I was pleased to be able to represent the Green Party at the televised debate shown on BBC1 this evening. Alongside me were Tessa Munt (Lib Dem), Jacob Rees-Mogg (Con), Thangam Debbonaire (Labour) and Steve Stanbury (UKIP).
It was an interesting evening. The audience were probably the most vocal of any hustings or debate I’ve done. There was lots of shouting and booing (not at me, thankfully!) and it was difficult to hear the chair and other panellists sometimes, although it doesn’t sound as bad on the telly.
While I was pleased to be invited, I felt that I wasn’t given as much time as the other panellists, plus I had to contend with assertions about our policies from the chair when I don’t think the others had to, as well as tiresome ‘how are you going to pay for that?’ questions that the others didn’t get. It wasn’t just me - that was the general feeling on Twitter too. Such is life I suppose, but it was disappointing as we have a lot of very different policies on things like the NHS that I didn’t have an opportunity to get across.
However, I think it was a good opportunity for raising my profile and definitely worth doing overall. Rees-Mogg got a lot of stick but was his usual self, the UKIP chap was ‘very UKIP’, and Debbonaire was saying things that were popular but well to the left of what her party actually believes, as is increasingly common with Labour. I’ve always admired Tessa Munt for having firm principles on fracking etc, and in many ways it’s a shame that she’s going to lose her seat to a Tory who will obviously be very pro-fracking.
It was good to get some TV in and wider exposure. The BBC production team were all lovely and my only real regret was that it was so short - there was so little time that it was never likely that we’d all get enough time to get our points over. This is true in all hustings to some extent of course, but this was the shortest of all.