I’ve not had a moment to sit down and comment on the Talgarth Hustings, but I have a few moments now.
My first ever Hustings. I’d never even attended one before yet here I was about to take to the stage. I was chauffeured there in the Loony Campaign Car, Ffloyd, by my electoral Agent and Hubby, Viscount Gaffer. Along for the ride was my Official Feather Fluffer, Tilly Twitcher and a couple of surprised friends who just happened to be staying with us, from Essex, for the weekend and were dragged along for the ride.
Arriving at the wonderful new Ysgol Mynydd Y Du Junior School, I was somewhat taken aback by a full car park! Eek, I really wasn’t expecting it to be so big.
Or so professional.
Fortunately as this wide-eyed non-politician stepped out of the car and straightened her top hat, she was confronted by the bubbly and smiling Ruth Mosalski, Political Editor for @WalesOnline, who gushed with enthusiasm at Ffloyd and started snapping some pictures.
Immediately I was Lady Lil and no longer Berni B and I knew the evening would be just fine.
Walking around the corner I was greeted warmly by my friend William Powell (LibDem) who was involved in organising the event, and introduced by him to the other candidates and the very lovely Louise Elston Reeves of Talgarth Matters. She had organised the event and invited me along. I was delighted to see several senior school locals there (and not just because they had been cooped in to serve drinks and were providing homemade cakes!). Also there was the very fabulous Ann Seymour to take pictures of the event, great because not only is she absolutely lovely, she is also a very talented photographer.
The school hall was light and airy despite being packed with members of the community. All seats were taken, extra were added, people were standing at the back and spilling out into the courtyard. Luckily it was a dry day. In fact in was really really hot, so I crafted a fan from a sheet of A4 paper (appropriately a trick I’d probably learned in my own junior school many moons before).
They sat me in the middle. Like a rabbit in headlights! Staring at the expectant and somewhat amused (bemused?) crowd. Clowns to the left of me jokers to the right, as I declared in my closing statement (looking to Tomos Davies (Labour) and Chris Davies (Tory) at my left and Des Parkingson (Brexit) and Jane Dodds (LibDem) on my right…handy positioning, as I’d already written my close).
Lots were drawn and we sat on a raised stage in true Question Time style. I was last, but that meant for the close I was first and I think on the whole that worked well in balancing the ‘serious’ political message and the light hearted loony one with a real message entwined. Ben Rawlence (writer, human rights activist, black mountain college, very attractive human being) was our very able and efficient Chair and he kept the proceeding in check and moving in a smooth and timely manner. In fact he was quite strict on the 4 minute opening statement. Mine timed at only 3mins 40sec when i practiced it at home, but I hadn’t allowed for laughter and applause and ran out of time. Seems that the Chair wasn’t making concessions for that either 😉
Questions were submitted my the audience as they came in and this allowed Louise and Ben to group them and ask those that concerned the majority as the time was limited to 45-75 minutes. All questions were asked to all candidates (including me !) in a different order each time. I held my own. Not having a party line makes things easier on the one hand , I could be serious or witty as the question took me, but it also required far more thinking on my feet (or seat) as I was sat throughout.
We Loons got far more laughs than the rest. Far fewer boos and far more applause too from what I could tell. It was an exhilarating experience. The audience was very gracious and pleased to have me there to brighten up proceedings. I was commented on my fashion and my content !
All in all I found the other candidates very welcoming and amenable. They all got the party position across whether or not it answered the question being asked! They kept their cool as only professionals can and stood their group when jeered and booed , making the most of the occasional cheers from their fan bases. The range of concerns were broad, it was great to not get totally tied up with Brexit. In fact asylum seekers, plastic bottles and wind farms were high on the list of concerns. The audience articulated their thoughts fully, some were helped to choose who to vote for, many had already made up their minds.
All in all I think I got my loony message across, that being, “please vote on 1st August, preferably not for me but I’m here as a None of the Above option”!
I think that covers it. Thanks to the organisers, crowd and press for
Opening Statement by Lady Lily the Pink of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party – – note this video is for the sound not the image and is about 4 minutes long but quite amusing (I think!)
Closing statement by Lady Lily the Pink of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party – – again please note this video is for the sound not the image and this time it’s only about 2 minutes long but still quite amusing (I think!)