Damian Hockney, the Mayoral candidate for the One London Party, has complained to the organisers of the Mayoral hustings at Earls Court this morning after being “banned” from the platform.
“This is the second out of two hustings that a party represented at the London Assembly has simply been barred from the platform,” he says “and it is totally unacceptable. These events are the basis upon which media makes its comments and draws its coverage. However often you alone as a smaller party press release or stage a new initiative, you get no coverage even from London media. But they do cover these events.
“What is worse,” he adds “is that the organisers said ‘you can come and watch’! Do they have any idea of the irony of that statement which comes straight out of the Soviet Union’s democracy rule book. Candidates not approved may ‘come and watch’ but they may not take part in election events!
The event was organised by ecobuild as part of a conference.
“I have written on Mayorwatch before about the experiences last time I stood, where organisers actually said “it would be undemocratic” to allow me to appear. And that it would “cause trouble”. Don’t they grasp that if you fail to represent the diversity of politics and the alternative views, then people once again are not going to turn out and vote. If they think it’s a rather dull affair between Ken and Boris, they will not be sufficiently motivated to turnout.”
“When I told journalists in 2000 that the turnout for the Mayor elections would be lucky to hit 30%, they would not believe it. They were sold on the idea that their acres of coverage of the three “main” candidates would somehow get everyone gasping to get to the polling stations. I was right because although it all looks very interesting to those right in the heart of things, it looks totally dull and uninspiring to the public.”
“I never believed I’d be quoting Tony Benn so often as I advanced in years through political debate, but he had it right last week; ”The problem is one of being heard’, he said. ‘We treat the electroate as if it’s stupid but they do want to learn about issues and are intelligent enough to understand them.'”
The party intends to now approach London First which is organising an event rumoured to be intent on banning all except the “main” candidates.
A spokesman from London First told MayorWatch “Our hustings is an invitation-only event for London’s business community – our membership – on issues of interest to them. I am sure that there will be opportunities for all ten candidates to share their vision for the capital in the run-up to May 1, but in one evening, we are sadly constrained by time.”
“We wouldn’t want to inflict issue fatigue on our audience by giving all ten the floor! We have chosen those who we consider to hold most interest for our members. It promises to be an informative and entertaining evening.”
ecobuild failed to respond to our enquiries by the time of publication.