My first four hustings (debates) have already taken place. First I attended Asbergirls to find out their experiences of the health service and schools. Then I did a large debate with Middlesex Students, to convey what attracted me to politics.
On Friday morning I attended the Mencap hustings. It is the first time such a thing has been accessible and it was great to hear questions from people with learning disabilities and informally socialise with them and their carers over lunch followed by a walk in the park. I promised them that I would look into the Green Party's policy on hate crime, and told them that cuts have consequences.
Friday evening was the mosque hustings.
It was held at Hendon Mosque's youth and community centre. In hindsight there are more Muslim Women regularly attending Our West Hendon events than taking part in the event. There were more Labour councillors, bless their cotton socks.
In terms of what was actually debated, it's often interesting what wasn't. I sat next to the chair so had a peek at his pre prepared questions. Fracking was not on the agenda nor did Mariam turn up to ask her question on privatisation of the health service or the bedroom tax (though I addressed disability in my opening speech). Foreign policy was left the the last 10 minutes and there was a balance of questions. On BDS I resisted the urge to talk about the ANC, but said I am on the record for expressing feelings of discomfort around my support for BDS, and that it's best if it's not anti-Israel but targeted at policy. I stated that it was a distraction from home demolitions in West Hendon, and administrative detention that we discussed in relation to anti-terror legislation. The Labour Party gave me lots of friendly advice before and after, and I overheard the outgoing MP giving lip service to leaseholders as we waited for the audience to arrive.