Saturday, November 03, 2007

Live from the Yorkshire and the Humber leadership hustings

Think of this as the blogging equivalent of a 'Hi honey, I'm on the train!' entry. So here I am, listening to the two contenders joust for the delectation and delight of members from the Yorkshire and the Humber Region and beyond.

With the formidable Baroness Angie Harris in the chair, Chris spoke first, demonstrating his ability to adapt as the campaign proceeds. His speech included more personal touches, and rather more passion than previously demonstrated in Newbury two weeks ago.

On the other hand, I wasn't as convinced by Nick this time. He remains fresher, and is clearly thinking beyond the narrow confines of the selectorate. However, the speech was comfortable and went down well with the audience, so who am I to criticize?

One thing that does trouble me though, and it is merely a point of concern which the Huhne campaign might wish to note for future reference, is that there appears to be a negative tone to both Chris's stump speech and some of his answers to questions. Indeed, his answer to one question, calling on Nick to denounce vouchers, having allegedly endorsed them in two interviews, would probably have been halted had this been a PPC selection on the grounds that it represented negative campaigning. Frankly, it makes me uncomfortable, and is a black mark from the perspective of a grizzled old Returning Officer like myself.

Otherwise, the contrast between the rather academic tone that Chris adopts, with talk of Danish models and the like (about healthcare, not Helene Christiansen, as I understand it), and Nick's finely pitched sense of outrage at the injustice caused by big corporation and government-inspired stupidity. It makes for entertaining hustings, but not for easy decision-making. Nick gets more laughs though, and comes across as the more relaxed speaker of the two. He certainly gets my vote in terms of 'candidate I would be more likely to open a bottle of wine with'.

I'll let you have my retrospective thoughts in about an hour...

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