Readers, as the Green Party candidate for Hemel Hempstead, I had the pleasure of taking part in two hustings for that constituency so far. One was in Hemel Hempstead, the other was in nearby Kings Langley.
So far, with one week having gone since nominations closed for the general election in UK constituencies, here are my thoughts on elections hustings and debates
All validly nominated candidates should be invited to election hustings, whichever banner they are standing under.
Although last night's election hustings in Kings Langley was inclusive, having invited all candidates including myself and independent candidate Brian Hall, many other general election hustings unfairly excluded candidates from 'minor parties' and also independent candidates. The Churches Together hustings in Witney, where Prime Minister David Cameron is defending his seat, was particularly unfair and undemocratic-minor candidates were not even permitted to attend these particular hustings, let alone be on the panel, as was prominently reported by Wessex Regionalist leader Colin Bex; press photographers were also excluded from these hustings for reasons unknown. 'Lack of time' should never be an excuse for excluding any candidate from a hustings panel-time should be made so that all candidates who managed to get themselves nominated on ballot papers can have their views heard, for democracy's sake.
Just because candidates wear identical rosettes does not mean they are identical.
Even though parties have national policies and manifestos, you will find if you come to an election hustings in different constituencies that not all candidates from the same party necessarily agree on important issues (e.g. on the issues of HS2 and Trident replacement). Candidates are people as well, and each person is unique in at least one way.
Playing the 'blame game' does not solve any problems or address real issues.
The main point of election debates is to explain to voters why people should vote for a political party or candidate-not for candidates to blame each other's parties for past mistakes. In these times, local and national priorities need to come first.