On to the next question which is about salmon netting at the Ythan estuary.
Clark is first up and he doesn’t support it. He then goes on to attack land reform calling it class war. Here’s their website for reference. I couldn’t find any reference to land reform on there. Braden is against but he doesn’t seem to know too much about it (to give him his due neither did I until I got handed a flyer on the way in). He magnanimously agreed to support the case against. Justine doesn’t say very much about it, WeeEck says that the people who are netting have a heritable right to do it which is why we need land reform. That was news to me too. Clark hits back in his rebuttal, he makes the point that farmers do what they do so that they can pass on their farms to the next generation, land reform would stop that. WeeEck says that’s rubbish. Some guy cuts this one-off, which I was disappointed about.
I know that land reform worries the farmers around me, they will not rent any land out because the renter will end up with a right to buy the land. That doesn’t seem right to me, it also acts as a block to new entrants to the farming industry, something which it sorely needs. Here’s an interesting fact for you, there is only 3 days food supply in the shops at any one time. Any interruption to the supply and we all starve. The next time you take a drive through the countryside, take a look around you. All that stuff in the fields is our food, and there isn’t enough of it to feed us all. Farmers invest hundreds of thousands of pounds in growing crops, the value of which they cannot know until it’s time to sell it. Very often they sell at a loss and the only reason that they survive is through the subsidies.
Some guy gives us the nest question which is about Donald Trump, his golf course and the offshore wind farm in Aberdeen Bay. This one is a potential banana skin for WeeEck and he’s first up. WeeEck backs any development which creates jobs and he backs the Trump development, he also backs the wind farm (although it is an experimental project not a wind farm apparently) because they both create jobs. Justine agrees with WeeEck (michty) but accuses him of riding roughshod over the local cooncilors by calling it in when he was First Minister. Braden is particularly weak on this one, that’s what happens when you get parachuted in I guess. Clark claims that 70% of the money which is paid to wind farms by way of subsidies goes to foreign companies and tax exiles, although he backs farmers having them. This smacks of hypocrisy to me, tories decrying tax exiles. He also backs centralised strategic planning for wind farms.
Wind turbines are an emotive issue for me, for it is because of them that I ended up in local politics. We used to have a really picturesque view of Glen Ythan, but now it is corrupted by 20 wind turbines which are all different sizes and haphazardly arranged about the place almost always in the most prominent spots. All of these turbines are owned by local farmers. Why are we spoiling our countryside with these ugly machines?
Next up was a question from a young loon who I was very impressed with: how would you connect with the electorate?
Clark is first to go, he tells us all about himself and his family. It seemed like a load of waffle to me. Braden waffles on too, mentions social media and Twitter. But hang on Braden, you blocked me on Twitter, remember? How is that connecting with the electorate? Justine knows the questioner, she goes on to talk about going to community council meetings and surgeries on the weekends when she’s not in London. WeeEck mentions social media and his office in Inverurie.
The final question was about unpaid carers. By this time we had all pretty much had enough and so on to the closing speeches.
Clark goes first since he was last for the opening speeches. He says that the tories are committed to saving the NHS, but he doesn’t say how (privatisation perhaps?). He says that the Gordon constituency is conservative with a small ‘c’ (I don’t know how he works that one out). He harks back to the referendum and asks to be judged on the tories track record (aye we will). There follows an attack on the Lib Dems and Labour, only the tories stand up for the worker apparently. Eh? He then says that this election is a choice between Ed or Dave (that’s a lie right there Clark, there are 5 PPCs standing in Gordon). He gets a wee cheer and sits down again.
Braden tells us that he supports Ed, fancy that. He wants an end to exploitative zero hours contracts, but doesn’t tell us what the definition of exploitative is. He then comes out with the best joke of the night. “I may not drink with Donald Trump (a reference to WeeEck) or own a multi million pound business or…be a Lib Dem.” It was genuinely funny and a great dig at Justine, you could see her ire rising. He gets a wee cheer.
Then Justine is up, she was angling for a supporting role in Ed’s government> Claims that Lib Dems were a moderating influence on the tories (yawn). Invest in health. Aim high and dream big, she then goes on to tell us about her working class roots (which probably means that she is not working class) She gets herself worked up into a frenzy, getting the whip oot again and lashing it all ower like she’s some king of sadistic dominatrix. She takes credit for the Smith Commission (I’m not sure that’s a good idea) and finishes off with a final flourish of the whip, “I will be scary.” I agree. She gets a decent cheer.
WeeEck then gets up and immediately sticks a chib intae Justine ower tuition fees then moves on to austerity and how it is killing this country. He makes the point that all three of the other parties present want to increase spending and increase cuts. He says the SNP want to end austerity and have a moderate increase in spending. He also wants the vow to be honoured and he is the man to do it. I totally agree. He gets the biggest cheer of the night.
In conclusion, I thought Clark was too far up himself. He tried to connect with the common man but at the end of the day he is a tory who is only interested in profit. Braden is like a fish out of water whenever he is beyond tha party dogma, very weak on local issues. WeeEck was exactly as you would expect, rambunctious and a formidable opponent. He knew his stuff, from the geopolitical to the local.
Then there’s Justine. She is the unionists’ great hope to defeat WeeEck. My impression of her is that she is a dominatrix, she flails the whip around and lectures her audience. She spent time defending the indefensible i.e. tuition fees. She wants an end to the bedroom tax, but Malcolm Bruce voted for it! Her hypocrisy knows no bounds. She is also weak on local issues, but then she said that she wanted to go to London from where she can board the gravy train like her predecessor rode for 31 years.
All in all I enjoyed our date Justine, I only hope that we don’t have another one anytime soon.