A sombre start to the week as on Monday, I attended the Armistice Day service at the Hamilton Road cemetery in Deal. I must get a black coat, my M&S blue coat is my ‘nice’ coat, but too bright for occasions such as this. I risked a paper poppy, even though the baby has already destroyed and picked six paper poppies from various jackets and coats over the past few weeks. The baby’s grabbing made me buy a knitted one earlier this week: much more sturdy!
In the afternoon, after various infuriating attempts to order my Election Address via the Labour Party software, I find out that our systems have been hacked – that’s why it keeps crashing. It has been slow all week long really, with candidates on various WhatsApp groups all sharing memes and more traditional methods of frustration (!) typical of those moments when technology wastes hours of your life!
Talking of WhatsApp: it has gone crazy. My phone (for these 5 weeks only!) is what a popular person’s phone must look like; I put it down for 5 minutes, pick it up and have 79 unread WhatsApps. There is a Target Seat candidate WhatsApp group, a Kent Candidates groups, Candidates Education Focus Group, a Women Candidates group, a Peoples Vote one etc., One with a mixture of Former MPs and some candidates exchanging campaign material ideas, and then more locally, I’ve got my Core Team Group; Hardcore canvassers group, Dover group, Deal group, Aylesham group, Digital group and then some more secret groups given dull sounding names like General Chat, Litter Pick Group, Campaign for Better Street-lighting in rural areas ‘CBSLRA’ (I mean, this IS clearly an issue, but it isn’t what the group is about)… Sometimes I wish I was campaigning in the 90’s before the smartphone. Bring back the risograph and messenger pigeons!
Monday night was a typical campaign frustration moment. I got stuck outside Guston after a lorry spilt fuel all over the A2 and they closed the road for 90 minutes before turning around all traffic, so we could escape the wrong way up a slip road. Safe to say, I did not make the session calling members being held in Dover town centre; instead I sat in my car and had an impromptu campaign meeting with my campaign manager over the car speakerphone.Tuesday was your more typical canvassing day. My agent and I did paperwork up at the district council offices and then retired back to Kingsdown to do some more (plus have a much-needed cup of tea). In the afternoon, we attacked Buckland before the rain set in. When your lip turns blue, it’s time to go home. My lips actually go blue really easily as anyone who knows me will attest. For some reason, eating oranges also makes my top lip go blue – anyone want to offer a diagnosis as to why this is?
I finished Tuesday talking to members in North Deal – what a lovely lot. Sometimes I get a bit emotional about how nice my team and the wider membership is here. I’ve got a lovely local party and I know we have a whole month to go, but it really is your friends who get you through! Oh, and cheese and wine at Susan’s house!