Monday, 22 March 2010

SOUTH THANET HUSTINGS UNDERWAY?












I gather that South Thanet PPC's including our current sitting MP, gathered at Holy Trinity Church, Broadstairs on Friday evening to set out their stalls for the coming election, to a gathering of about 66 Thanet residents. Before I post up the report I have received from a correspondent who attended, I found it interesting as I searched for info on the candidates. Steve Ladyman and Laura Sandys are using the web well, but Trevor Shonk (UKIP) and Peter Bucklitsch (Lib Dem) are not so savvy. I have no pic or biography on Trevor and I hope the picture of the flaming torch bearer is the correct Peter Bucklitsch who seems to be on Crowborough Town Council? No biography of him either.
Anyway, here's the report:

'I was on Saddam's Hit-list' or so Laura Sandys, Conservative Parliamentary candidate for S. Thanet told the audience on Friday evening. Odd that since she opposed the Iraq invasion.
 
When I first got to vote many years ago, huge public meetings where candidates were heckled and arguments among the audience erupted were the norm but nowadays they are rarely held. Friday's event held in Holy Trinity, Broadstairs was a welcome opportunity for local church-goers to put questions to the main party candidates.
 
The rather too carefully stage-managed event for my taste featured about six questions put by members of Broadstairs and Cliftonville churches. The Lib. Dem. candidate was very late due to traffic problems so the evening started with Laura Sandys, Dr. Stephen Ladyman, Labour, and Trevor Shonk for UKIP who proved that his party has only one policy, 'get out of the EU' as he had nothing constructive to say on education, the NHS, trade or equality.
 
Laura Sandys ably demonstarted her PR credentials, name-dropping Tory grandees and talking a great deal about herself.She was heckled twice, just like in the old days, for not answering the question properly and for ducking the reference in a question to Lord Ashcroft's tax affairs.
 
She did say the Conservatives would be 'hands-off with schools and hospitals' so taxpayers' money would be given to these institutions but the politicians wouldn't interfere. On teenage mothers she said they would be put into mother and baby units rather than be given accommodation 'where their friends would be visiting at all hours'. Sounds a bit like turning the clock back to me when unwed mothers were sent away from their families because of the 'scandal' they caused.
 
On the topic of teenage mothers Dr. Ladyman said he preferred to educate young men in their responsibilities and to encourage young women to 'have ambition in life beyond having a baby early'.
 
When both Trevor Shonk and Laura Sandys raised the country's debt and misquoted statistics more likely to be found in the Daily Mail, Dr. Ladyman was able to give accurate figures and to show how we compared with other developed countries and how the government had saved the banks and protected the savings of those of us present. The question is now when best to deal with the budget deficit as if the wrong moves are made too soon the country will slip back into recession. He admitted the expenses scandal had been a traumatic time for him and other politicians. His expenses had always been available online.
 
 When a question was asked about green technology Laura Sandys did say a Conservative government would roll out a network of recharging units for electric cars but wasn't too pleased, it seems, to be told that the Labour Government had already agreed a £34m. package for just such units (although it seems from this weekend's news that not one council in Kent has taken up the offer).
 
The Lib. Dem. candidate, Peter Buckledge ( Ed: Bucklitsch), I think he's called, arrived about 90 minutes in so it's difficult to comment on his approach as he only had time for one question.
 
My opinion of the evening? I would have liked the chance to put supplementary questions to the candidates and feel that more opportunity should have been given to the candidates to reply to their opponents.
 
Were I neutral how would I have judged things?
 
 Laura Sandys is good on what she knows but needs to avoid the name-dropping as it doesn't impress and says more about her ego than her politics.
 
Dr. Ladyman is very well-informed and gets his points across positively.  When he was able, if he answered after the others, to point out their inaccuracies he did so politely and firmly but it was clear Laura Sandys isn't used to being told when she's wrong.
 
Trevor Shonk? Not a natural politician and he belongs to a single issue party although he did say it has a Christian ethos despite their refusal to give aid to the former Commonwealth as 'the money just gets spent on guns'.
 
Peter Buckledge? Couldn't say as he wasn't there long enough although he does have an odd idea that candidates shouldn't need to belong to the party for which they're standing. I thought that was one of David Cameron's ideas.
 
One final point. Laura Sandys needs to find which wards her campaign should be targeting as there was one resident present on the evening from Dane Valley who regularly gets Laura Sandys' leaflets delivered. No, sorry, Dane Valley will still be in N. Thanet and the Conservative candidate will still be Roger Gale.
 
 
 
 

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

As another who was there, the reporting is from a labour supporter that is clear! The liberal candidate is advocating politicians coming from outside the party and i am in favour of that - he suggests we should get away from those who are "brought up within the party" as researchers and then go onto be selected! Need people with life experience which i would wholeheartedly concur with!
What came out was that spending on the health service has tripled and that Steve Ladyman is a true labour party man and doesnt see why any faith or marriage for that matter should have preference over any other faith or union?

Anonymous said...

Couldn't the local Lib. Dems. find a candidate closer to home than a Crowborough councillor?

No wonder he was late arriving at the meeting.

Bertie Biggles said...

He had to come from Birmingham that day, so not surprised he was delayed. Hope I have the right guy in the pic though!

Anonymous said...

Yes that is the Lib. Dem. who was there.

Anonymous said...

Think the deluge of letters to David Cameron might be reaping fruits on thursday if another rumour is true?

Anonymous said...

I almost felt sorry for Trevor Shonk, almost,as he was so clearly out of his depth with two highly-skilled debaters each side of him. I was amused when he told the audience that his party sat mid-way between the Conservative and Labour Parties. Really? He is the UKIP candidate after all so somewhere to the right of any Tory, I think.

Puzzled of Thanet said...

17.41. What deluge of letters to David Cameron and what rumour?

Hardly fits with the theme of Bertie's posting but do tell us what you are referring to.

Bertie Biggles said...

21:01, I think that 17:41 is referring to quite a number of traditional Conservatives in Thanet, who as a result of the disgrace brought on the Conservative Party in Thanet by its Leader (2 Standards raps); its Deputy Leader (1 Standards rap); the absence of a Conservative Cllr in Panama and the admission of guilty by another Conservative Cllr to an animal cruelty charge, felt that Central Office needed to take an interest in Conservative led TDC and wrote to David.

The rumour 17:41 is referring to is the Conservative Group Meeting to take place this Wednesday (24 Mar)to elect a Leader for 2010/2011. The best information I have is that Cllr Bayford will emerge as 'Leader' designate to shadow and understudy 'Mauwice' until May. It would seem that no other 'hats' have been cast into the ring and not surprising as 2011 might result in a nasty shock for TDC Conservatives and the loss of a Tory Council to David.

Anonymous said...

Might also affect the result of South thanet election, especially if the tory lady is supported out canvassing with some of the tired old faces of local thanet tory councillors?

Anonymous said...

I have seen the Tory lady out camvassing but she was only accompanied by one young Tory-boy. Perhaps the Tory hierarchy was too busy doing something else.

Anonymous said...

As someone who attend the questions and answers evening on Friday, I was absolutely shocked by the utter poor performance of Trevor (UKIP). This man has no comprehension of British Politics and I must say he was a excellent source of entertainment that evening.

Laura Sandys came across confident, direct and she stuck to the questions. Yes she was heckled but it was overwhelminglely clear the gentleman was a stern socialist who could not face the fact that Ladyman has serious competition this election.

Taking all the emotion out of the evening, Im afraid to say Stephen Ladyman tried to impress us with his "wealth" of knowledge, unfortunately he did not realise that some of us
has been doing a considerable amount of research on him
and his party and found various discrepancies in his
answers that evening.

The Rock said...

I thought there was only one Holy Trinity church in Broadstairs but evidently mistaken for clearly the Thanet Strife blogger and I were at different meetings. Both main party representatives gave competent performances though Stephen Ladyman had to rely on more spin. Clearly there is little he can honestly applaud in the achievements of his party's government leaving our country so heavily in debt. As to the hecklers well what does one expect from that quarter. Whilst Stephen Ladyman was afforded the courtesy of silence whilst speaking the less refined of his supporters did not reciprocate the compliment to his opponent. Par for the course I'm afraid.

Bertie Biggles said...

Glad to see your comments 11.25 and 19.57 (The Rock is a recent blogger title?); wondered when we would get some alternative view-points.

Anonymous said...

What, two people called out, one of whom was the person who'd asked the question and didn't get an answer? Hardly World War 3.

Yes, Shonk showed that either UKIP is short of candidates or thought a local candidate was a better bet than one from elsewhere who might have had some knowledge of politics other than 'EU-bad'.

Anonymous said...

Why assume the two guys who called out were Labour supporters? There was a group from UKIP there and I assume some Lib. Dems. as well, in fact I recognised several that I know belong to the Lib. Dems.

The Rock said...

Suddenly the forthcoming hustings promise to be a bit more exciting as the halo of our hitherto apparently squeaky clean South Thanet MP, Stephen Ladyman, falls off. Here is the man who boasts of posting his expenses on line, even if he does claim the maximum permitted for food each month, exposed to accusations of nice little earners. He says he has done nothing wrong but £30K in the back pocket, more than many people in Thanet earn in a year, from a transport firm has to be questionable. Can't be bad getting £64K salary, more when he was a minister, £400 a month for food, wife on the payroll and now well stuffed brown envelopes. No wonder he paints a rosy picture of his government's mismanagement in order to hang onto his job.