A Hustings in Hampstead and Kilburn
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 26th March, 2009
The general election is probably at least a year away, yet the Roslyn Hill Chapel in Hampstead held a four-party parliamentary hustings this evening which drew in over a hundred people. Perhaps it is not surprising that in these troubled times, people are in the mood to voice their fears, even their anger — and to put politicians on the spot. This febrile atmosphere could make the forthcoming European election campaign considerably more interesting than previous ones.
I had never seen Glenda Jackson in the flesh before (though of course I am of a vintage to have seen plenty of her flesh on celluloid) and it’s true that she is impressive as a performer. She was on a sticky wicket having to defend Gordon Brown and the Labour government, however. It’s not surprising that many Labour MPs with slender majorities (and indeed, some MEPs) are putting out feelers for other careers. Meanwhile, Ed Fordham, the LibDem prospective parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Hampstead and Kilburn, is growing in confidence in his speeches and is starting to get a few laughs — always an important asset in getting an audience on one’s side. The Tory, local Councillor Chris Philp, comes across as being a bit wet behind the ears, but ambitious enough to move on to somewhere more worthwhile after the next election. The UKIP man, Magnus Nielsen, was good for a giggle — claiming at one point to be partly Conservative, partly Labour and partly Liberal Democrat — though like most UKIP wannabes, playing a single-track record of Euroscepticism.