Cambridge GuildhallThrough the Looking Glass

The General Election May 7th Cambridge Guildhall

3. Big Footing: When the national party leaders visited the constituency

We attended two set-piece “Big Footing” events as the party big wigs visited Cambridge and spoke to them and their team supporters:

We caught up with Labour's then Deputy Leader, Harriet Harman MP on her pink bus and her team members (Feb 25th) Sally Gimson, from the Labour List website, and Ann Sinnott, a Cambridge (Lab) Councillor who told us how pressing the problem of domestic abuse was. We also spoke with Labour's PPC Daniel Zeichner, who you can hear under our Candidates section.

We asked Harriet, how many places her pink bus would be visiting and why the colour of the bus had provoked so much criticism? She spoke of how important the women's vote was to her party. Harriet told us: "There has been a lot of controversy about the colour, but I can't really regard it as negative publicity because how can you have a debate about something so insignificant. As we have gone around the Country, women are concerned, not about the colour, but about what is going on in women's lives and what local government and national government can do for them. The women's vote is very important to Labour and for women to vote. Last time in 2010, 9.1 million didn't vote. I think it is important that we hear women's voices that women have their say and exercise their vote. Politics is too important to be left to the boys."

Sally Gimson, from the Labour List website, said: "People are hooting on the motorway as the pink bus goes by. It has been mocked but not viciously attacked. It has made people look at women's issues. All publicity is good publicity. The cost of living, people's income, child care, DV, the grooming of children, sexual harassment, are big issues for women as well. The battle has not yet been won for women and that is why we are out on the pink bus."

Ann Sinnott, a Labour City Councillor since May 2014, said: "I was delighted with the pink bus and there is nothing wrong with the colour. The mediation service we visited, do very good work, and there were other representatives there working with vulnerable women and women with DV. It costs the police huge amounts of money each year, it is costly and there is a human cost too. DV is the biggest crime anywhere."

Listen to the interviews:-

or download the MP3 file (file size: 4.65MB)

The Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennett, attended a special Green debate with the Guardian journalist Zoe Williams at Downing College, Cambridge, (April 15th). We also spoke to Zac, her national campaign manager, plus a local activists in the audience.

Natalie told us: "On Climate Change, we have really been left behind while the rest of the World, Countries like China, are towering ahead. That is one of the things our Manifesto focuses on not just energy conservation but renewables. The Green surge has grown more than four fold in the past year in a range of seats we are seeing growth and a whole range of possibilities."

Zac, the National campaigns assistant for the Green Party in England and Wales said: "We have just past 60,000 members in England and Wales so the Green surge is continuing. The green party isn't really about Natalie it is about the ideas and policies we have got to create a fairer society. We are also challenging Norwich South, the second best result for us last time after Brighton. Cambridge was third for us in 2010. I think we are really moving into multiparty politics, which I think is a more mature system."

Dennis O'Malley of the Stop the War coalition said he had attended the Hustings to find our "directly" what the Green Party had to say on a number of issues particularly foreign policy: "Yes, we can ask questions directly to the Leader of the Party and get them to talk about issues that they might otherwise avoid."

Listen to the interviews:-

or download the MP3 file (file size: 11.1MB)

Dedication: This Eight part documentary is dedicated to my friends Simon Sedgwick-Jell (Green Party), and Ann Stockford (Labour Party). Both were well known political campaigners in Cambridge. They may support different parties but each supported and participated in democracy and befriended me. My respect goes to the candidates of all the political parties and their teams of supporters.