Monday 7 March 2016

Weekend conversations

"Can I give you this?" I politely inquired. "It is a leaflet from your local councillor, I added, thinking this would be an inducement." Inducement or not "yes please" was the response. Delivering through letterboxes normally involves little engagement, but occasionally one gets stopped, or there is a brief but rewarding encounter.

The weather was mixed, occasional drizzle, which is not good news when either leafleting or canvassing. I was mixing up leafleting and canvassing, and the weather (for the time of year) held up reasonably well in the end. It has been a mild winter, which is bad news for those trying to avoid germs, but good for those of us who dedicate great chunks of our spare time to community engagement via the political process.

The lady was uncertain to begin with. But as our conversation developed it became obvious that her core values aligned with Labour, and whilst she stated she was undecided how she would vote in May she did add that she always voted Labour. Her concerns were largely local: dog poo and parking.

Another conversation that began with some concern about Labour's leader. Jeremy Corbyn is not standing in Milton ward in May; the coming elections are about Southend-on-Sea and how it is being run, not about the ups and downs of Westminster politics. "Yes, we all vote Labour here" began the short and happy chatter with a family that was clearly getting ready to go out.

"I normally vote Tory but I am undecided at the moment". This particular gentleman had concerns about the state of his road's surface and I was able to tell him of my successes in getting repairs done, and that new money was being made available for further repairs right across the borough.

Labour support is definitely holding up, and new supporters are being found. No mention of the minor parties and only lukewarm support for the Conservatives. I am cautiously optimistic about May 5th's election. One thing is certain, it is only Labour that is working in Milton ward at the moment.

The referendum? Mentioned once or twice, and I sense a lot of minds not yet made up.

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