Election battle hits airwaves
PUBLISHED: 16:30 21 April 2010 | UPDATED: 11:38 23 August 2010
OUR political coverage was given massive exposure when top radio presenter Nick Ferrari broadcast his morning show from the high street. The day after the televised leaders debate, Michael Adkins, assistant editor (content) for the Reporter, joined the
OUR political coverage was given massive exposure when top radio presenter Nick Ferrari broadcast his morning show from the high street.
The day after the televised leaders' debate, Michael Adkins, assistant editor (content) for the Reporter, joined the LBC broadcaster on his election battle bus.
Every week since the beginning of March we have devoted two pages to election-related articles to help readers get to know their candidates and policies.
The show opened with a brief discussion of the Reporter article on Nikki Phelps, a mother of twins from Gravesend, who is forced to pay £100 a day for cancer drugs.
Also highlighted was the case of Brendan Moriarty, a former Gravesend police officer who paid £8,000 of his own money, topped up with £7,000 from a charity, for revolutionary Cyberknife treatment in his battle against bowel cancer. In both cases, West Kent NHS would not fund their treatment.
Other topics discussed included the continuing recession and small business owners who fear they may be forced to close due to business rate increases.
During the show last Friday, incumbent Conservative MP Adam Holloway dismissed claims that Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg topped the opinion polls after the debate as the presenter dubbed Mr Holloway a "classic Tory toff". Mr Holloway fumed: "The fact is this country is really in the sh*t economically and socially and there is only one or two who will be Prime Minister at the end, David or Gordon," before jokingly adding: "A Liberal Democrat victory, you heard it hear first."
Labour parliamentary candidate Kathryn Smith and Liberal Democrat candidate and female porn director Anna Arrowsmith also featured.
Since WWI, Gravesham has often been a bellweather constituency - whichever party wins the borough triumphs nationally.
This was reversed five years ago when Conservative Mr Holloway defeated the then Labour MP, Chris Pond, with a 1.5 per cent majority.
Mrs Smith blamed that defeat on the impact of the Gulf War and Tory benefactor Lord Aschcroft, who put money into marginal seats, including £25,000 for Gravesham's campaign.
Speaking about Gordon Brown's performance in the television debate, she said: "He came across very well as a serious politician.
"We all know he is not the most professional television personality but if people listen to his policies and what he is trying to say they will understand and believe in him."
Ms Arrowsmith was questioned about her career as the UK's first-ever female porn director. She said she had her leader's support, despite him saying her career "was not his cup of tea".
She added: "We have a lot to offer so I was pleased people got to see how good we are."
Asked why she thought Nick Clegg had been most successful on the night, she attributed it to "well-thought-out policies and the fact we have watched them make mistakes for 65 years".
Give us your views on the leaders' debate? E-mail michael.adkins@archant.