Rent-a-mob at the Wyvern

You would think that Ms Tomlinson would have sufficient confidence in her son Mr Tomlinson — well known for his assured media performances — not to heckle his opponents during a public debate. You’d think that the likes of Ms Tomlinson and Ms Foley would recognise Mr Tomlinson’s ability to defend his own record against an unjustified attack by the government’s representative in South Swindon, Ms Snelgrove, on scrutinising Mr Bluh’s wifi deal and not feel the need to indulge in a slow hand clap of his opponent. You’d be wrong.

At last night’s question time event at the Wyvern Theatre chaired by the Adver’s Mr King, the lesser lights of the blue nest were on their most puerile and infantile behaviour. Mr King may not have been the best chairman in the world — allowing the candidates to make speeches in place of answers and allowing Ms Snelgrove to waffle on for as long as all the others put together — but the blue rent-a-mob heckling from the back were doing their candidate no favours. The public were there to hear a debate, not to have one side of it drowned out.

And what did we learn from that debate? Aside from the rowdiness of the blues and the willingness of Mr King to allow many questions from the reds own party members, very little. Both Mr Tomlinson and Ms Snelgrove were well practiced, well briefed public performers — no surprise there. Mr Hooton and Mr Hughes were less confident but reasonably well informed, though Mr Hooton claims to disagree with rather a lot of his party’s own policies. The other two candidates that were on show last night seemed to know neither their own policies nor Swindon very well. I now know that all six candidates can read from a pre-prepared script; I also know that two can do little else. In short, I have a better idea of who I definitely won’t vote for, but nothing to convince me that one of the others should get my vote.