With the Eastleigh by-election in full-swing and Parliament on its usual Friday wind-down, there were more Secretaries of State in Hedge End than Eastleigh News could shake a stick at today.
Whilst the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable were elsewhere in Hedge End, campaigning for the Liberal Democrat Candidate, Mike Thornton, the Foreign Secretary William Hague and Conservative Candidate Maria Hutchings dropped in to Hedge End Village Centre, to speak to local traders, passers-by and the waiting media.
The Home Secretary Theresa May was also expected to arrive at lunchtime, to discuss local issues with the Conservative Candidate Maria Hutchings.
Also in Hedge End this morning, waiting for Mr Hague, was the Beer, Baccy and CRUMPET party candidate, Ray Hall, whose offer of a campaign leaflet was politely refused by Mr Hague…
It is not clear whether Mr Hague recognised Ray Hall, who when speaking to Eastleigh News after the Conservative circus had left town, revealed that not only is he the father of local Conservative Jerry Hall, but claimed that he also owns some of the property at the Southern Parishes Conservative Club, a facility which is currently being used by the Conservatives as their campaign HQ…
There will be more on Ray Hall and the “Beer Baccy & Crumpet Party” in a subsequent posting.
After calling at a local Greengrocers, a Butchers and a Charity shop, Mr Hague and Maria Hutchings stopped to talk to the media. Meanwhile Maria Hutchings support team, which included Botley Parish Councillor Graham Hunter, were busy handing leaflets to passers-by.
Somewhat clumsily, because we don’t interview politicians of this calibre every day, Eastleigh News asked about what makes a healthy democracy.
What we wanted to find out was this;
“In the 1980’s, the Conservatives had a large majority, there was very little opposition and they could effectively do what they liked. We see the same thing happening here in Eastleigh, where the Lib Dems have a stranglehold and can do what they like. But the Coalition Government seems to be working quite well. In the Foreign Secretary’s experience, promoting democracy throughout the world, is there a point of balance, a point where a majority is too big to be healthy…?”.
It was quite an ambitious question actually, very hard to get across on the street and not helped by the cheap recording equipment playing up (so this is not a 100% verbatim quote), but the Foreign Secretary replied;
One party currently has control at local level. Of course its really for the electorate to decide, but they’d be “well advised to ditch them”. I’m pleased to say that Democracy is alive and well here in the UK and it is nothing like the situations that we are working to progress elsewhere around the world.
After the interviews, the Foreign Secretary and Maria Hutchings spoke to some passers-by and went leafleting in a small residential cul-de-sac, behind the shopping centre…
There are a total of fourteen candidates standing in the Eastleigh By-election. Here is the list:
1.Colin Bex – Wessex Regionalists
2.David Bishop –Elvis Loves Pets Party
3.Jim Duggan – The Peace Party
4.Ray Hall – Beer,Baccy and Crumpet Party
5.Howling “Laud” Hope – Monster Raving Loony William Hill Party
6.Maria Hutchings – Conservative Party
7.Dianne James –UKIP
8.Iain McClenann – National Health Action
9.Kevin Milburn – Christian Party “Proclaiming Christ’s Lordship”
10.John O’Farrell – Labour Party
11.Daz Proctor – Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts
12.Danny Stupple –Independent
13.Michael Thornton – Liberal Democrat Party
14.Michael Walters – The English Democrats – “Putting England First!”