The hustings took place in a packed assembly hall of local Ysgol y Mynydd Du where the candidates campaigned for the hotly contested seat of 'Brecon and Radnorshire'. Organized by the Talgarth and District Regeneration Group, the session, chaired and hosted by Ben Rawlance, writer and Director of the Black Mountains College, eventually got going about 7.30 pm after a slightly delayed start. The candidates opened with a personal address (absent) Jeff Green - Welsh Christian Party had his read out by the Chair, followed by Fay Jones - Welsh Conservative Party, Tom Davies - Welsh Labour Party, Jane Dodds - Welsh Liberal Democrats, and last but by no means least Lady Lilly the Pink (aka Berni Benton).
With farmers, business people, and residents in the audience, the candidates were put through their paces on questions submitted by the audience. Topics such as school funding, school travel, and local authority spending were hotly debated. Although Brexit did not have colossal airplay, the candidates put forward their visions for Wales under a new regime. And, although passionately presented their party rhetoric was presented in a cordial atmosphere with little heckling from the crowd, unlike the previous snap bi-election. With less than two weeks before the country heads to the polls, it was hard to establish who took the lead in the evenings' proceedings. Lady Lilly although expressing that she did 'not wish to become MP' strongly emphasized the need to vote, and in a close-run race, with all to play for, she did press home the point that if you could not vote for the red, blue, green or yellow, parties, then purple was the 'none of the above option'. Labour's Tom Davies spoke of his worry over his parties' claims that the NHS was for sale under the current Government, quoting his medical issues as a reference. Fay Jones, of the Conservative Party, was quick to intercede that her leader had NO plans to sell off the 'Jewel in the Crown' of the British Welfare State. She also talked emphatically of her professional career background and claimed that she was the best candidate to represent the local farming community that was well-represented in the audience. Jane Dodds, with a 25-year career in Child Protection and Social Care, spoke of her ambition to see more funding plowed into Wales to combat heating poverty. She pledged a commitment to challenge Westminster to un moth-ball the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon project, stating that Wales was best equipped to start a green revolution in the energy sector.
Whoever your pen marks an 'X' for it is going to be a tight run race, highlighting more than ever the need to vote in this pre-Christmas Election. The Town Hall, as usual, will be the Polling Station, times for voting will be issued shortly. You can bring your electoral card registration with you, although as long as you did register, this is not a necessity as your name and postal code will be used to find you on the voting list.
Below - Ben Rawlence of Black Mountains College
Chair of the Talgarth & District Regeneration Group and Talgarth Town Cllr Louise Elston-Reeves
A packed audience
Roger Hugh Williams, former Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnorshire from 2001 - 2015
Fay Jones had one last chat, Jeff Gwillim of the Black Mountains Land Use Partnership and Talgarth Mayor Willam Denston Powell
For more details on the candidates, you can find their manifestos and details here:
Fay Jones: https://www.welshconservatives.com/general-election-2019-candidates
Tom Davies: https://www.welshlabour.wales/tom-davies-for-brecon-and-radnorshire/
Jane Dodds: (defending her seat in Westminster) : https://www.janedodds.wales
Lady Lilly the Pink : https://www.loonyparty.com/4011/6707/brecon-radnor-by-election-1st-august-2019-lady-lily-the-pink/
Jeff Green: http://www.ukchristianparty.org/wales.html
As Jeff was not present, here is a copy of his testamonioal read out by Chair of the evening Ben Rawlence:
2020 vision for Brecon and Radnorshire from the Christian Party
In education, we will look at ways of helping our young people find purpose in completing their education so they don’t drop out of the system early and find themselves without direction and unable to make progress. We want to reinstate classical subjects, ensure that the UK's Christian heritage is properly reflected in the National Curriculum, ensure the teaching of creationism is preserved and focus on testing and competition of challenge our pupils to achieve better results
Tourism in Mid Wales suffers due to lack of investment and focus on Mid Wales assets. We will continue to press for a fair share of funding to develop a strong and vibrant tourism economy to support the many local tourism businesses across the area. I will explore ideas for development of new opportunities to bring prosperity to the local economy long term
Only meat lovers can appreciate the wonderful produce of our Brecon and Radnorshire farmers fully and I will promote the use of local produce in hospitals and schools. I will campaign against the imports and foreign slaughtered beef and lamb and explore innovative ideas to ensure the longevity of Welsh farming
In a rural area such as Brecon and Radnorshire it’s important to have good support systems. I will encourage personal responsibility and promote mental health as much as physical health. We will reduce health and safety legislation and give parents back their responsibility including decision-making rights regarding the medical treatment of their underage children. I will improve local support schemes for families through which strong family values and Christian British values can be promoted to address issues such as teenage pregnancy, truancy and kids dropping out of school
What does the Christian Party stand for ?
There’s a well known saying ‘ If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always have what you’ve always had’. That’s never truer than when you look at our elected MPs. Many MPs lack vision and nothing changes. Currently most of them belong to a party making more fantastical claims daily which is simply folly. Party leaders are trying to outdo each other with bigger and more outrageous spending plans. Anyone can spend more money. It takes men and women with integrity, vision and innovative thinking to use our resources better and more creatively.
It’s time to hear a different message – strong moral values, strong families, healthy children, traditional marriage, British law, excellent education not liberal indoctrination, strong national defence, personal responsibility, protection of all life, financial integrity, a United Kingdom free of the EU clutches.
Christian Party 'Proclaiming Christ's Lordship'
Tel: 01597 825151
W: www.ukchristianparty.org | fb.com/TheChristianParty | T: www.twitter.com/newsUKCP
All images courtesy of Ann Seymour Photography and FYI Talgarth
* these images should not be downloaded or altered in any way without the express permission of the photographer. Info: wwww.annseymour.co.uk