The 2015 general election campaign presents a unique opportunity for local Speakers’ Corner Committees – and/or other local groups – to help engage local people in the debates which will shape the election’s outcome.
The People’s Hustings initiative, successfully piloted during the 2010 campaign, is designed to help revitalise the receding tradition of face-to-face political engagement which, in providing a platform for candidates, also renders them accountable to the voters. But this proposal goes an important step further by enabling the public rather than the politicians to set the agenda.
If you are organising an event or thinking of doing so, the People’s Hustings Briefing Note 2015 may provide useful advice about how to plan for one.
Background – GE 2010
Four of SCT’s local projects (in Bristol, Lichfield, Lincoln and Nottingham) organised People’s Hustings during the short campaign of the 2010 general election. At each, a range of voluntary groups were invited to set out their priorities for the next government; members of the public were encouraged to express their views and the party candidates were asked to respond spontaneously to what they had heard. A broader debate then followed.
Taking place at lunchtime at the cities’ respective Speakers’ Corners, all in busy city centre locations, the Hustings were attended by the candidates of all the major parties, drew large crowds and covered a wide range of issues and policy areas.
In Lincoln, voluntary groups introduced topics including debt, environmental protection, homelessness, overseas aid, addiction and LGBT rights.
In Lichfield, they raised the issues of defence, education, health, the environment, prisons policy and the local economy.
In Bristol they featured the rights of ethnic minorities, the burden of tuition fees, the needs of families in poverty, lack of public influence on decision-taking and barriers to employment.
The Hustings were … read more »