Editor’s comment: Hustings gave plenty of food for thought
- Credit: Archant
As I’m writing this, campaigning for the General Election has been suspended in the wake of Monday night’s atrocity in Manchester.
It feels a little odd to be talking about politics at a time when not even politicians are doing so. Manchester was my home for a number of years and I know both the arena and the surrounding streets well, so I too have my mind on events outside Hackney.
But the election is going ahead regardless of how we feel, and until Monday night I, like many, was thinking of little else. And the truth is that the decisions we all make on June 8 will have an impact, even though we may not feel like thinking about it after such a horrific attack.
I’d originally meant to use this space to pore over the at times bizarre Hackney South and Shoreditch hustings I attended at St Peter’s Church on Monday.
It was to the candidates’ credit that eight out of 10 turned out, including representatives of all the main parties. Rev Julia Porter-Pryce, meanwhile, did a great job of chairing and the church is a beautiful building.
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I did kind of wonder why Angel Watt, who simply read out her party’s manifesto, had turned up; or what had inspired the largely incoherent Dale Kalamazad to part with his deposit. But independent Hugo Sugg, and Jonty Leff from the Workers’ Revolutionary Party, impressed me with their obvious passion and refusal to mince their words.
The last question was on press regulation – and perhaps more poignant than some realised. We had been banned from live-streaming the event by its own organisers.
- 1 "Outcry" over fortnightly rubbish collection in Stamford Hill
- 2 Campaigners to protest at GP surgeries as outrage grows over US takeover
- 3 Three men who went on stabbing spree in Hackney convicted of murder
- 4 "Predator" jailed after sexually assaulting sleeping woman on Hackney bus
- 5 Three men charged following Hackney shooting
- 6 Newington Green's Meeting House to stream concert series for Mary Wollstonecraft's 262nd Birthday
- 7 Hackney restaurant exhibits local artists with new art space
- 8 Reopening week saw “record-breaking” days at pubs in Hoxton
- 9 Hackney schoolgirl and actress Bukky Bakray wins Bafta
- 10 Hackney service remembers Prince Philip, 'rock of the nation'
And while all the candidates broadly supported press freedom, never more so than at election time is it obvious: state regulation of free speech is a terrifying idea, because who knows who will be part of that state tomorrow?