Some commentators have decried the increasing use of televised election hustings in Britain as little more than an American import. There may be some truth in that but broadcasters and political party leaders couldn’t agree on a format and sulked. Yet, ironically, ‘on-the-stump’ hustings have been a historical feature of election campaigns for a long time. In the past, prior to the long drawn out journey towards universal suffrage, that may have only involved the sitting MP informing local constituents that he would still be there MP. Hard to believe, for some at least, that there were electoral constituencies (known as ‘Rotten Boroughs’) with no more than a ‘handful’ of voters based on property ownership and assets.
Just as importantly, a televised debate is hardly the same as a public meeting in a local High St hall. What seems to have rattled some commentators is that three most radical left contributors to the TV debates have all been women. SHAME ON THEM! Natalie Bennett, Green party leader, may not be the most confident of public speakers but she has still stood head and shoulders above the blokes. Nicola Sturgeon, Scottish National party leader, wiped the floor with the blokes. It’s probable that, outside of Wales, no-one had heard of Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood, but she ‘gave-as-good-as-she got’. It was telling that at the end of the recent ‘opposition’ leaders debate the three women embraced and the blokes stood by looking awkward and sheepish. (Note: if Farage wants to be taken seriously he really ought to find himself a better researcher. BBC leftwing? The corporation’s chief political editor was a leading member of the Federation of Conservative Students.)
Is it all on a ‘knife edge’? If it is I wish someone would jump. (“That’s not very nice Roland.”) No it isn’t is it. Sod off! ✪