Friday, 20 April 2007

The truth will out

One of the strange things about 'fighting' a local election campaign is the almost complete lack of interaction with one's political opponents. Indeed, unless people in the local area take it upon themselves to arrange a hustings, then there is no opportunity at all for the different candidates to debate their policies with each other and, importantly, no opportunity for local people to quiz all of the candidates at the same time.

Until last night, we had not encountered candidates from the other parties at all in this campaign! We have seen a few activists round about while we have been campaigning in the town centres, but that's it.

Jamie had hustings tonight and last night - both in Cumbernauld - which brought together a wide range of candidates for the Scottish Parliament and local authority elections. They were organised by community councils and churches in the constituency.

Such meetings are really important in a democracy, because they allow for an opportunity to really debate issues in a transparent way, dig a bit further into the issues and allow voters to get closer to the truth.

One example of this has been the local Labour MSP's public comments on the closure of the A&E at Monklands hospital. She insists that she has been fighting this decision. However, tonight, we got closer to the truth. In fact, it was because she failed to fight the decision that one of the A&E's in the NHS Lanarkshire area would have to close in the first place, that it has come to this! It is no coincidence either that the other two A&E's saved from closure are both in PFI hospitals in the constituencies of the First Minister and Health Minister!

Without the forum of a hustings meeting, it is difficult to expose the truth behind Labour's political spin and bluster. The groups that organised these two hustings have done the voters of the local area a great service.

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