A coalition of churches in South Skye and Lochalsh today announced their plan to host a hustings-style event in the Lochalsh Hotel, Kyle on Monday 19th April at 7:30pm. The event, South Skye and Lochalsh Candidates Debate, was envisaged several months ago, as a way for local churches to provide a venue for their own members, but also the wider community, where the candidates will face ordinary voters with real questions.
“Very often the church is seen lamenting lost influence in public life,” said Gordon Matheson, minister at Sleat & Strath Free Church. “There are a few ways we, as Christians, can respond to this: – we can either withdraw into ever more exclusive groups and isolate ourselves from public life; others might set up ‘Christian’ parties to reassert what we see as lost influence; or we can take every effort possible to engage in the political process, and through that make a contribution for the good of our communities. This event was planned to give our own members that chance – to put their issues to the candidates.
“As we discussed an event like this, we realised our community at large doesn’t get that opportunity to interact with all the candidates together. We saw this as one area where we could do something beneficial to serve our community, and so we decided from the outset that this should be a public event. Of course we remain concerned about moral issues in public life, and society; but Christians are concerned, to varying degrees, about taxation, the deficit, the size of the state, military spending, Trident missiles, or social justice. So it would be unfair to for candidates to expect to be faced exclusively with questions on moral issues.”
The event doors will open at 7:30pm, aiming to begin the debate at 8:00pm. This will give time to set up primed questions, make sure questioners are seated near mics, etc. The candidates will each have 2 or 3 minutes to make a pitch to the audience, and this will be followed by a “Question time” style discussion.
At the time of this release we have confirmed commitments to attend from: Charles Kennedy (Lib Dem); Alasdair Stephen (SNP); Donald Cameron (Conservative) and Philip Anderson (UKIP). The event will be chaired by Duncan Ferguson, Head Teacher at Plockton High School. Invitations have also been extended to UKIP and the Greens. John McKendrick (Labour) will not be attending due to professional commitments elsewhere.
The event will be recorded, and Cullins FM plan to broadcast it in full the next day.
People attending are encouraged to contact Gordon Matheson on 01471 833 281, or by email at email@example.com if they want to ask a specific question. Comments are allowed on this post (below).