As I have previously mentioned I am in the St Austell and Newquay area and as yet have not fully decided which way I will be voting next Thursday. This is partly because it still isn't totally clear what the candidates are standing for. This isn't the same for all candidates - I have read through the MK ten key points which seem well thought out and explained. I have read through the Lib Dem document for Cornwall which again seems to be well tailored for the county. As for the rest? Haven't got a clue.
So I thought one way of finding out would be to listen to the various hustings which have been held locally with our candidates. First up was the Radio St Austell Bay event up at the rugby club - this was a prime opportunity for all the candidates to speak in front of a live audience and also to those listening in and around St Austell (and wider on the station's website). Yet not all the candidates were there - namely Caroline Righton the Conservative candidate. Apparently she was "too busy" and the statement which was read out explaining her absence was pretty pathetic. So I was still none the wiser about the Tory party's plans for St Austell and Newquay. I did get to hear some well spoken and reasoned statements from MK candidate Dick Cole and Lib Dem Stephen Gilbert - as for the UKIP, Labour and BNP candidates? I think the less said about them the better.
Next up was a live debate broadcast on the BBC News Channel from Newquay - again we had five of the six candidates on the panel, Caroline graced them with her presence and this time it was the BNP who missed out. Strangely there was no explanation at all as to why he wasn't there....As for the debate, well Mr Cole and Mr Gilbert gave much the same answers as I had heard previously from the radio debate while Mrs Righton seemed to have a problem understanding what was actually being asked at some points. One question (which bizarrely came from former UKIP MEP Graham Booth - a plant perhaps?) had to be repeated 3 times before she actually got around to giving an answer. But then the Tories don't seem that keen to talk about cuts. One thing I did notice about this debate was that Mrs Righton adopted what must be her "TV voice" - maybe she felt that the BBC were more worthy of her presence than the local radio as she is hoping for a job after this campaign? I have to say though, that for someone who has had a career in broadcasting she was not very convincing.
One other point about these debates is just how poor the Labour candidate is - in the radio debate when asked about pensions he thought it would be a good idea to ask how much the pensioner would like to have?! Then in the TV debate he declared that he wouldn't make any cuts at all to help decrease the deficit!? Where did they get this guy from? Or did he win the chance to stand for election as a Labour candidate as a booby prize in a tombola?
So on the basis of the debates I have heard so far in St Austell and Newquay I think the plaudits go to the men in black and yellow.
And no, I'm still not sure what Mrs Righton stands for or what she hopes to do.