November 22, 2014 Leave a comment
The first door I knock on after returning from an injury-enforced lay-off from canvassing was not an auspicious start, for no sooner than I had announced myself as someone from the Labour Party when the resident said “I’m not interested” and shut the door firmly in my face. Welcome back!
Fortunately it got better.
I did stints in Kursaal and Chalkwell wards today. Not especially long stints, for not only was the weather indifferent but I am still limping. However, it was good to be out again.
Unusually I did not have a single conversation about dog poo, parking, or fly-tipping. Instead it seemed to me that minds were definitely tuned to the coming General Election as national topics were discussed. The top three items today were the cost of living, the National Health Service, and the European Union.
I found one Tory, or perhaps more accurately one former Tory as this resident was definitely undecided who to plump for nowadays. Now, not finding a Tory in Kursaal is not especially unusual, but I expected to find some in a ward that is represented by three of the species.
I spied no Liberal Democrat or Green supporters either; it was all UKIP or Labour, with Labour winning by a ratio of three to one. I know that some when confronted by a Labour activist will either say what they think the activist wants to here or keep their allegiances secret – some. Finding no-one prepared to express a preference for either of the governing parties was quite a revelation. Green support is quite weak in my home borough, and they barely register at the best of times; so no surprises that I came across no-one declaring for them.
UKIP are gaining some traction, but I did find that those opting for them would at least chat, and some said they would look into the Labour offer for Southend-on-Sea.
Does this mean very much at all? Not really, because in truth despite my best endeavours it was still a fairly small sample. Nonetheless, I really sense a Conservative Party in trouble, at least in parts of the town. It also suggests that what we saw in the local elections six months could easily be repeated next May, that is even more Conservative losses in the council chamber.