The one thing which is very difficult to determine is how far the European elections are going to impact on the political scene, and the local political scene, after 4th June. Yesterday (Friday) we welcomed two of the people at the heart of the European election to Norwich - Vicky Ford and John Flack, who are third and fourth on the Tory list. If the Conservatives do as well on 4th June as they did in 2004 then Vicky will be elected (a good thing in itself) and if they do better then John will also take a seat - most likely one of those held by UKIP.
First thing we did a walk-a-bout in the City Centre and Market to talk to people and try to raise awareness of the election. It was amazingly successful; I am a veteran of 12 years of these sorts of things and the reception from shoppers and stallholders alike was extremely positive. Many more than I expected were aware of the poll and a great number expected to vote. The distrust of the government was palpable and there is a clear sense that only the Conservatives can sort if out. Certainly no support, that spoke to us anyway, for the weak LibDems or even the Greens. Interestingly the European issue seemed to only be secondary; with most people determined to use this a referendum on Gordon Brown and the government.
After seeing the Hay Hill Art Project (utter waste of cash) and the terrible state of the war memorial (cash starved - QED) we went onto a coffee morning in Thorpe Hamlet to meet around 50 local residents; the questions ranged from MPs expenses to crime and drugs, so a very interesting morning indeed.
So onto today ... and I did campaigning sessions in 4 different areas. The reception around Bowthorpe this morning was outstanding. Lots of people in and very keen to talk with a great focus on local issues. In Eaton, however, the European election did spark some debate on the doorsteps. Finally this evening, in Town Close, people were very forthright on the EU side of the debate, esepcially the referendum-that-wasn't on the Lisbon Treaty. I think, overall, the European elections in bouying support for the Conservatives overall. All of the candidates and campaigners in those areas did very well today and we contacted literally hundreds upon hundreds of people; thank you everyone.
I will leave this thread with one thought; a couple of people said to me that they plan to vote Conservative in the local elections but may use Europe as a chance to back another party (before anyone gets huffy, this includes a lady who admitted to voting LibDem last year). I would urge people to vote Conservative twice as the only way to send a coherent message to Gordon Brown about the way he is running (or ruining) our country.