Editor’s comment: See parties’ true colours at our hustings

Let our hustings help you decide how to vote. Picture: RUI VIEIRA/PA

Let our hustings help you decide how to vote. Picture: RUI VIEIRA/PA - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

I’m delighted that the Gazette will be hosting a hustings event alongside Hackney Unites at the Old Fire Station Community Centre later this month.

I strongly urge everyone who’s free on the evening of April 30 to head down and join us at 8.15pm (for lively debate and enjoyable atmosphere, if not my chairing skills; last year I chaired a hustings in Islington and forgot to introduce the candidates). I’m very grateful to Hackney Unites for having us.

When it comes to unpopular decisions, Hackney Council often points the finger at central government for starving it of cash by cutting grants and even dictating how it can spend different parts of its income (hello, right to buy receipts).

And while that’s an extremely valid line, it’s also true that the council still wields a significant amount of power and budget, even if it is facing enormous budget cuts. It is probably the organisation whose decisions will most immediately and directly impact you, even if those decisions might not be so monumental as national or international ones. At its furthest reach, it houses us, runs our schools, cleans our streets, empties our bins, clads our tower blocks, rips up our roads, and decides whether you can run a business or extend your house.

That’s a lot of power, and it’s also a lot of power to use badly. You don’t have to go back too many decades to see a council in chaos, mired in accusations of corruption and racism.

A vote, too, can be a dangerous thing if wielded irresponsibly. Any party will tell you to vote for it given a solo platform; it’s when debate begins that we find out the nuance and application of their beliefs and positions. That’s when we learn their true colours.

So please: join us for the big reveal. (If you can’t make it, we’ll be streaming the event online.)