St Peter’s action day: sun, soup and success

Getting people out to campaign in January can be a challenge. So I was a little anxious in advance of our first full action day of 2009.

It clashed with the policy conference at LSE. Some colleagues were helping in local by-elections in other boroughs. The weather forecast was bad – I could hear the wind and rain bashing the windows when I woke up. Then came a couple of texts from activists unable to make it. As Rich and I helped unload survey forms at the ward HQ, we wondered if anyone would be joining us.

No need to worry. The sun came out, and so did the helpers. We had two teams out in the morning. My morning team got off to a flying start. The first door we knocked on, I introduced myself, and the lady said, “Oh yes, I vote for you, how lovely to meet you!”. Husband was summoned, email addresses exchanged, and offers of coffee politely declined. Our newest canvasser was very impressed. He stayed enthusiastic, even when the dog a few doors down audibly ate his leaflet. The councillor on our team was getting more compliments than casework. And by the time we headed back to HQ for lunch, we’d even recruited a new deliverer.

Our kind hosts were scrabbling to find extra chairs as we ate their soup at lunchtime. Looking round the table, we had activists whose backgrounds include French, Dutch, Somali, Finnish, Turkish, and (most exotic of all, for Islington) south London; mostly young, many new, all keen. People joined in during the day, by the end we’d had 5 teams of canvassers out. One of the newbies has already phoned to volunteer door-knocking on Tuesday too. Like the chip ad says, it’s all good….

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