This is a guest post description of the election hustings in the Star Leisure Centre, with grateful thanks to D. For an alternative view of the hustings, you might like to try this site.
The main headlines (at least in my view) are that Plaid Cymru’s Luke Nicholas and the Lib Dems’ Bablin Molik have both seen their election
prospects go up in smoke.
They were forced to admit that their respective parties had initiated and supported the controversial Splott Viridor incinerator project.
Both claimed that personally they were totally against it – but eventually had to admit, under questioning from the audience, that
their respective parties had supported the project.
The second issue was that Stephen Doughty (Labour) and Craig Williams (Conservative) were both “no-shows” . Substituting for Doughty (but
leaving the meeting early after barely an hour) was Vaughan Gething AM. The excuse he gave for Doughty’s absence is that he was attending
a “prearranged event in Grangetown with Owen Smith the Shadow Secretary of State for Wales”. (The Communist candidate Robert
Griffiths said if it had been him he would have cancelled Owen Smith and given the hustings meeting priority.)
Questioned on whether an incoming Labour government would scrap plans to replace the Trident system, Gething floundered and said he had
“genuinely had no idea what Stephen’s position is on nuclear weapons”. As he left Gething got into an altercation with a member of
the Splott anti-incinerator campaign who has asked him to make a donation. He refused – and left, but was.clearly so riled by the
encounter he returned to the meeting to remonstrate with the woman – accusing her of showing “lack of respect”.to him. It was great fun.
Meanwhile David Melding AM substituted for Craig Williams whose excuse was that he and his wife had had to take their baby to
hospital. Frankly I don’t think either excuse was acceptable – particularly Doughty’s – whom people at the hustings meeting accused of displaying
“discourtesy” and behaving as if the election was “already in the bag”.
The Green candidate Anthony Slaughter actually acquitted himself quite well. Slaughter criticised the incinerator project pointing out
that all the main parties in the election had been complicit in letting this scheme go ahead – including the Lib Dems and Plaid Cymru.
He said the combustion by-products from the incinerator would affect Penarth as well as Splott and Cardiff Bay .
Mr Slaughter also drew special attention to the poor air quality in Cogan which he said was “One class of people being submitted to the
emissions of another class of people” and pointed out that if the entire world behaved like America we would need 9 planets to live on
(six, apparently, everyone on earth lived at the UK’s standard of living).
The Socialist Labour Party’s candidate Andrew Jordan was the third “no-show” of the night – so a stand in represented him (badly)
The UKIP candidate, Simon Zeigler, who is reported in the Penarth Times to have once been a butler to the Earl of Faversham said he had
been a left-winger all his life and a committed trade unionist who had once been a local Labour party chairman and worked in transport house
and the House of Commons (as a waiter). He admitted that whilst there, he had actually tried out the green leather seats (on both sides of
Somewhat to the astonishment of the audience – which contained quite a few trades unionists – Zeigler said that if elected he would press for
the immediate abolition of the Thatcher anti-trade-union legislation. Asked by a bemused audience if this was UKIP policy – he said it was
HIS policy – and that UKIP itself didn’t have a policy on trade unions.