It is a constant game of ‘Watch-the-weather’ in this winter election. I have 3 weather apps (yes 3!) on my phone and I check them all each evening, scrolling hour by hour and watch projected future clouds zoom by on maps. So far, we’ve been really lucky but every week I check in with the member of my core team leading up the canvass schedule and we agree to put in more door-knocking sessions that we probably need just in case we have to cancel one or two when the heavens open.
We’ve also just begun leafleting, so some volunteers have their work cut out getting materials through doors. Can we really maintain a full door-knock schedule and a leafleting schedule? Especially when some people (including me) have been knocked down this week by colds, sore throats? Time (or this coming week) will tell I guess.I realise that a lot of people probably don’t know why we door knock. Well, it is all part of the overall strategy helping make polling day a success. Obviously, we love having chats, helping inform people and hopefully changing minds, or at least prompting people to look into things. As well as that though knocking is all part of a data-driven strategy. If you tell a canvasser you vote Labour, you are a ‘Labour promise’, you become part of our key data. At the end of each session, we will know what % of each road are Labour promises, Don’t Knows, Conservatives etc. There is also a section for the ‘Againsts’ – you know the sort who take a quick gander at a rosette and then say ‘No thanks’ or even occasionally something more aggressive (although to be fair, I’ve also had some exceptionally polite ‘againsts’)
If an area has over 33% ‘Labour Promises’ then it would be a good strong Labour area, especially when the majority (in this election certainly) are genuine Don’t Knows. Labour Promises probably won’t get extra letters or leaflets, but they might get an extra knock on polling day, or numbers to call for lifts to polling stations. Don’t Knows are the most interesting group (and in this strategic voting election, so are Lib Dem and Green voters) because the hope is that they might look at Labour in the days and hours leading up to putting their X in the box. Often political parties will send extra materials to people who identify as ‘Don’t Knows’, sometimes personalised letters asking for votes to be ‘borrowed’ for one election when it could unseat an incumbent, will go to Green voters and Lib Dems. That’s certainly what I’d ask Lib Dem and Green voters to consider here; lending me their vote to stop yet another Tory ruling over Dover & Deal for more years than any of us would care to think about.Over the weekend, we braved the weather for a mass street stall in Deal.
Thank you to my excellent team, see the piccie below:
We also canvassed in Mill Hill and Dover, then on Sunday I made the trip to Tunbridge Wells to film Sunday Politics. Whist I was filming, my amazing campaign crew had various door-knocking and leafleting sessions going full steam ahead around the constituency. You catch watch the whole episode of Sunday Politics here if you’ve got 30 minutes spare in your life:
The drive home was dreadful with Baby screaming in the back as part of the M20 home was shut. My mother-in-law had come along to push him around Tunbridge Wells as I filmed. He has just hit six months old and so, for most of the campaign (being a fully breastfed baby) he’s been right with me on trips, visits and in the pram for door-knocks and leafletting. This baby has met so many adults and see so many things, that if the vote doesn’t go our way on December 12th, he’s going to find the transition back to parent-and-baby groups hard (well, actually even if the vote does go our way…as I guess I’ll be a fully paid up customer of the House of Commons Nursery facilities).
There’s a Facebook Group that I sometimes keep an eye on, Deal Watch Rejects. Obviously please don’t go there unless you like hideous memes, controversial, insulting posts and generally value your mental health. However, like some kind of self-flagellation, I occasionally look in. Someone had posted a picture of baby and I out and about on the campaign trail and I’ve got to say some of the toxic comments hurt. Now, I do not have thin skin – anyone who knows me will tell you that – but comments such as ‘she should be at home looking after the baby, not dragging it out to work how stupid is that (sic)’ and ‘There is no need and it is extremely wrong to use a child to promote a political course’ and ‘this is child abuse’ or ‘Am I the only one fed up seeing this woman taking every photo opportunity going with baybee (sic) in tow’ or really hurt. My baby is out with me because he needs feeding every few hours. No, I will not stay at home because I am a woman with a baby. He’s in some photos with me on trips because I’m his mum and I’m holding him. End of. Taking him with me is my choice, after all, if I win I’ll see a lot less of him; this time could be precious. If you want to volunteer to (a) wean my baby (b) look after him because he doesn’t have a nursery place until the New Year and (c) pay for that care because obviously I’m not picking up a wage as I campaign as hard as I can in this unexpected snap election, then be my guest. But actually, no…thinking about it… don’t ‘be my guest’ because I’d never want rabid, Neolithic, hurtful trolls like you anywhere near my children.
End of DWR rant.
Ps – thank you to the wonderfully supportive men and woman – many of whom I don’t know and have never met, who stick up on groups like this for fairness and against abuse.