We are well into the swing of canvassing now. It has always been the tradition in these parts to start evening canvassing when the clocks go forward. Long experience has taught us that with our team we can knock on every door between then and polling day. We are greatly assisted by our delivery network which means that volunteers get the leaflets delivered leaving the canvassers free to knock on doors. This year we began even earlier-in fact we have not really 'knocked off' since last May. All through the Autumn we managed a few sessions each week and kept it up during the winter mostly on Sunday afternoons. We persuaded ourselves that the electors would be extra impressed to see us on the doorstep in the snow!
We have now got past the phoney war stage and into the campaign proper and the pace has quickened. It is not only us who are more focused-so are the residents.
It is pleasing that there is widespread appreciation of John Pugh as an excellent constituency MP. Folk have mentioned on the doorstep that they recognise that John was 'clean' or 'not like the others' when it came to expenses. I've even had a few people tell me that he was '515th' on the list of claimers. There are, of course, some people who are just plain angry about politics and I expect to see an increase in the UKIP vote mostly from abstention and Tories.
The second impression I have had confirmed is the stature of Vince Cable. His name has been mentioned by people and his appeal amongst 'soft' Tories & Lib/Con voters is marked. We will need to track the stats carefully but certainly in Birkdale I guess that some of the people who vote Lib Dem locally and Con nationally will vote the Lib Dem ticket this time because of our credibility on the economy.
It is also of interest that in the last couple of weeks very few people have raised with me very local concerns. That is a marked change from normal. I have had a detailed exchange about the digital economy legislation with one man who is switching from 'non voter' to us because of our stance on this issue (Thanks to LDV for keeping me briefed) I've had one gay household quiz me about the equality legislation and a conversation about autistic children from a women who had contact John over the issue and was pleased by his response.
Europe has only been mentioned once to me by a retired teacher-who though confused by the difference between the European Court of Human Rights and the European Community held firmly to a nationalist view. I was about to tick the UKIP column when he told me he always voted for us to keep the Tories out!
I'm off out again after lunch and I wonder what this afternoon will bring