The weekend kicked off with a super Saturday in Aylesham. I’ve said before on the blog, how much I love this village, but campaigning there again on Saturday brought a whole host of new special moments. There was a nice big team out in Aylesham today (at the same time another team was knocking on doors in Mill Hill) and we were focussing on the new estate where there is a lot of Labour support, with many residents moving in from left wing areas in South East London or central Canterbury. The problem with the new estate is I always get lost; you can end up doing endless loops around attractive sounding flower or mining industry named streets: Cherry Blossom Way, Bluebell Drive, Blue Flame Road, Pit Head Drive…
The reception on the doors was good here; not universally Labour supporting, but the majority at least Labour leaning and hopefully most from these parts will come to put that X in the Labour box once our manifesto is out and our policies are there in black and white. I had some good chats; one in particular with a woman from Border Force stands out. She was talking about the money that EU workers send back to their home countries; making the argument that legal economic migrants send more home and don’t invest or spend enough in this country to balance the books for the services they use whilst here. The pressure on the NHS was spoken about particularly. I remembered this graph I had seen some weeks ago, breaking down the ‘pressures’ on the NHS; whilst migration is an issue, it is not the foremost issue that has brought our service to breaking point. See image below:
During a break in our canvassing, I popped up to the Leisure Centre to see the Fun Day in full swing. It was nice to see a lot of faces I knew well from various community groups that run here in the village and all the way to Dover. I spoke to people from East Kent Climate Action, Take Off, Summer Kitchen (hopefully coming to Aylesham next year), BeChange and others. I even got to mix my own smoothie, by getting on my bike (!)
After the Fun Day, there was more canvassing, then a quick cup of warming tea at the café. I got about an hour at home before coming out again and back to Aylesham for an evening screening of ‘A Hundred Years of Coal’ at the Workshop Trust. This film is amazing and actually really moving. If you live in the Dover / Deal / Canterbury area and haven’t seen it, please make the time to do so and see where our forefathers trod and dug and [sometimes] died. As a light hearted bonus, when you have seen the film, you’ll be able to debate with confidence the merits and differences between a Tilmanstone pasty and a Betteshanger pie.
I slept like a log. All the campaigning fresh air is good for baby and I!
Sunday was a change of scene and I began by popping up to Aycliffe to see a gentleman who had requested a visit off me and it was good to have a cup of tea with him and his dad. We didn’t agree on everything, but I think we had an understanding and when we did disagree, we did so with respect and kindness (I hope!). After that I joined the team in Maxton. When I arrived one of my hardest working campaigners, an absolutely brilliant woman, had been shouted at and followed by two men waiting at a street corner; she was really shaken by it and rightly so. They’d called her a terrorist or similar and she had felt really threatened, as they just hadn’t stopped shouting. I want to put here that political campaigners are volunteers, passionate about their ‘team’ of course, but they did not give up their time to be shouted at and bullied. We all want a kinder sort of politics, right? When did it become okay for two young men to shout and scream at an older woman? To shout abuse? To bully? So shaken were the team that the leader of that team – sensibly – moved their location by a few streets. [Quick note here that five days later, I received an email from the Dover police about safety for people whilst on the campaign trail. Some security briefings are being held on the 27th November… some 3 weeks after our campaigns began…
I got back home with enough time to have flapjacks and tea with some friends expecting their first baby next week (Good luck guys) and then we had the typical family Sunday night madness: has anyone listened to the kids’ reading book? No. Do this now! Have I emptied rotting snacks from last week from their bags? No! Yuck! Are there any school forms to fill in? Always. Is there money to pay for school lunches in the online account? No – must top up! Permission form for this week’s school trip? Check! Have I paid all the family bills? No, they are endless! Are the kids clean? No! Ok – into the bath, struggle with hair washing, into night stuff, snuggle with His Dark Materials…Gin and Tonic, Bed.