Sunday, February 28, 2010

Burgess Hill Fairtrade Debate

Tonight at the Martlets Hall, the Fairtrade Debate took place. I didn't go.

BBC newsreader George Alagiah was due to host the event. The panel was made up of such well known political heavyweights: Serena Tierney, Liberal Democrat Candidate for Mid Sussex; Katy Bourne, Area Chair East Sussex Conservative Women's Association; and David Boot Labour candidate for Mid Sussex.

It's a Sunday night, Dancing on Ice is on the telly, and yet the organisers expect people to be flocking to the Martlets Hall to see a bunch of low profile people debating Fairtrade.

Now, how can you have a debate on Fairtrade between three political people? If it were a debate between Mr Cadbury, Mr Nestle, Mr Mars and those three minor political names, then it could be interesting. Surely the three panelists were all going to be singing from the same hymn sheet?

Was David Boot going to say he doesn't give a toss about Fairtrade because he only likes Cadbury's chocolate? Was Serina Tierney going to share with us all her love of coffee from Macdonalds? Of course not!

The General Election is due to be announced very soon. Was Sunday's event set up to benefit Serina Tierney's public profile? If she spent an evening speaking passionately about Fairtrade and how she'd storm the HQ's of the various chocolate makers dressed as a cocoa bean in an attempt to get a better deal for the people in Africa, South America or wherever it is that chocolate comes from, how could you not be impressed? It could be a vote winner.

Serina is yet again set to be Nicolas Soames nearest challenger to become MP for Mid Sussex, she needs to steal 3000 of Big Nic's voters in order to take the seat. Surely she pulled a rabbit out of the hat tonight in order to win some people over?

According to the blog of Andrew Hicks, Lib Dem Town Councillor. A whopping 100 people attended tonights event. I'm sickened that there are 100 people locally that don't like to watch Dancing on Ice live on a Sunday night.

Coming up this Friday, its the Acoustic Fairtrade concert with Phil Beer, Miranda Sykes, 3 Daft Monkeys, Rob Halligan & Gareth Davies-Jones.
Who on earth are these people? They are not household names to the handful of people that I quizzed. It's £14 to go and watch this showcase of folk music.
Why is folk music connected with Fairtrade? Why can't it be pop music? More people would buy tickets for a pop band, surely?

If you attended, or are planning to attend any of the events during the Fairtrade festival, let me know what you thought of it.


Anonymous said...

Poor uncovered correspondent, slaving away at 1.44am to cover a fair trade event that you didn't attend - get a life and register your fair trade swop on

Burgess Hill Webteam said...

Dancing on ice was on, how could I attend!

I've made up for it though.
New blog entry coming soon.

Anonymous said...

They should have called it the Fairtrade CHAT, not the Fairtrade debate. You need people to be in favour and against something to have a debate. I can't believe 100 people were sad enough to go to it.

Pulling teeth seems a more appealing evening.

Anonymous said...

There were about 140 people at this event. I organised it and had positive feedback from everyone who attended. It was an informative evening. For the record, the Burgess Hill Fairtrade Group is politically neutral. The evening was not arranged to favour one panel member over another.