A week spent canvassing while council is in purdah
Even shorter this week as I’m busy with election stuff, trying to keep a lid on my in tray, and I have a house guest to boot so very little time. For the avoidance of doubt that’s a figure of speech, I do not boot him.
There’s not a huge amount going on at the council as quite a lot of things get postponed because of ‘Purdah’ around the election.
Anyway last Thursday I was out canvassing in the Haverfield estate with Myra and the Melvinators, joined later by our former and soon to be next MP, Ruth. I never realised they ceased to be regarded as MPs during the period when parliament is dissolved. It came out that it was my birthday and as a result I was obliged to have some kind of social activity so about 8.30 we repaired to the Express Tavern and I must say the food was excellent (and the company, of course!).
Friday in the Labour office then off on Saturday to meet Sadiq Khan in Hounslow. Both he and Ruth gave excellent (and short – always a benefit) speeches outside a primary school then we all went our separate ways, leafletting and, in my case, knocking doors. Always interesting to canvass a different part of the constituency and heartening that the ‘Ruth Effect’ is strong even over the other side of Hounslow.
Sunday, more canvassing, this time in a tower or two whilst another team tackled Green Dragon Lane, then Monday morning 7am leafletting and meeting voters outside Brentford Station. A couple of hipster types – well, young chaps with stubble and cool clothes, does that count as hipsters? - were hanging about and it turned out they were doing a documentary for BBC2 which will be shown in November or sometime like that.
In the afternoon I had been invited to Green Dragon Primary School to give a talk to the Year 5 pupils about the Morrisons redevelopment. It’s quite daunting to stand in a classroom with 90 odd 9/10 year olds plus various teachers and teaching assistants but nothing was thrown at me and indeed the children were not only well-behaved but, if the many questions they asked are anything to go by (and the number of hands eager to ask who didn’t get a chance) amazingly well-informed and confident compared to how I was at their age. I probably could have told you the capital of Peru and the date of the battle of Agincourt but I would have no way been equipped to join a debate about a local issue, and even if I had had any knowledge I wouldn’t have had the confidence to ask a question. I felt our future is in excellent hands if these children are anything to go by.
Monday evening we had ‘Labour Group AGM part 3 – the chief whip strikes back’. I managed to get elected to the overview and scrutiny committee which may be fun (or not).
Tuesday I turned out to have 2 door-knocking sessions. We had planned one for the evening (Towers again!) but the Evening Standard turned up at Brentford station at lunchtime and wanted to meet the MP and some voters, so we went out with them in Hamilton and New Roads. Nearly everybody has good things to say about Ruth but we meet people who are uncertain about voting because of Brexit and all the momentous things that are going on at present. Ruth generally persuades them of what’s right! People like most of the policies in the Labour manifesto despite all the traditional spin put on them by the press (I bet you’ll be surprised that Labour have borrowed much less than the Conservatives when in power throughout the post war era, even if you discount the years from 2010, despite building all those homes fit for heroes, creating the NHS and, latterly, renewing so many of our ancient schools and hospitals. Oh, and the tax ‘burden’ today is higher than at any time during the Blair/Brown years – indeed shortly will be higher than any time since 1986, according to the IFS). I wanted to go to the Brentford Chamber of Commerce AGM but a combination of house guest and being knocker-knackered meant I made my excuses.
Wednesday, house guest down to the Tank Museum which is supposed to be near Chichester but seemed to be nearer Penzance judging by how long it took to get there in yesterday’s downpour (and just as long to get back). I can report that the Tank Museum possesses a lot of tanks, and learned that they were originally called ‘landships’ and had their names changed because we didn’t want the dastardly Germans to find out what we were busy inventing. I have a ticket that entitles me to multiple visits but for me it’s Tanks for the Memory.
Thursday we have sun. Apparently yesterday was a ‘wet weather event’ to intervene within the ‘dry weather event’ we have been experiencing. His sister works for Thames Water where the instruction is not to mention the D-word. Drought. So there. I mentioned it.
May 18, 2017