I have just watched a recording of last night's BBC Wales election Debate from Delyn. On the panel were the four main party candidates:
Bill Brereton - Liberal Democrat
David Hanson - Labour
Peter Ryder - Plaid Cymru
Antoinette Sandbach - Conservative
Not included (not even in the audience - which use to happen in the old days) were the two other declared candidates:
Jennifer Griffin - British National Party
Andrew Haigh - UK Independence Party
One of the problems with local hustings, rather than party big guns, taking part in programmes like this is that they can benefit the incumbent. A person who has been a professional politician every working day of his or her life for years, sometimes decades should have a natural advantage in knowledge of the arguments and in ways of presenting the arguments.
Despite having been an MP for some 18 years David Hanson didn't seem to have that edge over the others. This would have been refreshing if it was because the other panel members were particularly strong, but they weren't, they were all pretty weak and uninspiring, for the incumbent not to win hands down in such a situation is a very bad reflection on his ability, especially as he has been a government minister for some time.
Two bad mistakes in the programme:
Whilst discussing crime and law and order Antoinette Sandbach mentioned something that David Cameron had said in Llandudno about the rights of people in England (pause, hesitation, afterthought) ... and Wales. It was only a 1 second pause, if that, but it stood out a mile.
The other bad mistake was by Plaid's Peter Ryder, he had mentioned Plaid's policy of a fuel price regulator, Antoinette retorted that this was a Conservative policy since 2008 and Paid wanted to jump on their band wagon. Peter tried to come back but was stopped by Betsan.
I know what Peter wanted to say. That Plaid had put forward such a scheme in 2005 and 2008 and the Conservatives had voted against it on both occasions. Peter should have got that point in, even if it was in answer to another question.
Bill Bereton was the candidate who was most out of his depth, he used his USP - that he is a former senior policeman, so he knows about law and order - in response to the first question about the economy, when a law and order question came up later in the programme he had nothing new or unique to offer on the subject.
So my Strictly Come Politicking scores are:
Peter Ryder - Plaid Cymru 4.5
Antoinette Sandbach - Conservative 4.25
David Hanson - Labour - 4.25
Bill Brereton - Liberal Democrat 4.00
All could have done better.
With the Experience of Lembit and Glyn, the enthusiasm of Heledd and whatever the Labour candidate can offer lets hope for something more inspiring next week when the debate visits Montgomeryshire.