Last night more than 170 local Battersea residents turned up to York Gardens Community Centre to attend Battersea Question Time – an evening of politics and discussion about all things Battersea, co-hosted by Katherine Low Settlement and Battersea Society.
To use Battersea’s motto, this political hustings was “not for me, not for you, but for us”; and it was in this spirit that the five parliamentary candidates (Jane Ellison (Con.), Lois David (Green), Will Martindale (Lab.), Luke Taylor (Lib.), Chris Howe (UKIP)), standing for the constituency seat of Battersea, Balham and Wandsworth, started the event. They each had 3 minutes to make their case why we should vote for them on 7th May and then they took questions from the floor, Twitter and those submitted in advance.
Questions about housing dominated the first half on: social housing, inequality, lack of houses being built, right to buy, what’s laughingly called affordable housing (as you’ve got to be on £60k+ to afford it!), skyrocketing house prices, housing benefit and the bedroom tax, private renting and landlords, and the regeneration of Battersea including Nine Elms and Winstanley Estate. This really was the number one issue for local people last night.
Other questions covered crime and young people, healthy eating and isolation, dominance of a Conservative led local Council for the last 30+ years, welfare budgets, the EU, and Health and Social Care Act and Lanlsey’s NHS health reforms.
The audience was lively indeed, with passions up and some really pertinent, thoughtful questions put to the panel, who on the most part answered them directly and succinctly. It was great to see democracy in action, as someone mentioned afterwards. That people from all walks of life in the community could come together and debate the important issues that affect them most, and what they want Battersea’s next MP to focus on over the course of the next Parliament.
KLS and Battersea Society are already planning their next political hustings – so we look forward to seeing you there. It remains to say that we urge you to get out and vote on 7th May!!!
A big thank to Wandsworth Radio – Jason and Matt (and Tony from KLS). It was their first ever external live broadcast so we were making history. You can listen to the entire Battersea Question Time on Soundcloud here.
A big thank you to the organising team of Jenny Sheridan and Carol Rahn from the Battersea Society and Anita Richards and Aaron Barbour from Katherine Low Settlement.
Don’t forget to ‘register to vote’.