21 October 2018   |  Last Updated 24-03-2015 12:35

      ANALYSIS: USSU Question Time

      Monday evening saw the University of Salford play host to candidates competing for the Salford and Eccles constituency in a Question Time style debate.

      Various policies and issues were discussed, including Education, Defence, Policing, and Foreign Policy. 

      Representatives from Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Greens, and UKIP participated.

      Quays News was present at the event and you can find our preview and liveblog here.

      We have also analysed the performance of each candidate and ranked them in order, starting with the best.

      Charlie Briggs, Liberal Democrat:

      Despite representing the party that enabled the Tories to raise tuition fees, Charlie Briggs performed admirably before an audience of students. He refused to be drawn into personal attacks on other candidates but never repeated himself so often that he was just reading from the party line. Mr Briggs drew the biggest round of applause from the crowd when he proclaimed voting for him was, "Not a vote for the Liberal Democrats, not a vote for Nick Clegg, but a vote for Charlie Briggs." and promised to challenge the party on decisions he disagreed with. This garnered him a lot of support from the crowd.

      Mr Briggs also spoke with authority on defence policy, mentioning his son had served in the armed forces helped him acheive greater legitimacy on the issue. He was also not afraid to challenge his fellow candidates on statements they had made, especially Seamus Martin's remark that "ISIS are a greater threat than the Nazis". Ultimately, Charlie Briggs came across as the most human of the candidates, and genuinely tried to speak for himself instead of the party.

      Greg Downes, Conservative:

      Another strange success considering the audience, Greg Downes made a rocky start on the first issue of Tuition Fees, but steadily improved throughout the debate. He struggled when a student asked him if he'd paid tuition for University, but a series of witty remarks put him in good stead. His suggestion that Charlie Briggs run independently if he was representing himself drew laughter from the crowd. 

      Mr Downes also performed strongly during questions on local policing. Like Charlie Briggs, he never sounded as if he was toeing the party line or refusing to answer questions properly. His performance is unlikely to win voters, but he never disgraced himself.

      Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour:

      An oddly average performance from the Labour candidate underlined answers that sounded eerily similar. The phrase "broadest shoulders" was repeated several times, and she mentioned that Labour would lower tuition fees to £6,000 so many times that it lost all impact. Despite Salford and Eccles being a traditional Labour seat, Rebecca Long-Bailey said nothing that would distinguish herself from a candidate in any other constituency.

      If there was a positive to be found, it was in the lack of mistakes made. While Greg Downes floundered early on, and Seamus Martin's comments about President Assad drew derision, Rebecca Long-Bailey never went off script so didn't make any real mistakes. Unfortunately, this made her participation seem quite robotic.

      Seamus Martin, UKIP:

      Standing in for Paul Doyle, who is recovering after an operation, Seamus Martin initially represented himself and UKIP well. He was never going to have much luck against an audience of Students but on a variety of issues he answered well and seemed to be holding his own. Then this happened:

      Mr Martin lost all legitimacy from that point onwards, being criticised by other members of the panel at every turn. After comitting the debating equivalent of shooting yourself in the foot, representatives from UKIP had to assure Quays News that the views expressed by Seamus Martin do not represent those of UKIP or Nigel Farage.

      Emma Van Dyke, Green:

      From a candidate that got a little too involved in the debate to one that didn't get involved enough, Emma Van Dyke's participation was minimal. She rarely interacted with the other members of the panel and lacked the facts to back up statements on policy. Whereas Rebecca Long-Bailey explained exactly where the money to cover a drop in tuition fees would come from, Emma Van Dyke suggested a more vague solution. Part of this was due to the Green party not making costings available, so when Emma Van Dyke was asked to explain the funding behind her policies, she had no answer.

      She also struggled to explain scrapping Trident, the UKs nuclear deterrent, after a student challenged her on the real reason nuclear deterrents exist. Scrapping Trident is a central Green policy and Emma Van Dyke was entirely unable to defend the policy decision.

      You can watch the full debate here (turn your volume up)

      Joe Harker