Sunday, October 18, 2009

Canvass for John McDonnell

As mentioned in an earlier post , today was the start of fortnightly canvasses to build support to re-elect John to Parliament. Having set up a facebook group, and harangued others to go, I thought it best if I went along myself :-) rather than have a lie in. I have never been to Hayes and Harlington, and having a poor sense of direction allowed plenty of time. I must admit I almost walked past the constituency offices, believing it was a cottage owned by a dotty old lady with cats . I imagined inside there were old copies of The Lady piled high in every room and a strong smell of lavender. This was on the basis of a very very overgrown garden (hmm, is this perhaps a metaphor for the left, having to battle past the brambles to get to the door ?) and a very vivid imagination. Worse was to come though when I saw the inside of John's car, Mary P had to clamber over LRC bits and bobs and compost !

Now I am a bit of an anorak and actually like canvassing, elections and all the nerdy stuff that goes with it. I enjoy knocking on doors and chatting to people , which makes a nice change from reading the blogs and sitting in meetings where lefties vie for who has read the most obscure Trotsky and still, sometimes debate the nature of the old Soviet Union.

I digress. Today was a good start. We handed out letters inviting people to come along to a public meeting on an estate where there are some problems . Generally a good reaction. Some undecided, a few no thank you's , but no abuse. Some of the responses I got was that John was a good MP, done a lot for the area and one who said he hadn't done her any harm! One woman a tad confused said yes, she would vote for John , believing him to be a Conservative. Hmm.

Highlights included a wide range of dogs, I suspect there are as many dogs on those three streets as people, and 'dressing gown man.'

What struck me was that quite a few people were aware of the hard work John has put in .Not one said anything about him being a greedy politician on the make with expenses or pointed out to me the short comings of New labour (of which I would have had to agree.) This I found heartening at a time when New Labour politicians are so out of touch and run scared of standing up for socialist values .

Afterwards it was all back to the cricket club for a well earned drink and post mortem. Lots of enthusiasm and hopefully more will turn up in future canvasses.They are every fortnight, details here , plus check out the facebook group.

Whatever people think of New Labour, I'd hope most lefties would want to see John back as an MP after the election, we can't afford to lose a strong socialist voice in the Commons. Many will be unable to even hold their nose to vote Labour, let alone campaign for their local candidate. Given this I'd argue, and this is what i'm doing,that people should lend support to those few Labour MPs and candidates that back halfway decent socialist policies . As Mary P said to me today, if your Labour candidate is a tosser, then come and help out with John. Exactly !

Oh and if that doesn't work, John was buying the drinks after and not on expenses !