Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Success !!

In a previous blog I reported that William Hague had refused to turn up to the hustings due this Friday (30/4/10) at the Methodist Church in Richmond (7.30 pm). I repeated this complaint in a letter to the Darlington and Stockton Times (see last blog).
On the doorstep, his constituents started to complain about being taken for granted. As the sitting MP with a large majority, Hague showed his complacency by touring marginal seats the length and breadth of the UK (including Northern Ireland) whilst being unavailable to his Richmond constituents. Even the Red Fox from “Make Cruelty History” could not find him (see the hilarious clip of the Red Fox failing to find anyone at William Hague’s campaign HQ at then scroll down to day 2. The only candidate that met the red fox face to face by the way, was me - see same video where I make my support for the hunting ban clear.)
After my letter was printed in the D&S Times, the Tories started to panic. For weeks they had made it clear that no one from the Conservative Party would be at the 30th April hustings. Then yesterday (Tuesday 27/4/10) a telephone call from the Church minister organising the hustings informed me that Anne McIntosh was going to appear in place of the “far too busy” William Hague. Ms McIntosh was made notorious during the MPs’ expenses scandal for having her gardening paid for (tax free) almost every month from 2004 until the Daily Telegraph rumbled her. Clearly an embarrassment to her Party, perhaps this was something to do to keep her out of the way?
But still, my letter had worked and the Tory stonewall was crumbling. Then the Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates, perhaps a little shaken by the prospect of facing “Rotweiler” McIntosh, complained that she was not a candidate. The Labour Party rang me to persuade me to join their opposition, but frankly I was looking forward to tackling Ms McIntosh about her MP’s expenses.
However, the minister rang me late this afternoon (28/4/10) to say the Tories had changed their mind again and William Hague was now going to come to the hustings after all!
SUCCESS! The Green Party had succeeded in getting Hague to meet his constituents. I rang Elizabeth, my press officer to tell her the good news, only to discover that she had just been told this by her press contacts. It seems that the Tories had informed the Press first, before anyone else.
But the bitter pill comes at the end. William Hague has appeared on TV and radio broadcast by the BBC and others on numerous occasions during this election. Last night on the BBC Look North Election 2010 he was introduced as the “Conservative candidate for Richmond”, a clear breach of broadcasting guidelines as the BBC had not invited me or the other Richmond candidates to the debate. In fact not once during this election has BBC North East invited me to appear on a programme. Now with their last opportunity to redress the balance, none of the broadcast media are going to attend the hustings. Even worse the newspapers are refusing to attend as well. Was that the reason why William Hague contacted the media first? He knows that facing his electorate will be embarrassment for him. So whilst William Hague basks in the spotlight of the media, his political rivals go unreported. This election is supposed to be about you electing your representative to Parliament. It has become a media circus of celebrities, with fair and balanced debate left out in the cold.

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