A lot of canvassing and leaflet deliveries
I spent Thursday morning catching up on mail then went into the Labour Party office to finish off the bagging of leaflets etc. Was planning to go with our wonderful MP to our friendly neighbourhood University but decided that sight of me would alarm the students unnecessarily. In any case I had to leg it to the civic centre for chapter 2 of the licencing suspension I talked of last week. As usual, inappropriate to go into detail but this time I had to chair the panel which was a first for me, and a bit daunting given that this was quite a controversial one.
Friday was spent partly getting rid of bags of brochures and partly doing my own deliveries, mainly to those developments in Kew Bridge Road I can get into without a chaperone. In the evening a big canvassing session with a great turnout, mainly puzzling our way around the last and biggest of the Brentford Walks – Distillery. Not so many people coming to the door but a pretty good reception from those who did. People seem to like our mayoral candidate, Sadiq Khan and his policies, and also our indefatigable assembly candidate, Martin Whelton, who was with us yet again. Unlike the current incumbent Tony Arbour who is of the opinion most Londoners rarely use public transport, Martin believes that this is quite important and is often asking questions about what buses and trains will get him to his next appointment.
Saturday morning it’s more domestic matters and with my fellow volunteer directors we try and work out how to maintain and improve our estate at Ferry Quays. Then off to Windsor for lunch with an old colleague.
Sunday, more canvassing, this time with a small crew up on Challis Road and thereabouts (though my phone insists it’s Chablis Road – wish I had some with me). Decide to try out the Harvester for an evening meal with my daughter: we thought it would be nostalgic for when she was little but it’s bedlam in the Boston Manor one on a Sunday so a very different feel from years gone by. Furthermore they had run out of sweet potatoes but the salad, probably packed with calories given all the nice things offered, was as good as ever.
Into the new week and Monday morning finds me sharing an excellent coffee with a retired sea captain who wants to talk buses and EU and airports and many things under the sun. A fascinating conversation with yet another distinguished Brentfordian with a very travelled past and plenty of stories to boot. This one comes with an added bonus – an opportunity to post 60 leaflets in a hitherto impenetrable fortress.
In the evening, to the Civic Centre for some expert guidance on the rules around consultation from a chap from the spookily named Consultation Institute. Interesting and as clear as he could make it, but like so many things the law hangs on fine distinctions defined by Judges which sometimes look just a touch inconsistent to a layman. They are based in Biggleswade but if this was Biggles he had forgotten his helmet and goggles.
Tuesday evening was the AGM of Thamesbank Credit Union down in Isleworth at the Public Hall. Despite our considerable efforts we find it very hard to persuade members to attend and this year we had just 5 members who were not directors, which made the raffle a touch…predictable. The star prize - yeah, OK, the only prize – was won by one of three members of the same family who actually had a 60% chance of success. Another triumph for Brilliant Brentford. This was my first time as Chair so slightly nerve racking but thankfully the ever calm and organised Hilary was there to clear up the mess before it even happened.
Wednesday morning I had to wait in my daughter’s flat for someone from leaseholder services to turn up: the slot was 8 to 12 and inevitably he arrived at 11.30 but armed with my iPad I was able to use the time fairly productively, following up mails and phone calls etc. Back to the civic for the afternoon to meet the Head of Finance and the Lead Member together with the officer who leads on council tax matters. This was to discuss and agree an approach to people who have a small debt that on the one hand we don’t want to give up on but on the other hand we don’t want to quadruple with fees from lawyers. It’s not easy to work out what to do, because this small minority simply don’t engage: they could be anything from millionaires who just don’t feel like paying through to vulnerable people, perhaps with learning difficulties or mental health problems who really need help to work out what to do next. Tricky, but we decide to have another go at persuading them to engage.
Just as I’m leaving the civic centre, someone comes running after me to tell me we’ve received a pack of pamphlets individually addressed to every Labour councillor. Nothing too unusual about that, we often get stuff from a variety of commercial sources. But this one is different – it’s from Zac Goldsmith. Now Tories do strange things from time to time, but this must be about the weirdest yet: does he really believe any of us will vote for him? Has he completely lost the plot or is he just really, really desperate?
In the evening a small but perfectly formed group of Labour members in the Watermans. Most people were off canvassing elsewhere but yours truly made an idiot of himself by scheduling a clashing social. No harm done, sometimes a small group is good because you get to know each other better and discuss matters of great political significance such as the piquancy of chutney and my late Uncle John’s turkey farming methods. It’s not all about tractor production figures you know (good job too, considering the continuing backward March of the Makers)
April 15, 2016