Tuesday, 30 April 2013

"Which candidate are you?"

This week I have diverted my priorities from knocking on doors and asking to help residents with council matters to delivering leaflets telling them what the Liberal Democrat team has done to help them. It makes sense as the elections are on Thursday. Helping residents should be a continuous process for any activist and even more importantly it should be a continuous process for the incumbent county councillor. This hasn't been the case in Morecambe South and I have discovered that virtually nobody knows their county councillor. He was a member of the Labour Party eight years ago and defected to the Tories four years ago so both parties have to take responsibility for this state of affairs.

Today I was working with another Liberal Democrat activist and we were delivering the final week's leaflet. We were on a fairly modern estate where most people are out at work when we passed the Tory candidate for Morecambe South who was with the Tory candidate for Morecambe North. The latter said to me (fairly abruptly and some would say rudely) "which candidate are you?". I replied, "and which candidate are you?". I suppose you could call my reply abrupt or rude but I was just copying his phrase, and my question was much more apt. He was in the wrong county council division. Then I turned to the Morecambe South candidate. I held out my hand and said "hello I'm Michael". Before the two of them saw us we had noticed that they were almost playing 'knock and run' but were leaving leaflets at the same time.

More important than their campaigning techniques, what was the Morecambe North candidate doing? There are three options. Firstly he could have given up any chance of winning in Morecambe North. Secondly he could be taking the electorate for granted in Morecambe North (let's see if he gets elected). Thirdly there could be just two activists who are both candidates and they are sharing the work between two county council divisions.

Change the world

P.S. I understand that the Conservatives may not wish to be bitten by dogs but I do wish they would push their leaflets through the letterbox. It is an advert that the resident is not at home, the leaflet can get wet, and with some letterboxes the rain can get into the vestibule. A less honest leafleter may have taken these leaflets too.

Added 3rd May.
P.P.S. The count is now completed and Labour have won in Morecambe South. I did manage to speak with a few people including the Morecambe North Tory (MNT).
Me: "Hello, which candidate are you?"
MNT: "I'm ......., which candidate are you?"
Me: "I'm Michael Gradwell, Liberal Democrat"
MNT: "We've already met. Well I hope you come last"
Me: "I hope you come a wonderful second - it sounds so much better"

And that's how the conversation ended. MNT did spend most of his time scrutinising the Morecambe South votes rather than  his own, so I can now narrow my options down. The MNT had not given up any chance of winning, so I must be right with either option two or option three.

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