There won’t be another hustings like this..

John Betjeman St Pancras International

YOU sir, in the hat.. what would you like to ask the candidates? It was a shame the statue of Sir John Betjeman at St Pancras International could not come to life. He would have a fair few questions for the candidates seeking your votes in Holborn and St Pancras. There have been and will be a glut of hustings in the run up to the May 6 vote – but none will match last night’s event in terms of setting. As the Eurostar pulled in and out, Frank Dobson, George Lee, Jo Shaw and Natalie Bennett met once again. The battlegrounds in Holborn and St Pancras are familiar: housing and education at the top of the agenda. Who knows whether any of the candidates will have convinced any new voters with their answers. Their responses have been heard before.

It was interesting, however, amid the peep-peep sound of trains gliding away to Paris and interrupting tannoy messages, that only Ms Bennett covered the superlocal issues of the future of the Town Hall annexe on one side of St Pancras International, and the Brill Place land to the other. The  chance to relieve Somers Town’s housing shortage lies to the west of the station, but the neighbourhood is instead preparing itself for a research laboratory rather than new blocks of social housing.

Yet, did Natalie win big here? Disturbing for any right-minded person who thinks the best man/woman should win regardless of where they come from, there was anecdotal evidence of an extra hurdle for the journalist-turned-politician. More than once, passengers passing by reached the top of the stairs of the concourse, glanced across, heard an Australian accent and said: ‘She’s not even British’ Pfff…

1 Comment on There won’t be another hustings like this..

  1. Peter Brayshaw // April 22, 2010 at 1:33 am //

    I was sat next to John Betjeman (or at least his statue), gazing up at the magnificent Barlow train shed roof. The sad thing was, less than half the hundred seats were occupied, not doing justice to the efforts and arguments of all the candidates. My old friend Eric Gordon was pretty stern in discouraging (any) Party members from putting questions (I had wanted to ask all about their ideas for maximising local jobs, homes, public space and services from the Railway Lands site to the North and East of the St Pancras Station venue). It was a bit bizarre to see the Eurostar trains pulling in and out as the backdrop for the candidates’ platform, and the numbers of international passengers passng through. Let’s hope – and fight – for regeneration benefits for the most deprived ward in Camden, St Pancras and Somers Town.

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