Thanks to 'Amos Hart' - which presumably is a nom-de-plume - who has sent in the following eye-witness account of the recent general election hustings in New Mills that has been commented on under recent HPT articles:
"At its best it was like scenes from “Animal Farm” or “1984”; at its worst I was half expecting Stormtroopers to burst into the room at any moment.
"The questions were wide ranging and seemed very balanced. The compere seemed absolutely neutral and fair. As he put the questions to each candidate, the compere reminded them of their party’s policy on that subject with a quick ad verbatim quotation from their manifesto. This was a useful mind jogger for the audience.
"However, when it was the Labour candidates turn to answer, the compere was repeatedly subject to loud and intimidating abuse from the floor accusing him of political bias, and demanding that he stops doing it.
"The Conservative candidate (Andrew Bingham), and to a lesser extent the LibDem candidate (Charles Lawley), were subject to repeated mindless heckling and interruptions. The annoying part was that a lot of the debate itself was really absorbing and the interruptions were often during an interesting point. For instance one major interruption was when we were hearing from a candidate about the fight to save New Mills 6th form.
"Another, quite amusing interruption, was when a candidate mentioned that the Liberal William Beveridge had been the architect of the welfare state. This was immediately howled down as being 'nonsense' and 'rubbish'.
"The chief culprits included the lady with the teenage daughter and also a lady sat near the side (back) door. The latter was an absolute pain. I don’t know if anyone knows who she is.
"I was talking to someone afterwards who said they had asked one of the protagonists which part of the High Peak they were from, but said they did not appear to know!
"I have tried to keep the above as factual and balanced as possible.
"All in all, it was not a good night for democracy."
HPT Editor adds: I'm sure all HPT readers will be very interested in this report. All comments welcome, as usual. Additional factual info from the event itself would be especially welcome