Peter Hough

Peter Hough
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Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Confessions of a canvasser...

We've been doing quite a lot of doorstep canvassing over the last few weeks, and on the whole we've received a very good response. There's almost 6,000 households in Victoria Ward though, so we can't get around to everyone. We have been pleasantly surprised by how many residents do actually read our Focus newsletter - and find it informative too. They also appreciate the hard work we've put in.

However, one thing you learn with canvassing, is that not everyone loves you!

I knocked on one door, and introduced myself to the gentleman standing there, then held out my hand. He looked at it and curled his lip.

"I don't shake hands with politicians," he said, looking me up and down as if I was a piece of dirt.

You don't argue with someone like that, you just turn and walk away. Which is what I did. What I felt like saying was:

"It's okay, I've washed my hands, and I don't have any contagious diseases. If you want to stick labels on me I'm also a husband, father, son, professional writer, walker, cyclist and a caravanner. Perhaps you wouldn't shake hands with any of them either?"

What a nice man - I bet he goes down a hoot at dinner parties.

One way to persuade men to vote
 - we use Focus
I don't mind the people who say they're voting for another candidate, or party. What does wind me up are people who proudly boast: "I don't vote." Or, "I don't bother voting in the local elections - they're not important."

Imagine writing out a cheque, for say, £1,500, without exercising any say or influence on how that money will be spent? That's what the 'no voters' do every year when they pay their council tax. Weird!

The subject of not voting came up on the doorstep with a lady who made the valid point that "women have died to give me the vote." I also reminded her of the people in Third World countries who walk for miles, and queue for days to elect their leaders. Then, I have to admit I got a bit carried away (which I sometimes do), and added:

"It would serve the 'no voters' right if a fascist government were elected, and they were the first to be put up against a wall and shot!"

A bit extreme, but you get my drift?

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