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Grantham Journal column: Hustings was not a democratic process

By Dr Gillian Sutherland

Peter Clawson.
Peter Clawson.

Whatever the outcome of the general election and the best efforts of the organisers of the so-called hustings in St Wulfram’s Church, the fact remains that a large part of the Grantham and Stamford constituency voters were effectively disenfranchised.

Obviously, with the consituency being recognised as one of the safest seats possible, this was going to be the case anyway.

Whichever way we voted the result was expected to be the same.

But a hustings which proved to be one of the least democratic I have ever attended plus varied excuses to avoid proper canvassing due to events that never should have been allowed to happen, made the whole experience seem like some grotesque black comedy.

Nobody could criticise the powers-that-be for the temporary cancellation of a campaign nor Nick Boles for being ill. On the contrary, he is to be highly commended for standing at all. Courage beyond the call of duty in my opinion.

Nevertheless, the whole election process, I am sure, led to many people not voting at all and those who did having no confidence in the result. And as for the audience in St Wulfram’s not being allowed to voice their opinions, apart from one invidividual who refused to shut up, it could hardly be described as a democratic masterpiece.

Three of the candidates weren’t even there. Subsitutes did attend, but it was more like virtual reality that the real thing and I wasn’t the only one who went home feeling cheated of having my opinion heard. Unlike the previous hustings in the church, I only heard one profanity voiced in the sacred building. Maybe that person will attend what the church was built for – a service – and confess his or her sins.


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