Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Ashcroft's dead cat bounce

Having spent the afternoon at Haig Ave watching Southport's victory over Northwich Victoria and so return to the top of the league (and automatic promotion) we adjourned to Birkdale for a little light canvassing. We were concentrating on the area around Birkdale Primary School. In a previous life I was the councillor for neighbouring Kew Ward and this area was declared a Housing Action Area. That gives you the idea of the type of property in the neighbourhood-so any of you with preconceived notions about what sort of place Birkdale is need to adjust your prejudices. This is not the part of Birkdale that Premiership footballers retire to. A few years back the Boundary Commission repatriated this polling district to Birkdale and I find myself representing these folk again.

All in all we had an encouraging evening-certainly better than it was back in the early 1980s. There was one new phenomenon -annoyance with the Tories London based direct mail shots. I approached one house where the canvass card showed 'soft Tory'. Our records go back decades and this had been the constant impression with which canvassers had left the household. Now I'm one of those who have a tad of concern that the amount of information we have does sometimes influence the response you get. If you knock on a door believing that the folk inside are UKIP or BNP you do approach it in a certain frame of mind..

Anyway I knocked on the door and the man came to the door. He had lived in the property for most of his life and he recognised me and John Pugh who was canvassing in the street. He immediately opened up by say he was going to vote for us this time.  He was having his tea so I realised this was going to be a quick visit. He then said that he was fed up with David Cameron sending him and his wife separate letters from London. He went on to mention that it was like being on the readers digest mailing list.

This is not the first time that people have mentioned to me the adverse response they have had to all the Cameron mailshots. We 'up north' have never been as enamoured of Cameron in the way that some southerners appear to have been. In a town like Southport people will not be impressed by a campaign conceived and executed in London and just mailed out to us.

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