PRIMROSE HILL COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION HOSTED HUSTINGS LAST NIGHT AHEAD OF NEXT WEEK’S GENERAL ELECTION. AND YOU DIDN’T EXPECT IT TO RUN COMPLETELY SMOOTHLY, DID YOU..?
The hall was packed: Primrose Hill is nothing if not politically engaged. And of all the pressing concerns that are shaping this election, for the People’s Republic of Primrose Hill HS2 is key.
Early excitement was provided by unexpected debate on whether David O’Sullivan, candidate for the Socialist Equality Party, could participate, causing consternation to the chair and wonderment from the audience: what on earth might happen next? Probably the only strand that united everyone in the room – and which had brought the whole community together in the last two years in true political grassroots action – was opposition to HS2; so we waited for that hot potato.
Topics up for consideration ranged from “rotten boroughs of safe seats” to Hiroshima, discussion of the right to die and what can be done to help people with autism. Even O’Sullivan’s hard-core views were politely put. His plans for a socialist revolution were not everyone’s cup of tea, but hey, his opposition to HS2 was unequivocal, a stance shared by all other candidates on the platform. (Had I mentioned that we are all obsessed with HS2?)
Sadly, due to bereavement, the Labour Party candidate Sir Kier Starmer was quite understandably absent, and was represented by long-standing local councillor Pat Callaghan. On the key question of ‘If elected, will you vote against the HS2 bill? Very simply, yes or no?‘ (thanks to local activist, Phil Cowan) we were left uncertain as to what his response would be. No doubt Sir Keir has worked hard on opposing this project and would continue to do so, but a vote against his party? We have to wait for clarity.
So an entertaining, well-mannered evening with participation from across the community. Typical Primrose Hill in action. But still one question left unanswered for now.
Huge thanks to PHCA for organising the event, and to the candidates for taking part.
© 2015 Joanna Reeves, all rights reserved.