The Parliamentary Hustings organised by your papers were an interesting, illuminating but not a very informative evening.
I asked a question of the panel about immigration and UKIP’s proposal to control migration modelled on the Australian points based system directed at all the panel not specifically addressed to Mr Parsons, the UKIP candidate.
None of the candidates explained what the Australian points system was
What is the Australian points based system? How would it work? Would it be effective in controlling migration? Why prefer the Australian rather than the Canadian system?
None of the candidates explained what the Australian points system was, or how it would work nor why it was more preferable than the Canadian system. Only John Hayes had considered the Australian system and pointed out that in the decade following the introduction by the Australians that migration significantly increased.
Farage and UKIP and its candidates make a virtue of being radicals intent on shattering the current model of politics. Trollope, in Phineas Finn, wrote of radical politicians as “having nothing to construct. They can only deal in generalities.” Being free of responsibilities they are not called upon to either study details or master great facts. It is their business to inveigh against evils and perhaps there is no easier business when the privilege of an audience is attained.
How to regulate immigration is a major issue for all parties in this election but aroused little comment from the parties represented, even Mr Parsons.
Trollope’s perception still has relevance for today.
South Holland needs a representative who exudes ‘gravitas’. A combination of knowledge, accumulated experience, competence, oratorical confidence attentive to detail, someone who studies great facts, is honest and with the courage to challenge his audience when they are ill informed or wrong. In my judgement only John Hayes exhibited real ‘gravitas’.