Sunday, 23 April 2017

Farnborough West Campaign

We are currently trying to canvas the whole of the Farnborough West Division to support Mark's re-election to the County Council. I joined the team in Southwood two weeks ago. It took a couple of phonecalls before we had everyone assembled in the same car park, but eventually we were ready to go. We then split into a team doing leaflets and a team of canvassers before hitting the streets.

One of the first doors that I knocked on was opened by a friendly fellow who seemed pleased to see someone from UKIP. "Did you see the Tory candidate coming round the other day all dressed up in a clown suit" he asked. This seemed rather unlikely, but then it occurred to me that the clown suit might well be metaphorical. In any event he seemed to be on our side so I put him down as a UKIP voter.

Shortly after that I had an interesting conversation with someone who described himself as a Green Internationalist who said he did not want to vote for UKIP. I put it to him that Mark was a good local councilor and he said that he was aware of what Mark does but felt conflicted about voting UKIP.

Obviously for now we are focused on getting votes. However knocking on doors also offers a chance to find out what the local issues are. One family were concerned about disability travel allowance being cut. I called Mark back to talk to them. Afterwards he said that they have a good case and he will be following up.

For the last two Saturdays, I have been out again in West Heath. One theme that kept coming up was that Mark has a strong personal vote. There are people who are adamant that they would never vote for UKIP at a national level but who are willing to vote for Mark because of the work he does. One woman said that she had only recently moved to the area but that the neighbours had told her "good things happen round here" due to Mark's efforts.

This week many people were (understandably) a little confused and thought we were campaigning for the General Election. I had to tell them that we had not yet picked a candidate for that one.

Presumably in some cases "I have not decided" must really mean "I am voting for someone else". However very few people are hostile and not many will even admit to voting for another party. Despite the mostly positive feedback, Mark is concerned that the recent boundary changes have made his task more difficult. In the areas which were not part of the division at the last election, people may not know who he is. With under two weeks to go we are not taking anything for granted.

Ken McNair

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