POLITICS: Little time for accountability

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I would like to commend Alnwick Area Friends of the Earth for its organisation of an environmental election hustings for the county council elections.

This was for the Alnwick, Lesbury and Alnmouth area.

Six candidates, from three parties, answered questions ranging from how to manage our beautiful landscape and wildlife to how to deal with recycling, or where future energy production lies.

The chairmanship was balanced and there were some interesting perspectives and useful debate, which broadened out to issues other than the environment.

This kind of event makes democracy more accessible, and I found it far more informative and pertinent than any of the party leaflets.

Using our hard-earned right to vote for local issues and council elections is so very important.

I respected each of these candidates for turning up and presenting their points of view.

They were fine and thoughtful speakers, even if I disagreed with some of their views. They were prepared to engage with the public on a range of questions they had no prior knowledge of, and that is no easy task.

The contrast between this and the national Government couldn’t be more pronounced.

Springing a snap election with only six weeks notice, I believe is opportunistic and undemocratic as there is little time for groups to organise hustings and allow accountability and transparency.

On a national level, the Prime Minister is not even prepared to present herself for a live debate. This shows how unaccountable she is.

She should stand at the front, deal with awkward questions, present policies under public and political scrutiny, and raise the debate in a transparent and open manner. Hiding behind the soundbites looks weak.

The future of our country and the decisions affecting our lives are too important for this, and as a voter and a citizen I resent the way that I am being treated.

Peter Edge,