Some you win….

Prospective Parliamentary Candidates pull out of Online Hustings

Sometimes things don’t go to plan.


One of our most important aims at the Totnes Pulse is to improve communication within our community. And it is with that aim that we set up an online hustings specifically to enable the election candidates to respond to questions and set out their stall on why we should be voting for them. It was an opportunity for the electorate in South Devon (formally Totnes) to quiz the candidates and to get a considered answer from each of them to clarify their individual positions.

One stone – a lot of birds

Photo by Feyza Altun

The article is online and available to everyone to access and read in the run up to July 4th. It would have been a level playing field enabling the candidates to present their aims and promises to the 8000 plus people who visit this site monthly.  When it comes to canvassing, that’s a hell of a lot of doors.

One of the biggest problems in our political system is financing for campaigning. Making it more difficult for some to get a message across – this online hustings process is free to all participants – money is not an issue. Admittedly time is a restriction and all the candidates will be run ragged by the gruelling agenda running up to the election.


One of the 5 candidates chose not to participate and that left 4 to take part. Ipsos rules on publishing demand balance in the run-up to an election and with one person not joining in, it’s reasonable to empty-chair them. But after a few questions came in, 1 of the remaining 4 changed their minds leaving just 3. With 2 missing, the project dramatically loses it effectiveness.

More light than heat.

I think it’s a great shame that this opportunity will be missed and I apologise to the people who went to the trouble to ask questions and won’t be getting an answer. Outside of this, there is no other medium where Q and As can be collated over a period from all involved for voters to easily access and absorb what the PPC’s have to say on important subjects. No cross-talk, no personality clashes – just the straight-forward answers most of us want to hear. Less dramatic perhaps but surely we could use a bit less of that in this day and age?


I’m personally saddened because I strongly believe this is what most people want. Politics is more game-show than democracy at the moment and facts are outshined by drama and hyperbole. Writing this piece, I recognise that I might appear ungracious – especially to the 3 who remained participating – and I accept that this publication doesn’t have the viewing figures of mainstream media and is easier to dismiss. But for those of us who are sick to the teeth of theatrical politics, this seems like a missed opportunity. Some you win and some you lose.

I apologise to the remaining candidates and to the people who asked questions.





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3 days ago

As the Labour candidate, I am disappointed we won’t be able to go ahead for all the reasons set out above. I am surprised you haven’t named them given you did empty-chair the Reform Party candidate. I believe its only fair and transparent that you say who withdrew in your article.

J Jarvis
J Jarvis
3 days ago

Well no guesses for who dropped out, the writing is on the wall when one group actively avoids all attempts to foster democracy

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