What I'd really like would be a head-to-head with Lembit Opik before the General Election - somewhere like Theatre Hafren, with a neutral Chairman, and no idea what the questions are beforehand. Two podiums, facing each other, eyeball-to-eyeball, two sword lengths apart. But I can see it wouldn't be fair to two of the other candidates, David Rowlands for UKIP, and Heledd Fychan for Plaid Cymru. I'm not including the Labour candidate, Nick Colbourne, because he seems to be taking no interest whatsoever in the General Election - in Montgomeryshire anyway. Personally, I'm not a fan of the proposed 'Leader's TV Debates'. They'll make the General Election too 'presidential'. I'd prefer the Montgomeryshire election to be about the Montgomeryshire candidates. But I do like the idea of a local debate.
This comes to mind tonight, because I've just returned home after appearing as part of a 'candidate's panel' in Llansantffraid, discussing onshore wind farms with the Montgomeryshire branch of One Voice Wales. Bit early for the General - but the date was not of my choosing. It turned out a lot better than I expected. Heledd came over well, and David's wide knowledge is always so impressive. It wasn't a large meeting - perhaps 20 ish. Well informed audience though. Must admit I find these panels frustrating, particularly on this subject. I don't want to share. I could speak for half an hour on every question myself.
We were all against covering the hills of Montgomeryshire in wind farms, though I thought that I was the most straightforwardly anti. I'm not counting Mick Bates, AM who was also there, and talked about everything else except wind farms. Lot of talk about nuclear power as well. The MP seemed the most keen, but David and I accept that new nuclear generating capacity is inevitable. Heledd was dead against. I thought it courteous not to mention the support of Ieuan Wyn Jones and Lord Elis Thomas for a new power station at Wylfa - but the MP couldn't help but resort to a 'cheap' reference to it. No wonder Zac Goldsmith hates politicians. Also a bit of discussion about the 400 kv cable that needs to be built from Shropshire to West Montgomeryshire, to carry the power to the National Grid. This is really going to cause a row - could be a General Election issue. A Grid representative had telephoned me this afternoon to say the announcement of just where the line is to go has been delayed until April.
But back to the idea of a 'candidate's debate' at Theatre Hafren, sponsored by the County Times perhaps, chaired by local councillor. What about Bob Mills (he's still independent). I reckon it would work. Will suggest it to the CT, and to the others. Might even ask the Labour Candidate as well, unless he's just a myth who doesn't really exist.