ON WEDNESDAY, we were supposed to be conducting a filmed interview with Harlow Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate, Laura McAlpine but on the night before, it was cancelled.
The reason given, by Ms McAlpine’s people, was that it was due to “work commitments”. The message stressed that she was not available “in the Morin for the afternoon”. No replacement date was given. You could tell by the tone of voice of Ms McAlpine’s people that they were somewhat disappointed.
The purpose of this article is that we just wanted readers to know (1.6 million in 2019 alone) that we have tried to engage with the Labour candidate but it doesn’t seem to be working.
To be honest, the interview (like most of our interviews) was hardly going to be Newsnight. We wanted to give the Labour candidate a platform but did want to challenge her on a series of issues however, there does seem to be a pattern here.
Last Friday, we asked for a response to a question on housing. We had just run a story on Harlow new-builds being the most expensive in the country.The goal was open.
Ms McAlpine said she would give a response on Monday. It is now Thursday. No response.
We must also report that back in July 2018, we asked Ms McAlpine a question on anti-semitism. She did not reply. We did try again and again. We even asked for an off the record on why she wasn’t replying but she maintained her radio silence.
We were keen to cover her Climate Day event in the Town Park but we did not receive any pre-publicity or an invite.
We have always had the utmost respect for Labour MPs and candidates over the years. Back in 1973 (here we go), the then MP, Stan Newens, presented the medals at this reporter’s football teams end of season awards. He told us that when he was a teacher, he taught the Leicester midfielder, Keith Weller and stressed the importance of education as well as sport. This reporter was just eleven years of age but never forgot his words and went on to give up football and go up to university to study History. In the first month of YourHarlow (July 2013), we interviewed Mr Newens as a mark of respect.
YH has only been going six years but we also admired and respected the hard work of the 2015 and 2017 Labour candidates, Suzy Stride and Phil Waite.
The purpose of this piece is to let readers know that we have tried. There are some that accuse us of being biased towards Robert Halfon but that is for you to judge. We happen to think that Mr Halfon is vulnerable in a number of fronts.
We do try to give coverage of every candidate but it is saying something when we have more filmed interviews with the Brexit Party candidate and he only declared himself a runner last month!
You will all be going to the ballot box soon. Ms McAlpine and her Labour colleagues have to claw back Mr Halfon’s majority of 7,031
They may well succeed and highlight that it is their relationship with the electorate that matters and not the media.
If/when there is a General Election, we are planning a Hustings. We plan to film it and may be then we will see Ms McAlpine answer the questions we wanted to ask.
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