People's Panel: Kenilworth locals give their say on Reform, TV debates and D-Day snubs

By James Smith

14th Jun 2024 | General Election 2024

Our People's Panel will be sharing local opinion throughout the election campaign (image by James Smith)
Our People's Panel will be sharing local opinion throughout the election campaign (image by James Smith)

As part of our general election coverage, Kenilworth Nub News has launched a new column called the People's Panel.

Over the coming weeks we will be asking each of our four panellists a series of questions about the election run in.

From national to local, the panel will be giving their take on some of the biggest issues coming under the spotlight.

Having shared their first thoughts on the election last week, our panellists have now fielded their second set of questions.

1. After the first round of TV debates - who has come out well and badly? And why?

Victoria Mier, 60, said it is hard to trust what is said: I have to confess to not watching the TV debates.

I don't think they show anyone at their best, but I also don't trust what they say, and can't bear watching politicians bickering.

I did read the reviews afterwards, but can't comment on too much – I did see however that Penny Mordaunt repeated the bit about Labour's tax implications being £2,000 more expensive for families, which had already been discredited after Sunak said it.

Who knows what other lies they tell!

Victoria: 'I also don't trust what they say' (image supplied)

Clive Peacock, 82, says: Without exception the debates have been unedifying examples of the poor quality of debating in politics today.

Starmer and Sunak remain unable to forecast how growth will be driven. Starmer continues to handle the "Ming" vase with great care! Sunak's judgement is questionable.

When the seven "leaders" faced the cameras, the spectacle of Rayner and Mordaunt scrapping like wild cats was another unedifying experience which confirms the view of poor quality debating.

The Green deputy leader and Plaid Cymru leader performed well. Nobody else enhanced anything!!

Herbie Midgley, 18, gave an account of all the major parties: Having watched the BBC debate with representatives from all parties, I believe that Nigel Farage has been clear and concise about Reform UK's plan, should they form the next government.

Penny Mourdant represented the Conservative party well, came across with a strong personality and seemed to really believe what she was saying, unlike Sunak.

Angela Rayner from the Labour Party sounded fairly subdued; however, she was often interrupted, so I feel viewers missed out on her point of view.

The Green Party candidate and Liberal Democrats candidate both, I feel, were quite insignificant in the debate; however, they both came across quite well and with a can-do attitude.

Charlotte Richards, 34, said the Tory leader's plan was 'weird'.

It was weird that Rishi Sunak clear attack is that Labour will raise taxes by £2,000 per working family which has been clearly proven to be a lie.

Equally arguing that 'the plan is working' is just plainly odd since everyone can see things aren't getting better. 

Charlotte was not impressed with Sunak's performance at the first TV debate (image supplied)

2. Much has been made of Reform and Nigel Farage in the past week. How worried should the other parties be of them?

Second-hand bookshop owner Victoria: I think people sometimes think that because the Tories have gone down in the opinion polls that people are going to vote Lib Dem or even Labour – but it's much more likely that they will move to Reform instead.

I think the Tories should be worried because they are losing a lot of their voters to Reform.

Nigel Farage likes to stir things up and he doesn't expect to become PM so he can say what he likes, and some people like that.

Barista Herbie says Reform should not be discounted.

In my opinion, Reform UK pose the largest threat to the Conservatives in the battle to form the opposition.

I don't think it is likely they will win the election; however, a coalition with the Conservatives could see an unprecedented turn of events, which I believe would win the election.

Nigel Farage is extremely popular because of his effective use of social media, creating short, engaging videos which show him and Reform in a positive light.

I think Reform are much more likely to win more seats in the house due to Farage becoming the leader of the party.

Herbie Midgley is a first-time voter (image supplied)

Radiology Administrator Charlotte added: I think Farage and reform are more of a threat to conservatives since over the last 10 years their party has been going further to the right and there is a bigger overlap of tradition conservatives voters who'd vote for reform.

'Active Campaigner' Clive said: Reform with Farage in charge will take votes from both the Tories and the Lib Dems and, in so doing, will aid the Labour cause. Reform unlikely to win more than one possibly two seats.

Reform do understand the importance of "hollowing out the state" and the need for an "aspirational approach" to growth. Nobody uses the word aspiration nowadays!!

3. What did you make of Rishi Sunak's handling of the D-Day commemorations?

Clive's thoughts: All political leaders have numerous advisers on hand, however, always remember....advisers ADVISE but leaders DECIDE.

Appalling decision, lack of judgement, which has probably sunk Sunak, a failure to recognise the significance of the event.

Clive has been unimpressed with the debates, and the campaigning across the board (image supplied)

Charlotte had similar ideas: ⁠It was tone deaf and disrespectful to the memories of the brave men who fought for our freedom 80 years ago. At best it's an error of judgement, at worst it's an example of how little Rishi Sunak cares about the people of Britain. There is a lot of flag waving and declarations of patriotism but actions speak much louder than words.

Herbie said: I thought Sunak was battling with Joe Biden for the most embarrassing leader of the day! The fact that he left early, I believe, was a stunt from his advisors to show how busy he is, but this has backfired massively and sends a poor message. I think he has let the country and his party down, and for me, this was the final nail in the coffin. 

Victoria gave a scathing review: Shocking, to be honest. I also read that originally he didn't even plan to go.

His apology and excuses were pathetic. How embarrassing for the UK on the world stage.

It feels to me as though Rishi has already given up.

Do you agree with our panellists? Why not write in to let us know - email [email protected]


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