I am taking nothing for granted, and so have spent the first two weeks of the campaign on the doorstep in every corner of the Constituency. Our team has covered a lot of ground, ranking 6th in the country last week for number of houses canvassed, and meeting something like 2,000 voters, so a reasonable sample.
The canvass result is pretty consistent. People have had enough of Brexit and ‘just want to get it done’, no matter which side of the argument they may have been on. They want to see us get on with the real agenda- health and education, housing, the environment, law and order, the economy and so much more. Real life has felt it was more or less on the back burner over the last couple of years. There is so much to do, and we need a decent majority to get it done.
The minority parties are pretty much steady on the last election – 17% of the electorate or thereabouts each for the Labour Party and the Lib Dems. The Brexit Party have of course dropped out of the running. Perhaps because of their failure to achieve any traction in North Wilts, there has been a bit of an outbreak of undemocratic shenanigans from the other parties. Many of our posters have been vandalised or torn down. You’d have thought that a blue poster would be pretty inoffensive. The Lib Dems have been sending out a leaflet claiming that they are “only 4% behind the Tories”. Its only when you check the small print that you find this comes from some poll, commissioned- surprise, surprise- by the Lib Dems, with no figures given for the numbers polled nor any other back-up evidence. Well I can tell them that I have conducted a very scientific poll of at least 2000 electors and I do not believe their claim to be accurate.
The Green Party are not free of blame either. One of their Box activists bearded me in the street, desperately trying to make me lose my temper. She shouted at me, and would not let me get a word in edgeways. All true to normal form. Yet what I did not know was that she was covertly filming the episode and has now put it out on social media. Covert filming is a pretty desperate tactic but anyone who manages to wade through the footage will just some lady banging on and not pausing for breathe nor allowing any responses from me.
Then again, I was guilty of a very minor traffic violation in my Battle Bus in Malmesbury, for which I am sorry. I inadvertently turned right because of poor signage. One of my most regular correspondents, who outspokenly disagrees with me in every way immediately leaked the (non) story to the local papers. I suspect that his motives may have been less about road safety and more about party political point scoring.
Well all I would say to them all is: let’s grow up. Let’s exchange intelligent discourse about policy matters. And let’s try to put these childish campaigning tactics back in the school kids’ box of party political games. I shall anyhow ignore it all, and you can be certain that subsequent bulletins will be about national and local policy matters.