Five of the Six candidates to become MP at the Oxford West and Abingdon constituency were there at the hustings. The candidate from the Animal Protection Party did not turn up. His partner is very ill. He has stood in this area, although he has never visited Abingdon, because of his strong objection to the animal experimentation at Oxford University which he sees Dr Harris as supporting.
Dr Harris spoke well throughout, and got a big laugh when he did not get the words quite right on his introduction, “…We are tired of the old two party politics, red and then blue, messing things up. This time it could be our turn to be involved…”
They have had a number of hustings together and this was the last of the tour. Green Candidate, Chris Goodall, did a good job promoting Green issues during the campaign, and at the hustings praised fellow candidates on some issues, and said where he thought the 3 main parties were not getting it right.
Nicola Blackwood was in agreement with him on the need to tackle climate change, the most numerous issue from Abingdon questioners. She has enjoyed the three and a half years on the canvas trail and hoped to carry on canvassing people if elected. Last time I saw her speak was at the selection in November 2006.
Ukip candidate, John Williams, said he was not a practised speaker, or politician, but came out with some good lines. He said that if the next government does not produce the most unpopular budget ever then they are not doing their job.
Richard Stevens, the Labour candidate, sat alongside. He was born on the day Margaret Thatcher came to power – something he described as ‘a painful experience’. He sounds like a hard working Oxfordshire County Councillor. So we are lucky to have all these good candidates to choose from.
Nicola Blackwood commented on one of Dr Harris’s pet campaigns – putting parliament back in control – that she would like to be able to support him in this but they could not both be in parliament together. There was a lot of agreement in this hustings put on by the Church in Abingdon.
The hall was crowded, and we were all missing the leaders debate on TV – which was a shame, but these candidates are more important to us than the leaders. One of them will become our MP for the next 4-5 years, and this was a good opportunity to see them directly.