Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Campaign Diary - Day One

This is my third General Election here in Norwich South - two as candidate and one as agent. I've done three sets of "flying starts" leaflets, launches and campaigns. This has been by far the best and has left us with a real feeling this election is there for us to win. I'll explain why in more detail.

Today has been a very funny day because we've all had to react to an event that we've known has been coming for a long time! Whilst the nation was glued to its TV watching the Prime Ministerial car shuttling back and forth from the palace, the wheels of the election campaign were springing into action.

At the request of a resident I spent early this morning at a residential home meeting having morning tea with people and discussing the day to come. Many people thought the election has been called given the posters that had gone up and the leaflets coming through doors. I got an angry lady saying she was put off voting LibDem by the sheer weight of material they had posted to her.

From there and into the office to rally party workers and get things ready for the day. It may sound a little silly but putting on my rosette - with my name emblazoned on it - it felt like everything was coming together. We then send teams off leafleting - and I went with a group to the City Centre.

Walking around with a Tory rosette on has been hard in past - people yelling "Labour" at you (or worse) hasn't always been pleasant. But today things felt very different. People smiled, said hello, willingly took leaflets and chatted about their views. I went out this evening with teams in Eaton and Town Close and must have spoken to a lot of people - I know all PPCs say this, but genuinely everyone I spoke to was either a committed Conservative voter or seriously considering it.

I also did my first major interviews of the day - for the BBC, local radio and the newspapers. Clearly they all believe that Norwich South will be an interesting seat and could go any which way.

As we waited for the launch in the Forum I was approached by 2 people - one, a lady from Bowthorpe who said she was keen for me to win and offered to display a poster and deliver for us. The second was the former owner of a shop I used to frequent as a student who wished me luck and said I would be getting his vote as a small business owner.

The Andrew Lansley launch was a great event, well attended and in the very modern setting of The Forum. Mr Lansley is - hopefully - Cameron's Health Secretary and I can see why. Attendees were very impressed particularly with his detail and grasp of policy. He certainly sent activists away with a spring in their step, back out onto the streets.

The feeling tonight out delivering leaflets was one of great relief that it had all started. I agreed - but this constituency is going to be very tightly fought and I do hope we can keep it clean and positive. Let's engage people with politics and debate ideas.

As of moments ago the LibDem candidate has yet to respond to the "clean campaign pledge" - I hope he finds time, as Clarke and Ramsay have done, to respond on Day Two.

So why does this campaign feel so different? There is such a positive feeling on the streets, the doorsteps and around the City. Norwich has a spring in its step - and so does the Conservative campaign.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The thing I find amazing is the support you are getting via the social media, Antony, just way ahead of the other parties.