Longing for Eden, mistaken for UKIP

A St Laurence resident: “We have not had a decent Government for sixty years.”

A quick calculation by me, then my response: “That was Anthony Eden.”

“A decent and honourable man”, came the reply.

I was not about to cast aspersions on Mr Eden, but I could not help thinking that his term of office was less than two years, the Suez crisis in 1956 effectively put paid to his Premiership. He was before my time, I was born during Harold MacMillan’s tenure at number ten. In all the debates about who was best PM I could not recall Eden receiving many plaudits.

This 87-year old gentleman, a life-long Tory, was not voting this year. Evidently Cameron is no Eden. He did bemoan the lack of heavy industry in this country, then without apparent irony praised Mrs Thatcher. Some might argue she contributed to the decline in traditional industries during her period in office.

It was an affable conversation, and he wished me luck.

Towards the end of the day I was in Leigh ward with my agent, Kevin Robinson, when we were mistaken for the UKIP team. “I don’t want this rubbish” uttered a female resident, holding the offending UKIP leaflet somewhat diffidently. We protested that we did not deliver it – I think our leaflet pushed the UKIP one through too. I am still not convinced she believed that we were not responsible.

Between I met many doors adorned with variations on the ‘no leaflets’ sign. I wonder whether behind some of these doors are the same people who complain that no politician visits their door, or that we are all useless or all the same. Quite how these people get their information about each candidate and party puzzles me. Maybe these signs identify the growing non-participants in our democracy.

The one thing that is noticeable is that after months of little activity from my opponents I am now seeing signs of activity. If anyone says to me that “we only see you at election time” I shall point out that whilst that may be true of other parties, it is most definitely not true of Labour in Southend-on-Sea.

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3 Responses to Longing for Eden, mistaken for UKIP

  1. Steve Aylen says:

    whilst out canvassing in Belfairs the best ward in Southend I too today got mistaken for UKIP and got mouthful of abuse. then they realised who I was we talked about golf and cars.
    In one year how things have changed

  2. Between I met many doors adorned with variations on the ‘no leaflets’ sign. I wonder whether behind some of these doors are the same people who complain that no politician visits their door, or that we are all useless or all the same. Quite how these people get their information about each candidate and party puzzles me. Maybe these signs identify the growing non-participants in our democracy.

    Non-participation: Since 1950 Southend West has been held by three Conservative MPs – usually with massive majorities (1997 & a majority of 2,615 being the lowest point for the Conservatives). The predecessor seat, Southend was also held by three Conservative MPs throughout its existence from 1918 to 1950. Participation is unlikely to make a difference in who represents the constituency. Sorry Julian.

    Getting Information: Our political system is looking more and more presidential and the perception is that most MPs are party hacks who obey the whips. So as long as they don’t fiddle their expenses perhaps voters feel it does not matter who their MP is? Election literature rarely says anything about the honesty of the candidate. We are lead to believe that the leader is everything, so do we really want the footsoldiers darkening our doors?

    Should supporters (of any party) actually be doing much campaigning outside the marginals? For instance if the Conservatives are serious about forming a majority government (which is what they are claiming) they should be doing the minimum in their “secure” seats (must not look as if they are taking “their” voters for granted) and campaigning hard in their marginals and their targets. Likewise with the other parties.

  3. In 1997 Amess benefited from a split opposition; he attracted just 38.8% of the vote then. I am hoping that enough former Lib Dems voters switch to me to push me over the line. Amess achieved a lower vote share in 2010 than he did in 2005, which is some achievement when taking into account just how unpopular Labour was that year.

    I am a realist, I know it will be tough. But I am not just going to roll over and let it happen, I am fighting for every vote.

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