Monday, March 14, 2011

Spreading the word - canvassing and AV

The early stages of our local election campaign are going smoothly. We’ve knocked on many doors in the cold and dark nights and we are looking forward to when the clocks change and it gets bit lighter.

We’ve found support for us and also support for Labour but the biggest response is ‘don’t know’ or ‘oh, is there an election on?’

We haven’t yet found any support for the Conservatives – but then we didn’t find much in the local election canvassing last year – and that didn’t stop them winning everything. (Voting Conservative is a bit like watching adult films, or gorging a huge bar of chocolate in one go. There’s nothing wrong with it – but you would not admit it to a stranger).

Of course there is the usual anti-politician, slam-door-in-the-face types, but contrary to my last post, people have generally been polite, including those who were unhappy with the national coalition.

Many, of course, are unable to tell the difference between local and general elections. I had a long conversation persuading one lady that David Cameron wasn’t a candidate while another gentleman was angry that ‘you and the Lib Dems have taken us back to the days of Neville Chamberlain’ – a reference I am still unsure about. Tuition fees have not come up at all but the NHS changes and fuel prices are frequently mentioned.

As usual, though, it is enjoyable talking to real people about their concerns and questions. Despite what the media say, there are some people who still like us, and those who don't like us are still generally happy to chat. Whether all this will turn into votes, we’ll find out soon.

This last Saturday we decided to do our bit for the Fairer Votes campaign and set up a stall in Sittingbourne High Street to promote the Yes to AV cause in the upcoming referendum. This went surprisingly well. We received a lot of interest, ran out of leaflets and pens to give away, answered some questions and discussed the options.

There were some who were not interested and some who did not agree (although no-one raised the £250k myth) but overall we raised awareness of the campaign so hopefully some people will give the topic a bit of thought.

We are now planning a second stall with our colleagues in Faversham down the road.

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