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What is a hustings?
A hustings is a non partisan event bringing together electoral candidates in the run up to an election. It is an opportunity for voters to hear the views of politicians on a range of issues. It enables you, the voter, to raise the issues that matter most by asking a question during the event.
Hustings are often organised by a community group or several groups working together within an area. The easiest way to find out about a hustings near you is by searching the internet, you will also find information in local newspapers, libraries, communities centres or by asking the candidates directly.
Fancy organising a hustings? Read about Positive Money Bristol’s event here.
Why should I go to hustings?
We don’t often get the opportunity to directly address our political representatives. At a hustings you can ask a question and hear the response of your MP and their political rivals. With an election just around the corner, politicians are eager to connect with voters – they are likely to be listening more attentively than at other times in the election cycle!
As our poll results have shown, many politicians do not understand where money comes from and they are even less likely to have considered any alternatives to our current money system. As Zac Goldsmith MP highlighted during the Money Creation and Society debate in Parliament: “most people here would be humble enough to recognise that the banking wizardry we are discussing is such a complex issue that very few people properly understand it.’
It is up to us to raise awareness of the impact the money system has on society so that our elected representatives subject the system to sufficient scrutiny. Asking a well-constructed question at a hustings is an effective way to do this.
Asking a good question is not as easy as it sounds. Remember:
- Raise your hand as early as possible – this maximises your chances of getting called by the chair.
- Keep it short – monetary reform is a complex issue, you will never cover everything so stick to a single point.
- Be polite and respectful – it is easy to disregard a question if it is said in an aggressive or negative manner.
- The audience matters – even if the politicians ignore you or dodge the question remember that there is a whole room of potential Positive Money supporters in the audience. Frame your question in a way that will arouse the interest of other people in the room.
- Be specific – make sure you ask a clear question.
Addressing a room of people can be nerve racking. Preparing your question and practicing saying it beforehand is the most sure-fire way to deliver it confidently.
Do some research about the current MP. Knowing about their voting record and interests will give you an idea of what reaction to expect and strengthen your response.
Have a look back at the ‘Money Creation and Society’ backbench debate that took place in November last year. You can find footage and a transcript of the debate on our website. It might be useful to have a couple of quotes and points raised during the debate on hand to show that there are MPs in Parliament already considering this issue.
What will you ask?
We’d like as many future MPs as possible to support a proper review of the monetary system. Many MPs have already spoken in favour of this, and hustings are a great opportunity to get commitments from more candidates.
Here is a sample question to give you some inspiration:
97% of all money is created by private banks. Most is used to buy property or speculate in financial markets and only 10% is lent to businesses. Would you support the setting up of a Commission in the next parliament to consider how the monetary system could better serve society?
During the event
Tweet about the experience and take a picture on the night. Remember to include the hashtag #sovereignmoney
After the event
Tell us about it. We would love to hear what the event was like, how you found asking a question and what reaction you got from the panel. Email email@example.com after the event.
Follow up with the politicians – if you got an interesting or positive response, write to the politician after the event and see if they will agree to meet with you. You might also want to follow up a frustrating response by directing them to the Positive Money website.