Cranford by-election, Great West Corridor and Lampton 360
I had a slightly odd day in Cranford, where things are done a bit differently than round here. Arrived about 10 with a friend from Brentford and we were sent out with some locals to knock up some streets. Spookily, these were in the very same 3 or 4 streets I had canvassed twice in previous weeks. By the time we got there, the locals had disappeared somewhere but we met the candidate, a local councillor and Sam Hearn, Tory Councillor for Chiswick, by the school gate. I pulled out my garlic and cross: Sam is relatively harmless but there were some sleek blue-rosetted types lurking with a TV camera, so we omitted making excuses and left anyway.
During the canvas, this chap came up to me in a beanie hat and said ‘I know you’. I obviously looked puzzled so he doffed his cap and said ‘I’m George, the UKIP candidate, who stood against you in Brentford’. Indeed, ‘twas he, so I gave him a big hello. He grumbled that he didn’t have much support: it was perhaps a bit churlish of me to simply reply ‘good’, and George wandered off alone down the not particularly mean streets of Cranford.
Since there were only two of us working, the round took three hours by which time I was cold and tired and my friend wanted to meet her daughter in Hounslow so I legged it back to Brilliantville. I went back in the evening, which is often a good time to dig out some voters and this time we had a team of three, and there were several other teams working. Same streets again, natch. At one door, a young woman came to the door in her dressing gown, her husband emerging from a shower behind her dressed only in a towel. They were genuinely shocked there was an election going on and said they would certainly dress and go and vote. Yeah, right: but blow me, 15 minutes later there they were, a toddler swinging between them, going home from the polling station. You do sometimes wonder about this canvassing but that was two votes for sure that I got out. As it turned out, the by-election was not even close with our candidate getting 54.7% of the vote against the 54.0% I managed in Brentford. Grrr.
Sometime during a cold days canvassing I picked up a bug. Usually a good regime of LemSip and whisky sorts this out in 36 hours but this has been a real lingering one and I’ve been a bit groggy all week. I was out of it at the weekend and only pleased that I have retained my affinity for (Liverpool 6 Aston Villa 0) rather than (Sheffield Wednesday 4 Brentford 0) though I realise I need to duck.
Monday evening was the Credit Union board. We were delighted to hear that our new promotion (if you introduce a friend who takes out a loan with us, we’ll potentially give both of you £25 - http://thamesbank.org/refer-a-friend/) has attracted a new member who works for, cough, a major High Street bank. But we’re not prejudiced, we’ll take anyone.
Tuesday evening it was the Griffin, to meet a few people who wanted to discuss the new Great West Corridor consultation with me. I had drafted a response to the questionnaire – not the work of a moment – and incorporated a bit of feedback from residents, though my submission was really from me as a local resident – personal views. Turns out my views were not all that different to the people in the Griffin, nor from my fellow ward councillors, with whom I discussed further the next morning.
Thursday morning to the civic for the first time in a while for another session on the proposed ‘outsourcing’ of our housing development and planned maintenance activities to the emerging council subsidiary, Lampton 360. There’s still a way to go before this happens but it is gradually taking shape and beginning to look robust. The idea is to run the services a little more commercially and seek a limited amount of revenue from outside the council itself: other councils have succeeded in similar ventures (though not all succeed and care is needed!) and it’s a way for us to mitigate some of the effects of funding cuts.
A bit perkier today so trying to catch up with neglected emails – I do try to move things forward, honest.
February 18, 2016