Roman Bank Campaign 2014 – Day 1
Today was a beautiful day to begin the Roman Bank Campaign on behalf of Samantha Clark, who is the Conservative candidate in the by-election to be held on May 8th. We had two teams out, one in Newton and the other in Tydd St Giles. Our aim was to get a good start on the canvassing and try to deliver most of both those villages with the first leaflet.
This was the team I was with in Newton. (With the exception of the photographer, Elliot Johnson.)
We’ve been so pleased with the offers of help in this campaign. To have twelve volunteers out during the day and midweek is a great start and it’s only a small portion of the help that has been offered throughout the month. We expect to knock on every door, put out three pieces of literature and talk to as many local people as we can.
Sam Clark is a great candidate in so many ways. She is born and bred in the Ward, lives in the Ward and is exceptionally well-known. While walking around Newton today she seemed to know every person at every door on first-name terms. People know that she has a track record of working for the villages and actually putting in the elbow grease to get things done. They also know that she’s genuine, honest and compassionate. These things go a long way.
One interesting development was when I knocked on the door of a Socialist i’ve encountered before. Having canvassed this area many times I know this gentleman is a Labour voter, but I believe that every door should get a knock regardless of whether you know they are opposition. Plus, he’s a nice chap and we always have some good banter. So I was surprised when he told me that this time he intended to vote Conservative. In fact, I was gobsmacked. He explained: “I don’t like your party nationally at all, but I know Sam and I know she does a lot. Also, I’m voting tactically to get rid of these UKIP kooks.” Well, I think he said “kooks.” He might have said: “Crooks.” I can’t be sure. Nevertheless, its the first time I’ve ever encountered a Labour supporter planning to cast a tactical vote for the Conservatives. What a strange new world we live in.
It was, all in all, a delightful first day of campaigning. There’s a lot to do and a long way to go – but I have every faith that our strong local candidate can be victorious. People have had a year of Cllr. Alan Lay at County Council and he doesn’t appear to have wowed anyone. In fact, the most common responses on the doorstep are “Never seen him, don’t think he’s done anything.” Obviously, I’m always keen to point out that he does write to the newspaper a lot and there have been petitions and stuff. Nobody seems massively impressed. I can’t think why.
Some folk think that proximity doesn’t matter. But my experience is that it does matter to voters. It’s only one of many things to be considered, and sometimes for the right candidate they’ll elect somebody who lives outside the area if they are impressed by other things about them. But people do care that the Lib Dems are fielding a candidate from March, that Alan Lay lives in Wisbech and that the Independent candidate lives in Guyhirn. A number of times on the doorstep today people said to me: “If they don’t live here, how can they know what our issues are?” One lady went as far as to say she thought that standing candidates from elsewhere was disrespectful. I’m not sure I’d go that far – I’ve stood for places I didn’t live in before myself. But to think it isn’t an issue to people at all is to misunderstand the nature of the electorate.
Looking forward to more campaigning over the next few weeks!
The Small Print (necessary at election time):
Promoted by Mrs D N Clark on behalf of Miss S J Clark both of Cromwell House, Wisbech Road, March, Cambs PE15 8EB.