“The more things change…”

My granny used to say that a lot and I never knew quite what she had in mind but now, in my dotage, I think I’m beginning to understand. It’s come around again - the Holyrood Hustings!

The official definition of “hustings” in my dictionary (yes, I do have one) is “parliamentary election proceedings” and since this one is for the Scottish Parliament, it’s the Holyrood Hustings!

It’s in Greyfriars Parish Church – not the hall – at 7pm on Wednesday 27 April.

We only get this opportunity every leap year, but once again the Royal Burgh of Lanark Community Council can bid you welcome to the Lanark equivalent of the Roman Coliseum at its bloodiest, although having had a few more years of acquired culture and civilisation under our belts, we at least hold ours in a church to ensure the spillage is kept to a minimum.

We have something similar every year, actually. If it is a Westminster or Holyrood election it’s called a ‘hustings’, if it’s the South Lanarkshire Council election it’s called a ‘stramash’, in the good old days of the old town council it was called ‘the greetin’ meetin’ and when it’s a Community Council election It’s called a ‘waste of Council resources’.
I don’t know what it’s called when it’s an EU election; do we still have them? Has anybody ever met an MEP? What is an MEP?

The RBLCC go to a lot of trouble to make sure it’s all open and transparent. We get all the constituency candidates together in Greyfriars Parish Church and we provide an absolutely fair and friendly Chair for the proceedings.

The format is a bit like BBC’s Question Time. There will be six candidates on the panel and each will be given a few minutes to introduce themselves and their policies before the Chair invites questions - and the bloodshed begins!

The SNP will slag off Labour and Labour will slag off the SNP (it’s Aye Been), the Lib-Dems will criticise everybody and anybody and, if they can be bothered, anybody and everybody will criticise the Conservatives. The Independents will explain how they will influence a Parliament dominated by party politics while criticising each other and holding to account the party they were members of before they fell out with their party of choice and became Independent.

It will be a blast - you should be there - and please, bring a controversial question or two!  The candidates all tend to be very civilised, good humoured and respectful to each other for the most part, but the core support that follows each around such events makes the Game of Thrones look like The Magic Roundabout!



Frank Gunning shares his views on various local issues in his Let's Be Frank column.