Last night, along with a hundred or so others, I went to the local hustings at the Cathedral. According to wikipedia the word originally meant ‘house thing’ and was a gathering of the whole household of an important figure.
I guess you can see the connection.
Last night there were half a dozen candidates on the platform, with Bishop Tim wearing Jonathan Dimbleby’s hat, and sometimes his voice. The only MP there was Jon Ashworth, who also happens to be our member. I know that he’s well thought-of locally, and I can see why: for a politician he came across as genuine and personable: however, he has a tendency to toe the party line even when he disagrees with it, so I won’t be voting for him. The others were representing, in various capacities, the Greens, the Lib Dems, the Tories, TUSC and UKIP. The discussion was perfectly civilised, but I found it somewhat weak and lack-lustre. None of the candidates spoke with any real passion or conviction: the person who came closest was the Lib Dem guy (also the only Asian there) who did at least seem to believe in what he was saying. However, they’ve made such a terrible fist of being in government that I wasn’t even slightly tempted to vote for him. The Green party candidate was warm and fuzzy but frankly wet, and said hardly anything about the environment – in fact he said hardly anything about anything. What the TUSC * guy said was good, but he said it without a spark of passion, and the Tory was frankly awful. He didn’t seem to know what he thought about anything, had trouble defending government policy, and stumbled over more than one question.
But the worst thing about this debate was that, in a panel of six candidates, not one party managed to offer a woman speaker. In fact, so male-dominated was the debate that I was the only woman to speak at all – and that was when I asked the question why, in 2015, when we have had a national TV debate split 50-50 gender-wise, this hustings couldn’t muster even one woman to speak.
I’ll still be voting Green in spite of the wet guy, because I like their policies and because there’s no Left Unity candidate locally.
And so we walked back under the stars to our house-thing.
Incidentally, have any of you Leicester people noticed that they’re changing the lamp-post bulbs? They’ve replaced them with LED, which are brighter and presumably more energy-efficient. They also light downwards, enabling us to see the stars more clearly.
PS Oh! And I heard today that Leicester Cathedral are getting more than 2000 visitors per day! I shall probably see some of them as I hie me to Sound Cafe…
*Trade Union and Socialist Coalition