Another Saturday, another action day. With just under 3 weeks to go, the campaign is hotting up.
The weather is less sure: we have sunshine and sleet in the space of a few minutes. With a team of 16, ranging from students to veteran councillors, we got all our deliveries out in record time. A friend from church came out of his house as I passed; his son turns 18 this week, so will be able to vote for the first time on 1st May. The whole family are debating their choices for Mayor; it seems to be mostly Brian with a bit of Boris. I reassured him that with the 2nd vote system, you can have Brian then Boris, if you insist.
At lunchtime we went to the Duchess of Kent pub. The food was good as ever – I had the mushroom and spinach pancakes – but the service was more than a bit off. Maybe they couldn’t handle that number of hungry Lib Dems all at once.
With deliveries done, we started canvassing in pairs, hitting different streets and estates over the neighbourhood. I end up on BoJo’s own street. You remember those shots of him jogging in disgrace and a bandana? Then finding himself locked out of the house? That’s the one. It is a lovely place, elegant houses with enough arched windows to delight anyone brought up on PlaySchool, and cherry blossom on the trees. There were not a lot of people in, but the cute cat count was high. A pretty butterscotch one even hopped on my shoulder and stayed there, parrot style while I rang their owners’ doorbell and posted my leaflet through the door. Don’t try this at home... “If only I had a camera” said my colleague.
This street is arguably the most Tory in Islington. Not only does Boris Johnson have a house there, but opposite there used to be the Conservative party hall, until they sold it off a few years ago. So we were braced for lots of Boris votes; not the case. What’s interesting is the genuine uncertainty among voters: “I normally vote Labour/Conservative, but....” is the common theme. So we met a mum who normally votes Labour but thinks Ken is a hypocrite; and a young man who stopped us in the street to say he’s basically a Tory but can’t take Boris seriously. Then there was the EU citizen who likes Brian and hadn’t realised he could vote. So good news all round.
I wasn’t the only one canvassing in possible enemy territory today. I’d just got home at teatime when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a nice looking young woman with a Labour sticker. Her: “Are you Bridget Fox?” Me: “Yes“. Her: “Oh, I guess I shouldn’t have called here....“. Me: “I think you can safely assume I won’t be voting Labour 🙂“.
Mind you, we started it. Earlier this week I was out with our GLA candidate Meral Ece and our Barnsbury team. We’re reminding people that they’re electing assembly members as well as the Mayor. Our standard question – “do you know who your Assembly member is?” – usually has a 100% non-recognition rate for the incumbent; after 8 years, that’s reason enough for a change, as voters agree! So Meral was surprised to find one guy who instantly knew the name of our mystery member. I checked the card: he works for our Labour MP.