Local Elections – Canvassing Opinion

After three months, what have I got to say about being a new person as part of an election campaign?

Being entirely out of your comfort zone is nowhere near as bad as you think it is going to be

This whole campaign has been new to me, however, lots of it has been on the fringes of my job, or just drawing from my personal experience of being a human.  But I was nervous about canvassing as I had absolutely no experience of that and I’m not ordinarily the sort of person who knocks on people’s doors to introduce myself. And generally speaking, people wouldn’t have the slightest interest in knowing who I am.  Some of them may still not. And that’s after having met me.  But we’re back to the thing I said in an earlier blog – if people don’t know who I am then how can I expect them to vote for me?  

It turns out that I didn’t really need to worry.   Out of all the doors I have knocked on, only two people have been unpleasant.  One woman opened the door and without us having uttered a word, started shouting.  As she ranted, her eyes moved from Nigel over to me, and I don’t know what expression I had, but at the point at which our eyes met, she started to think better of it, her shouting petered out and she then slammed the door.  We put her down as a maybe.  

Another chap shouted quite a lot of unintelligible stuff, but essentially we surmised that he didn’t want our leaflet.  Not even as a compost bin liner.  Given that he had chased us down the road at some speed to give it back to us, we decided that he was probably not going to vote for us.  We didn’t take the time to establish whether he was going to vote for anyone else.  My guess is not.  But worth considering him if you need something taking to someone else in the village in a rush.

People are fundamentally decent

I do not have a crystal ball.  I have no idea how people are going to vote, if indeed they vote at all.  But one thing I am abundantly clear about is that people have had enough of the nonsense of the past few years.  Pick a subject, any subject that someone is likely to talk to you about on the doorstep, and they have had it up to here.  Whether it is partygate, the cost of living crisis, the NHS…..they are sick and tired of this parlous state of affairs and they want change.  They want things to be better.  Not just for themselves, but for everyone.

If you want to get fit, then stand for election

With twelve villages to cover, we would not have been able to get our message out without the army of dedicated volunteers who have been helping us. So I must take this opportunity to thank them so very much. They know who they are, even if you don’t. That is not to say that Nigel and I have been sat idle. We have wanted to walk as many of the villages we can ourselves so we can meet villagers and learn things that only local people would know. On Sunday morning I was amused to hear our volunteer utter the words “well you’re younger and fitter so you can deliver those leaflets to the houses at the top of that hill”. By Sunday afternoon in a third village, I was less amused. And as Nigel took a short break on a bench claiming to be checking everything was in order in that part of the village as our volunteer and I tackled another incline, I turned to him and said “we’ve broken Nigel”. I have walked so much that I have lost five pounds in a week. Naturally this has been ruined by me compensating for this loss with large quantities of biscuits and chocolate, but the principle remains – stand for election and there’ll be less of you by the end of it.

The Stratford Lib Dems are a feisty lot

When there was at least five pounds more of me, I met some of the Lib Dems at Stratford HQ.  For whatever reason, the Lib Dems don’t seem to evoke the same strength of feeling as the Conservatives or Labour.  What I can tell you now I have spent time with some of them, they are passionate. The Lib Dems actually care about changing people’s lives for the better  – one by one.

……..but a lovely lot

One of the reasons I agreed to stand for election was because these opportunities don’t come to everybody.  And for whatever reason, this left-field opportunity had come to me and it might not come by again.  I considered my ability to do the actual job should I be elected, I thought about the time, but I didn’t consider the people I would be working with.

So as we are down to the final stretch we have walked, posted, knocked, chatted, walked, walked, walked….twelve villages to cover… much walking. And that would be a lot harder to do if you weren’t working with a decent bunch of people.

In the throes of an election campaign tempers can get a little frayed.  Everyone is under pressure.  Everyone has stuff they want to get done.  So I have to thank the staff at Stratford HQ for coming up with the goods.  Richard Vos who peeled me off the ceiling after a particularly fraught moment.  Jenny Wilkinson for endless offers of help and support.  And of course, I have to thank Nigel, whom I have perhaps not broken, but is no doubt a little more dented than he was before this all kicked off.  As are we all.

Published and promoted by Richard Vos on behalf of Nigel Rock and Natalie Gist (Liberal Democrats) all at 55 Ely Street Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6LN