Monday, May 02, 2005

Back home from one of my now regular day-trips to Bowthorpe and what a day its been – we’ve covered the whole area with our newspaper and had to stop for chats along the way. Bowthorpe is becoming a really interesting place where the current Tory agenda – school discipline, value for money tax, controlled immigration, more police and cleaner hospitals – is really going down well. Had one chap declare very loudly out of a top window that he was never voting for “liar” Blair again, and would support me to get rid of him! Fine chap!

Yesterday (was that Sunday?!? It all blurs) was spent in New Costessey and Saturday before that in Eaton, Cringleford and Town Close. We’ve met so many people in this election, so many more than in the recent past. I’m getting recognised a lot at the moment – the lady serving in Tesco’s is voting for me, as is a Mum on the schoolgate on Friday.

Doing quite a bit of media work at the moment, particularly for the Radio. Good slots of Radio Norfolk talking about manufacturing decline in Norwich and for Broadland on crime.

The national campaign is getting me down at the moment. I think Howard is spot on to move back to the big 5 (see above) at this juncture, and Kennedy is looking like a complete opportunist by sticking to Iraq. Blair is just looking tired at the moment. I think most people are, in general, getting just a little bored of the national stuff.

Locally too we are dragging it out a bit. This week one lady complained that 5 pieces of Tory literature fell through her door. Well, the LibDems have made this seat a literature battle and has lost methinks! Last week was also the debates – I felt that churches together event went down very well and Clarke, whom I am reluctantly gaining respect for, did rather badly over Iraq. On Friday we went to the UEA where the other three parties bussed in their crowds. Bit more challenging, but with eight candidates causing the whole event to drag out, it was a bit long. Adrian Ramsay is a very passionate speaker, but doesn’t seem to be able to take the passion about the environment and apply it to other topics. My LibDem opponent is very robotic – he only seems to have three standard answers to any questions, don’t invade Iraq, scrap tuition fees or tactical voting. Bless. He even tried those on topics that had nothing to do with them! Charles Clarke is, of course, highly competent and very on top of his brief. Pity he won’t be around much longer. Mr Barnard and the UKIP candidate deserve praise for getting cannabis and Europe into every answer, the WRP candidate wasn’t half as revolutionary as I’d have liked and the EDP lady should really have been a Tory! Several people in the crowd said they’d switched their vote to me because of my debate performance. One even said she would vote for me because of my honesty!

I’m going to have a last-week burst of LibDem negativity watch – I have so many e-mails to choose from! But today I’m going to mention a phone call from a lady in Nelson Ward, who has pulled apart the LibDem Bar Charts apart and a letter from a gentleman in Thorpe Hamlet that includes a letter from Charles Kennedy that is full of anti-Tory and anti-Labour stuff. Interestingly enough, I noticed that the LibDem response to today’s Tory timetable was to call it negative. Hang on, if stating policies is negative then what counts as positive? Oh, anything a LibDem says…

Tomorrow we’re back in Bowthorpe for canvassing in the morning and then launching our get-out-the-vote leaflet in the afternoon.

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