Not a questionable dig at any partially-sighted/blind prospective MP, but a rubbish (perhaps badly-advised) pun-based observation of the church-hall meeting I’ve just been to. The four main candidates in our Ward attended a meeting that was meant to be Question Time in format and mood, but felt a bit closer to Blind Date. “Suitor number three, how would you withdraw… from Iraq?”

It was an odd imbalanced affair – Karen Buck has what they call a comfortable majority – and there was little, really, to separate what was said by the LibDem (bad mic-technique), Green (nervous climate scientist) and Labour (our Karen) speakers. Only the Tory fella, who looked every inch a Tory Boy toff (sorry, but he REALLY did) was not down with the panel on renewable energy – apparently there’s a balance to be had between cheap nuclear energy and saving the planet. Pff.

There was much talk of pensions because of the audience mix, which I’m pretty sure does not actually reflect the local demographic, but does perhaps reflect the fact that other people my age have better things to do with their lives. There was also much talk of Tony Blairs and of trust and, of course, Iraq. at which point the audience finally got agitated and almost blossomed into a slanging match.

I think there were probably more tetchy, old Tory grannies in the crowd, but we sat next to a Guardian-wielding old (50-something) beardy man who stared at the ceiling throughout. He kept nodding vigorously, sighing “YES!” and “Precisely!” at the Green candidate, and occassionally scribbling in the bit next to the cryptic crossword. There wasn’t much new to be heard (Tory boy claiming crime was out of control cos he’d seen a fire, LibDem saying they’d be nice) so we only stayed 50 mins, but it feels good to see the people in the flesh before making my mark.

Declaration: I actually voted for Karen B in the previous two General Elections. Last time I deliberated for some time between her and the Socialist Alliance candidate. In the end I did some research and found out that I liked the things Karen had raised and the way she voted in The House. Plus the Socialist Alliance guy turned out to be a fantasy novelist (as reviewed by Martin here). Writing for a living is bad enough, but his writing is just LIES!

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