Sunday, February 05, 2006

A day on the doorsteps

I've never particularly liked canvassing, being the sort of person who takes a similar view of politics to that on religion - it is the right of any individual to hold the view of their choice (subject to the hurt and/or offence sub-clauses, naturally) - and the idea of actually persuading people face to face makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Having said that, it is part of modern camapigning strategy and so I spent part of yesterday afternoon knocking on doors in my own corner of paradise. One of the frustrating parts of it is finding a time when people are actually in and likely to open the door. Particularly in inner South London, where there are a significant number of younger people, they're actually out enjoying themselves (or shopping - don't start me on that...). Our out leaflets look good (our Labour opponents look kind of scary, if truth be told) and our three candidates resemble real human beings, so I suspect we have a decent chance of gleaning support.

It 's also nice to be taking the fight into supposedly enemy territory (the ward in question has been Labour since time immemorial) and to be fighting a positive campaign. I've always believed that you should fight a clean contest, a concept quite obviously alien to our friends in Dulwich and West Norwood Constituency Labour Party, as evidenced by their unfamiliarity with the truth, or even the policy of their own government.

As a result, I've spent more time campaigning, delivering leaflets and canvassing in the past twelve months than I had done in the previous ten years. I still see it as a duty rather than a pleasure - I am a political administrator, after all - but at least I know that a victory would help us continue to improve Southwark, and that really means something.


Ian Ridley said...

I was always told that in the run-up to an election, canvassing was mostly about determining voting intentions rather than trying to persuade people on the doorstep.

You want to ID your voters so you can remind them to vote (pretty important in today's busy world) and point them in the direction of the council if they need a postal vote.

Mark Valladares said...

Ian, you are of course quite right. I'm comparatively new to canvassing and know the drill, but there is an element of persuasion in that you have to look keen and enthusiastic.

And, of course, you do need to try and persuade people to give you information, even if they aren't supporters...

Richard said...


Your message on the Huhne Campaign Office answerphone was hard to hear. Can you call us on 023 8061 3397?



Richard said...

Hi Mark,

Please r-mail regarding your answerphone message.