On Saturday Power 2010* hosted ‘Blow-up Politics in Brixton’, an informal event where Brixtonians had the opportunity to have a chat with parliamentary candidates from the three constituencies of Streatham, Vauxhall and Dulwich and West Norwood.
Candidates sat on bright pink inflatable sofas while constituents queued to have their say or add their thoughts to a “democratree”. The street outside KFC became a real political melting pot for the afternoon with candidates from both ends of the political spectrum as well as the three main parties.
Despite the candidates looking a little uncomfortable at times (it’s hard to strike a confident pose on inflatable furniture) there was a real buzz around the event itself, which drew a large crowd of spectators throughout the afternoon.
Never one to miss an opportunity to talk politics, the Brixton Pound posed a few questions to the candidates about the local economy and independent businesses.
Lib Dem candidate for Streatham Chris Nicholson had some encouraging things to say. He stressed the importance of attracting new business to Brixton and highlighted the late-night and Sunday openings for the market as something that could draw in custom from further afield. Nicholson mentioned his own personal frustration at never being able to find time to eat in foodie hotspot Franco Manca.
Green candidate Rebecca Findlay was adamant that business rates need to be readdressed to give new independent businesses a fighting chance, especially in areas where they are being crowded out by commercial chain stores. On the high street, independent businesses can currently be charged up to four times the rate that chains pay. Findlay was supportive of the Brixton Pound project as an economic initiative, especially its accessibility for people outside the mainstream banking system.
Unfortunately Socialist candidate Daniel Lambert didn’t approve of the Brixton Pound. Then again, he didn’t approve of the use of money full stop. Can’t win ‘em all…
*Power 2010 is a political pressure group campaigning for parliamentary reform in the run up to the general election. Go to www.power2010.org.uk for more information.