Friday, 16 April 2010

Conversations like this make it all worthwhile

Out and about today with Community candidate Tricia Doran, who is proving to have been an excellent choice, and another activist canvassing doors in Hounslow South ward. Obviously a lot of people were out at work, but the responses we did get were encouraging. A conversation with one resident was particularly worth recording for posterity:

Resident: I'm not interested in politics at all, sorry.

PA: That's good, neither are we.

Resident: Ugh?

PA: We are residents, we are not interested in party politics. We believe in building strong communities with the capacity to fight their own battles, helped by councillors and activists but not ruled by them.

Resident: But if you are fighting the election you must be politicians yourselves, right?

PA: We have had to register as a political party but we prefer to think of ourselves as a community activist group. We don't have a party agenda, we believe in representing the community on the council rather than the council in the community.

Resident: But aren't you still kind of politicians?

PA: Well I guess it's a question of how you would define a politician, but if you say you won't be voting anyway...

Resident: I didn't say I won't be voting. I always use my vote.

PA: Okay. So you have the Conservatives, Labour and us. Of the three, which would you say were the least like party politicians?

Resident: Well you - of course.

PA: So as you say you're not interested in politics, does that incline you towards us or somebody else?

Resident: Well seeing as you put in like that, if I vote I will obviously vote for you.

PA: And you say you'll definitely be voting?

Resident: Of course, I always do.

PA: That's good enough for me. Good day Sir.

A short while later the three of us bumped into Brad Fisher, Conservative ward councillor and once again a candidate for his party. It was nice that we shook hands and had a good natured if rather brief chat. Nerves can become frayed during election campaigns and harsh words are somethimes exchanged, but it is worth remembering that we are all in this to do a job and most of us try our best to do the right thing for local people, whatever our angle or affiliation.

We enter the last three weeks of the campaign with cautious optimism, but if today's canvass was anything to go by we are really starting to get our hands into the meat at just the right time.

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