This is the second in what I hope will be a regular series of reports from doorsteps around Norwich and Norfolk. As I'm not standing for election this year (is that my wife I hear cheering...) I am spending my time on other people's campaigns and am having a great time both in the City and around the County.
Yesterday I started off with being extremely impressed with the team that Vic Hopes is building around himself in Eaton. I caused a stir in the party with my first canvass report post on Sunningdale and was taken to task for it yesterday! So, in spite of the rain, we set out to canvass the roads off the Newmarket Road and I (for one) found it pleasantly surprising.
Vic is one of those candidates who has managed to poach a lot of support from other wards and constituencies. He had a big team yesterday - including one mutual aider all the way from London! And he certainly put on a big show. Vic lives in Eaton village but the extent of his support goes way beyond that. I was shocked at the number of people who were going to vote for Vic personally ... and from all political hues and none. We had a great time, pleny of Blitz Spirit in the rain!
There were plenty of issue too and it is interesting that in this very "middle Norwich" area a lot of it came back to value-for-money. Apparently this week the people of South Norfolk said they wanted to pay more tax. Well, the people of Eaton would like value for the tax they pay already. We saw problems with the roads, trees that needed cutting back, grafitti and litter hotspots ... but none being dealt with by the council, or the LibDem Councillors. Also we were told several times about traffic problems and flow in the area.
Like Sunningdale, many people were looking at the Conservatives for the first time in many years.
After lunch at the Cellar House we then transfered en bloc to Catton Grove and (now even colder and even wetter) want to campaign for Eve Collishaw. The problem with trying to do that is that everybody knows Eve - she gets stopped in the street and she always talks in full to everyone she meets. Hence if you are trying to get her onto doorsteps and up the street it can be quite hard! Interesting issues that arose include the state of Mousehold Heath, anti-social behaviour and broken roads.
Shipfield is an interesting place to canvass - certainly not the most Conservative area and a real eye opener. Many of the residents didn't like living there - they said that kids stalked the place and that it was dirty. Many had turned away from politics full stop. I'm not sure we won many votes but in taking the time to stop and talk through some of the issues then maybe we went one step to rejuvenating their faith in politics.
And just to boot, whilst canvassing up Sprowston Road a car went by a puddle and soaked me!
I enjoyed every moment of it and it gives me great faith that May will bring good results across the City, County and the Country!