I found myself unable to answer him and I could say is lets see what happens at the debate at The Drum and go from there.
Infact having carefully thought about it now after the hustings for which we had an attendance of fifty people, I must confess that I am still not sure.
There is not one candidate that jumps of the ballot paper, I’m afraid in addition it seems that some are relying in party machinery, when, this is actually a stand alone position, so it should really be about the ability of the individual and not party politics, which is just basically the same boring mud slinging, which only seeks to fuel the mass disaffection.
This purpose of hosting the hustings was really seen as a way of introducing the candidates to the public and let then answer those all important issues face to face and on the spot.
After all we do call it being accountable which starts now and not after 22nd August. In addition to this the last turnout was 12.1% and if you think that’s bad; we may well be in for a shock, taking into consideration that this is the largest by-election in UK history involving some 2.9 million people.
Some Political commentators are anticipating a turnout as low as 5% for a job of this importance that carries an annual salary of £100,000.00.
It just hasn’t grasped the imagination of the public to date and maybe its because there are no independents, but, one must remember to barrier to entering this race is the ridiculous £5000.00 deposit each candidate has to lodge, which is a major hurdle should you wish to take part in this democratic process.
The debate itself was actually full of surprises, such as many of the audience finding a connection with the non career politician which was the UKIP candidate.
There was surprise when the Labour Candidate stated that he did not know what the salary was, but, was this because is not the incentive?
The Lib/Dem candidate stated he would do the job for half the money.
The Conservative Candidate said he would seek to review how the CPS operates as he felt it behaved as though it was an arbitration service.
There appears to be broad agreement on:
Maintaining Frontline Policing.
The IPCC was not fit for purpose.
The need to work better with communities being represented in recruitment and promotion, disciplinary and investigations into misconduct as well as strategic roles.
There was broad commitment to Community Policing
A commitment into ensuring that funding is distributed on a much broader basis.
However, it was noted by some that Keith Rowe of UKIP was the only candidate to mention issues such as corruption and stop n search in his literature.
Indeed near to end of the debate there was a lively exchange concerning police conduct.
Ayoub Khan also remembers a lady from Wolverhampton who was at the previous hustings, that complained about her treatment but felt that she had not got anyway as yet.
Les Jones had sympathy toward the families of Mikey Powell, Kingsley Burrell and Lloyd Morris, whilst committing to deal with these issues in an open and transparent manner.
David Jamieson did say the law was for all and should be applied uniformally.
Generally speaking for me some connections were made and it was a useful and enlightening debate, however, I think the jury is still out and not much has been done to capture the imagination of the electorate.
I think what shines through the lack of interest in party politics, however, with the barriers of a large electoral deposit then this only encourages exclusion rather than inclusion.
Many did ask afterwards that a woman in the mix would have been good and many even commented on why Yvonne Mosquito was not the Labour Candidate. However, only the party can answer that one I’m afraid.
The final point that I wanted to hear, was would any of the candidates continue with some to the good initiatives started by Bob Jones. I’m still waiting.
It's going to be a nail biting event for the Candidates at the count on Friday, that’s all I can say.
The saddest part of this whole event is that this could have been avoided if it was a double running team on the Ballot Paper, hence enabling the deputy to see out the term of office, such as in the Kennedy and Nixon era’s in the USA.
However, who am I to suggest ways of saving the estimated £3.4million that this by election is costing.