Report from CAGS Hustings. 2nd of February 2010.
The Croydon Area Gay Society (CAGS) held a hustings meeting on 2/2/2010 at “the Brief “ pub in Croydon.
The chair and audience put questions to the panel on a variety of LGBT and other social issues.
The panel consisted of:
Gordon Ross, Green Party PPC for Croydon South.
Ralph Atkinson, UKIP PPC for Croydon Central.
Jane Avis, Labour PPC for Croydon South.
Jason Hadden, Conservative PPC for Croydon North.
Gerry Jerome, Liberal Democrat PPC for Croydon North.
The chair asked questions that had been submitted by the members of CAGS, and the SAGS audience also asked questions.
Gordon gave the Green Party’s stand and policies on the issues, and got a good response from the audience. Some of the other candidates were less forthcoming over their parties policies, and never gave a definitive answer to some of the questions.
The panel were asked, will you defend the Human Rights Act ?
Should religious groups be exempt from human rights legislation ?
The Green, Labour and Lib Dem candidates all support the Human Rights Act.
The conservative and UKIP candidate both wanted the UK to withdraw from all EU Human Rights legislation, and to allow religious groups to discriminate against gays.
Gordon Ross for the Greens argued that Human Rights are universal, should apply to everyone across the EU, with no exceptions.
The UKIP candidate railed against the EU, Human Rights legislation, social policy, public schooling and the NHS. He said that we were better off before we had an NHS, calling it “collectivist”.
There was an audible gasp from the audience when the UKIP candidate said schools should be allowed to discriminate against gay people on religious grounds.
The panel were asked, what is your view on assisted suicide ?
The Green and Labour candidate both have had personal experience of having to face this issue with a loved one, and support the move to legalisation, along with the Lib Dem candidate.
The Conservative and UKIP candidates both oppose assisted suicide.
There was some discussion about marriage versus civil partnership.
Gordon said that the Greens would open up civil partnership and civil marriage to partners of both same sex and opposite sex relationships.
The candidates for the other parties didn’t seem to support this move, or didn’t seem to have a view on the issue at all.
The panel were asked what would you do for Croydon locally if you were elected ?
Gordon for the Greens said we would help to develop the local economy, increase local jobs, keep open local post offices, doctors surgeries and local shops.
The other candidates talked about more national issues, even though the question was about Croydon.
The panel were asked what experience they had of the Trans-community?
None of the panel apart from the Green and the UKIP candidate had any experience of transgender people. UKIP have an MEP who is transsexual.
The Greens are committed to giving protection under Equality legislation to transgender, transvestite and intersex people.
The panel were asked if they were married or in a legal partnership ?
They were asked if they would support the rights of single people ?
Gordon stated that Green Party policy was for equality regardless of relationship status, and so yes, we would defend single people against discrimination.
The Conservative candidate talked about the family, and said that two parents were better than one. The Labour candidate defended single parents.
During the evening the UKIP and Conservative candidates both continuously interrupted the Labour candidate, and shouted her down. She appeared to be visibly distressed. At times it was quite heated, and uncomfortable.
The meeting ended with thanks to the candidates from the chair and audience.
CAGS said they had enjoyed the meeting and hoped to have hustings meetings again.
The Green Party would encourage local groups to have hustings meetings, so you can find out what your various candidates stand for. You might be surprised.
Tags croydon, greenparty