I had never attended a hustings before and I was assured that it would be interesting. I wasn't disappointed'
Like everything in politics we started with a tea break before a blow had been struck, and whilst it was very good (fair trade) stuff, and a credit to the churches which provided it, perhaps they should have asked the candidates to do some work first.
As to the parties, well Labour did not show up due to illness, which disappointed a lot of the audience who had clearly come to give the Labour candidate a good kicking, so perhaps his illness was tactical. If not then I apologise for my cynicism; Labour made me this way.
The Tory was a revelation. I had heard rumours of their existence in Scotland but had never before seen one in the flesh as it were. I believed that they existed like unicorns or yetis. Something to frighten children with who won't behave. He was clearly under some pressure on the issue of Trident when he told us that we had to have nuclear weapons to defend ourselves from the U.S.A. I rather switched off at this point and pretended not to be listening because I didn't want to embarass the man any further. I hope his carers managed to find him because he seemed nice, if unhinged.
The Lib/Dem, in a typical Lib/Dem compromise, torn between nuclear and non-nuclear, decided that she would get rid of half of our nuclear weapons and keep the other half just in case (of what I'm not sure).
The Scottish Nationalist candidate decided to promote their new 'ethical foreign policy' which considering their attitude to the English and the fact that their domestic policy is ethically questionable (they took the Souter money) seemed to be just a bit opportunistic. She also mentioned on two or three occassions how her party's policies were fair and just. She talked a lot about economic growth and increased prosperity, but she didn't tell us how this new found wealth would be shared out. I think she is just offering a rich boss with a different accent and all of her blethering about just and fair society is a smokescreen. There will be increased prosperity with independence, but if the Nats have their way it will all go into the same pockets it goes into now because the Nats offer no real social change. That's why the rich love them. This is not my kind of independence.
Solidarity put up a good candidate with really sound socialist policies, but they didn't seem to be very well fleshed out with specific policy committments. Perhaps it is early to be looking for that, but their man looked uncomfortable and I think he knows he has backed the wrong horse.
The Greens were green, what else can I say.
The Scottish Socialist (and my loyalties are no secret) was an old hand at hustings. He played his cards with some style, and he had the big cards for this audience. End trident, stop the war, build council houses, free public transport, scrap the council tax, and challenge big business to accept their share of social responsibility--I think we had the best of this evening.
The Chairman, parachuted in from the University of Paisley did a fine job.