hustings goings-on in Beffnow Green & Bow. Perhaps to aid this very restrained, moderated exchange, questions were collected from the audience and selected by the Rev chair.
There were a large number of questions submitted. My question 'Given the war on Iraq, what does democracy mean to each candidate?'
, was not asked, nor was this really expected as the audience appeared mostly people who value and believe in their vote.
However, there were very appropriate questions posed not just on local issues but on globalised capitalism, arms trading and nuclear weapons. The speeches by the SNP candidate, Graham Sutherland, and Marilyn MacLaren (LibDem pretender for the seat) were the most 'parliamentary' in character, and both have considerable campaigning experience, which showed. Steve Burgess, who is a researcher for the Greens at the Scottish Parliament, was modest but sincere. He doesn't use the bluster of the parliamentarians (maybe a good thing), presented well and appealed past winning this election to changing the world. Same for Morag Robertson, a teacher, who did well for the SSP and worked in good criticisms of Nigel's arms trading record, the war and immigration. The nearest we came to a stooshie at the hustings was at the end, when an unknown audience member asked for an Iraqi paediatrician to be allowed to speak. He was the only non-candidate given time, and turned out to be a pro-war proponent though it took 7 mins for him to get there.
The lack of even election leaflets much less door-stepping so far by candidates has been most disappointing, with only 2 weeks to go. I've had one leaflet (from the LibDems), and no opportunity whatsoever for the arguments on the threshold which I've enjoyed in the past. However, I live on the very last street still within the constituency boundary and it may be a while till they work their way out to me.School news:
I have to check this, but I'm nearly certain that Edinburgh South candidate Graham Sutherland (SNP) is dear son DoDo's Modern Studies teacher at the local comprehensive, known to the kids as 'Sundo'. This tickled me pink, because he actually spoke very well for an SNP (I admit prejudice here), and has encouraged DoDo with excellent marks and discussion in class. From what DoDo says, 'Sundo' lets the kids tease him about his beloved cat, of whom he is inordinately fond, by steadfastly refusing to understand the kids' earnest enquiries. 'What colour is your pussy, Mr Sutherland?', 'Does your pussy like to be stroked, Mr Sutherland?', etc.
While I'm thinking of DoDo, I was also amused by a comment made of him by his English teacher, who is in the same dog-walking community at the Hermitage park, to my mum. "Strange boy- imaginative, daydreamer. Very large vocabulary." That about sums DoDo up, and unless 'Sundo' continues to give him good marks I'll spread school stories further. If I'm correct about Sundo's indentity, I have a spy in the SNP camp.Pussy news:
I also include here at popular request from Sau and others some pussy photos. The first is her being haughty, the second completely whacked on catnip. Which type is preferred?Haughty catStoned cat'Today' (R4) Watch:
'Listen again' to AL Kennedy (amongst other writers) speaking at the end of Today this morning on the election and lying (8.45 am on). She only gets in a few comments, but it's great to hear her voice.