Friday, April 23, 2010

Campaign Diary - Day Eighteen (the day Newsnight rolled into the City)

Well, today was eventful and have just finished watching myself on Newsnight and that 30 second clip sort of dominated the day.

It began with a Group Leaders meeting at City Hall, a sharp reminder that life goes on outside of the election and I still have an important job to do representing the people of Bowthorpe and Earlham and also the Conservatives in Norwich.

By 10.30 we were all at the Age UK / Age Concern Hustings held at the Vauxhall Centre. It was a great meeting and the Labour, LD, Green & UKIP candidates were there. Funnily enough the questions weren't all about older people's issues (which you might have expected). It kicked off with Britain's member of the EU but soon covered immigration, skills, the Lisbon Treaty & the funding of the voluntary sector. I was told by two of the audience that they felt I had "won" but I am not clear what that means in terms of these local debates where there is more agreement (yes, even between Tories and Greens) than you might imagine.

In the afternoon I did a quick interview for Heart Radio about the election campaign and then the whirlwind that is Michael Crick came to town. It was quick but fairly intensive. He just throws questions at you, plus the camera is always on. He made the critical error of thinking Mike Gillepsie - my agent, and somebody whom the party ought to employe PDQ after the election - was my brother and then went on to criticise the spelling of my name (no "h", you see) so that set us off well! He was stunned to note I was wearing a rosette - no idea why, I wear it pretty much all the time so people know who I am and can come up and chat if they want to. We then had a persistent Green heckler, although he soon got bored. Crick just raised an eyebrow. I think that said everything. Interestingly his questions focused on the campaign and the debate last night and yet the clip they used was my attack on Charles Clarke and his attempts to re-package himself as a Labour rebel rather than take responsibility for the last 13 years of government. Crick asked questions about my current career and if I had declared it on leaflets; the answer is yes and I am proud of being a teacher and proud of my school. Apparently some candidates don't tell people what they do for a living and don't put it on leaflets. Others - like Green Adrian Ramsay and LibDem Simon Wright - are "career politicans", which means they don't have jobs. Crick also asked where we recieved our funding from and seemed a little stunned to note we had raised the spending limit from small local donations. He then probed every bit of election material we put out - including our 2 latest leaflets for this week - and found nothing to raise. I am not moaning about this, I thought Mr Crick was very, very thorough in what he did and it was impressive to see what happens close up. The report itself was very fair and balanced, clearly stating the 4-way marginality of the seat and included clips of supporters of each parties. I think Newsnight did the job well, and Crick's scrutiny was detailed (I wonder if the other candidates got this??). The funny bit was the mess up with the name tags - they called Adrian "Simon", then corrected themselves but still spelt his name wrong!

After the fun and games we sorted ourselves out and started to deliver our letters to people who have Postal Votes, with several teams across the City. I joined our Eaton group to help and we ended up doorknocking as well. The feeling was good and we felt people moving over to the Conservatives. Two people mentioned Cameron's debate as their reason for switching to us, but yet more voters turned off by the negative LibDem campaign. I also met the owner of a significant local business who had decided to vote Conservative this time on the issue of wanting to pay down the debt quicker. I think the issues and debates are getting through.

Got home to find 2 different LibDem tabloid newspapers delivered - why together, unless they were struggling to get material out. Perhaps they don't have enough activists? Hmmm, I also wonder how close they are to the election spending limit?

Tonight Cameron faced Paxman and I thought he was calm and detailed in his answers. Cameron is looking more and more Prime Ministerial in the way in which he conducts himself -I thought it was impressive and certainly Paxman didn't get a knock out blow. People have picked up on the cuts for the North East and NI, but I would assume that all regions would share in the painful decisions to come - after all, "we're all in this together".

Tomorrow is a big day with plenty of letters to deliver and doors to knock on as Postal Votes hit the mats in Norwich South!


Ash said...

You peform really well on TV - thought Politics Show was excellent and tonight you outshone the other candidates.

I am not a Tory (as you know Mr Little) but you will be getting my vote!

Red Star said...

I did see you on Newsnight and was impressed by your behaviour regarding the heckler. I probably would not have been so diplomatic, but you did show maturity and it should be acknowledged.

I do think you have an uphill struggle to face and there are some heavyweight candidates you are facing such as Adrian Ramsay and Charles Clarke.

People are going to be worried about cuts regardless of what region they come from.
I am worried about the cuts we will have to endure in the East if the Conservatives win a majority at the next general election.
I have already witnessed the Tory cutting machine at work at County Hall and feel its only a microcosm of what is to come.
I do hope that we will get a government that will be compassionate with the big decisions ahead and not just cut for the sake of cutting.

People are more than a statistic and markets should serve the people, not the other way around.
Sadly I feel the market fundamentalist Conservative party believe that people are the servants of the market, and not the other way around.

Anonymous said...

Red Star; I'm fairly certain I don't the share the same fears you highlight regarding the Conservative Manifesto:

Unitary repeal
Inheritance Tax
Change,when great change isn't neede
Big "DIY" on he cheap Society
Isolationist EU policies.

Although a high quality candidate; Antony hasn't convinced me of the above policies -I simply don't agree they are the best course for either Norwich,services or the UK.

Red Star said...

To Anonymous.

I agree with your last statement - I personally think Antony is a good PPC however I just don't like his party locally or nationally at the moment.

I think David Cameron is espousing Government on the Cheap.
It will end up as cheap and nasty.

You don't have to look much further than the County Council to see how Norfolk Tories are salivating at the prospect at cutting things. Its in their political DNA.

Anonymous said...

Red Star...

Not a solicial democrat..agree with your last.

Antony..not a bad guy..but wong party..wrong policies...thus the wrong candidate/MP.