Meet your Libertas East Midlands Candidates

These are your Libertas candidates for the East Midlands region:

Saturday, 2 May 2009

East Midlands Libertas launch

On Friday 1st May I represented Libertas at a senior citizens forum in Leicester. I was scheduled to share the platform with three sitting MEPs – Bill Newton Dunn (Lib Dem), Derek Clark (UKIP), Roger Helmer (Cons) and representatives from the Labour party, Greens and BNP. Derek Clark pulled out and could not find anyone else to take his place and Roger Helmer and the Labour speaker pulled out at the last minute stating they would not share the platform with the BNP. This might tell us something about the Labour and Conservatives view on democracy – we might not like what the BNP say but we supposedly still live in a democratic country which believes in free speech. This point was not lost on the very astute audience.

We all had five minutes to tell the audience about our respective parties followed by a lengthy and searching Q & A. The Libertas message obviously struck a cord as the first three questions were directed to me.
The very articulate audience posed many varied and difficult questions to the panel. It came as no surprise to me that the audience were very interested in the European project but had little or no knowledge of how it works and the democratic deficit that currently exists. Bill Newton Dunn, who has served 25 years as an MEP, did his best to try and convince the audience of the merits of the existing arrangements but it was very gratifying that my counter arguments always received a round of applause. The Q & A were mainly dealt with by Bill and me. The Greens and BNP tended only to contribute on their main topics.

I really enjoyed my first public Q & A sharing a platform with a sitting MEP of long standing and representatives from two other parties. I was very disappointed that Labour, Conservative and UKIP made the excuses they did and were not present.

We in the East Midlands are planning numerous forums – at local Universities, town halls, and with local business groups and societies. We will ask all the other parties to take part. If we invite the BNP and they agree to attend will that mean we will never get the opportunity to go head to head with Labour, Conservatives and UKIP?

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