Worse than being canvassed in not being canvassed at all...
With great apologies to one blog reader from Sheffield who e-mail to protest that the only thing worse than being canvassed is not being canvassed...
Hi there. Read your article via Iain Dale's blog. Forgive my sarcasm; I
have a very good friend who stood as the Lib Dem candidate in East
Oxford and I've already harangued him at length with much the same
> Canvassing is one of Britain’s great political traditions. We live in
a country where a near stranger comes onto your land and asks you about
your civic right to vote in a secret ballot and then leaves to record
that information on a database. *
Or they don't, as the case may be.
*> In many countries, such as France and the USA, canvassing simply
In many parts of the UK it doesn't appear to be done either. Sheffield
Hillsborough, for example.
*> However, these days there seems to have been a culture shift. During
much of the previous 50 years not voting was frowned upon and even if
you didn’t vote you didn’t admit to it. Nowadays people wear the “non
voter” label like some kind of badge of honour. It’s almost as if some
of them say, “you can’t hold me responsible for the state of the nation
because I don’t vote.” *
I vote. I'd quite like the chance to discuss candidates' policies on the
doorstep. They just don't seem particularly bothered about bringing
themselves to me.
*> Rather like the curious argument that “I’m too old to vote” (no word
of a lie, people do say that) this is a bit of a cop-out. If people like
that gentleman had voted (plus 13 more), I’d have been their Councillor
for two years and I think things would have been different.
Rather like the curious argument that 'this constituency's going to be
won by Labour, so we won't bother even trying to win any votes there.'*
> Also there are the people who say they don’t vote but just lie. After
elections the parties are given what is called a “marked register” which
lists who did and didn’t vote. It doesn’t tell us how you voted, just if
you did or not. During the day 23 people told us that they never vote
but had done so only last May. We know that they almost certainly wanted
to hide the fact that they weren’t voting Conservatives (in fact the
common view is that people like that vote LibDem but are utterly ashamed
to admit it) but why feel the need to lie? Canvassers don’t attack and
if you tell the truth then we don’t come back.*
If, indeed, anyone ever came round in the first place.
*> If you say, “I might vote for you” when you don’t mean it, then we
will come back! *
*> In total, we met (no word of a lie) 136 people who said they weren’t
going to vote. That is more than the total number of pledges for Labour,
LibDems and Greens added together. It seems all politicians have more
work to do.
Yup. So knock on more doors!
*> During our Friday and Saturday canvassing sessions we came across a
variety of issues. Youth provision needs improvement and people want
real street policing to be re-introduced. Council tax is too high but,
sorry LibDems, there was no appetite to replace it with the
higher-charging Local Income Tax. Roads and speeding came up and also
the development at Three Score was a big concern.
Good stuff. At least people are telling you what they think.*
*> We got 2 new members, one new poster site and a collection of very
:) I hated delivering to houses with dogs when I was helping to
distribute our Village Appraisal.
*> We saw one naked woman, one naked male UEA student, two babysitters,
three builders, three people unable to speak English, one person who
didn’t know what the Conservative Party is...*
..possibly because he'd never met anybody from it....
> two people clearly still drunk from the night before, two of my
ex-students, one Chairman of the Bowthorpe Labour Party, one Labour
Councillor, two domestic incidents, one police van, two cleaners from
the UEA and (amazingly) three people who claimed to work for the British
Nuclear Authority – all in different houses. All we need to do now is to
get them to vote.