Featuring videos of the candidates
It’s a busy time of the political cycle for me as I get out and about filming as much as I possibly can. As with 2015 I’m trying to cover South Cambridgeshire and South-East Cambridgeshire because as otherwise ‘safe seats’ (in these cases for the Conservatives) they get little coverage and even fewer public debates in comparison to Cambridge City, which has got at least 15 this time around.
Democracy Cambridge on Facebook
It’s at https://www.facebook.com/DemocracyCambridge/ and I’m trying to keep everyone up to date on that page. Feel free to ‘like’ it and post links to election events in and around Cambridge. Just like the political parties, I’m also encouraging donations – not least to pay for some of my bus and train fares to hustings, and also for the additional hard drive I now need to buy due to all of the extra events I’m filming. So if you can afford to, please click on the button below.
You can see all of the video playlists I’m creating at https://www.youtube.com/antonycarpen – feel free to share and embed, but please attribute to Antony Carpen if you are doing so.
Cambridge City – Julian Huppert vs Daniel Zeichner, the re-re-match
…alongside Stuart Tuckwood of The Green Party, and Dr John Hayward of the Conservatives. They had their first hustings at The Junction in Cambridge. You can view the full footage of the event here.
South Cambridgeshire – the band reforms
Heidi Allen for the Conservatives faces a rematch with Dan Greef of Labour and Simon Saggers of the Greens, with Susan van de Ven standing for the Liberal Democrats this time around. They faced the public for the first time as a quartet in a good-humoured hustings in Great Shelford – the playlist of videos is here.
South East Cambridgeshire – Lucy Frazer QC vs Huw Jones – the re-match
…alongside Lucy Nethsingha for the Liberal Democrats. They had their first public debate in Waterbeach chaired by Chris Elliott, Chief Reporter of the Cambridge News in a sometimes tense and passionately debated hustings. The playlist of videos is here.
“Yeah – why do you ask them such easy questions in the post-hustings interviews, Puffles?”
For a number of reasons.
The first is my primary aim – to strengthen local democracy. That means encouraging and inspiring people to get involved in local democracy. Therefore I want to create content & footage where the viewer thinks:
“Yes – I could have a reasonable conversation with that person and raise my issues with them”
“Why did that de-humanised individual just recite a bunch of lines to take programmed into them by Party HQ?”
That means interview technique has to be very different.
“Why don’t you ask difficult questions? After all, you’ve been inside the system!”
In one sense that would be too easy. A far harder challenge is encouraging the interviewees to be on top form, at their most passionate and knowledgeable where they can inspire people not just with their answers but also with their delivery – speed and tone of voice.
“Isn’t it your responsibility to ask awkward questions?”
Not in these interviews.
That’s your job – to get in touch with the candidates yourself having decided they are worth conversing with. My role in all of this is to make the first introductions. What happens *after* that introduction is entirely up to you, and in the grand scheme of things, none of my business.
It’s also not the job of candidates and elected representatives to read your mind. Be an adult, take some responsibility and make the effort to find out who is standing for election in your area. You never know, one of the candidates might positively surprise you. But until you make the 1-2-1 contact, you might never know.
“Which candidates do you think are strongest?”
That’s not for me to say as far as the videos are concerned. That’s for you to make a judgement call accordingly. In the interviews I encourage the candidates to talk about the issues that they are most knowledgeable and passionate about – it avoids the ‘line-to-take’ delivery and means you get a more extended and more informed answer. When you have all candidates speaking passionately and knowledgeably, they are more likely to be at their best – which is what I want. That way you have a level playing field and people can judge accordingly.
“Even though lots of your tweets have been very critical of the Conservatives?”
Two separate mediums. Also, I treat each election almost like a mini filming project – it has a defined end point. Social media on the other hand is an ongoing continuous thing. Furthermore, whichever party is in power inevitably gets more criticism thrown at it because their decisions are more likely to impact on the people than opposition parties.
Finally, I stood with Puffles as an independent candidate at the Cambridge City Council elections in 2014. In that sense, I’ve already established a level of political independence far beyond most people.