It seems everyday another story comes out about a UKIP candidate who has exhibited some form of shameful behaviour. This is to be expected as the general public and mass media start to subject a new party to the same levels of scrutiny of the established parties.
I think this is a shame. Let’s face it, all of the established parties have had their fair share of ‘named & shamed’ Members. UKIP are not the only party who have selected bigots, philanderers or other unsavoury characters.
All of this attention detracts from what I believe the electorate really want to hear, which is for each party and their representatives to exchange of ideas, beliefs and practical examples of how they plan to make a difference.
I have invited Hazel Van Bergen, the UKIP candidate in the Basing Ward, to join me in a series of hustings open to everyone in Old Basing & Lychpit. These meetings would be along the same lines of Question Time, with The Basinga/Gazette/Observer playing the role of the Beeb and David Dimbleby. All the local candidates would sit on the panel and residents could ask them questions on the issues that matter most to them.
Hazel has said “I’ll think about it”. I hope Hazel agrees and as soon as I know who else is standing in our ward, I’ll ask them as well.
Our elected representatives should have the courage of their convictions, and take every opportunity to engage with the people who can vote for them.
It’s time for us to stop the scandal hungry national media from setting the agenda, and start to set the political agenda ourselves by debating the issues that actually make a difference in our day to day lives.