Three weeks out from the election, it seems like a good point to give a quick status report. Sorry I’ve been quiet recently but there are only so many hours in the day and we’ve been out and about in Bush Hill Park as much as we can.
Sadly we learnt yesterday that the planned hustings, where election candidates get to answer questions from voters, has been cancelled. This event is normally held by the Bush Hill Park Residents Association but there have been some added complications this time around. Firstly, there are candidates standing who some members of the association would rather not invite to the hustings, secondly a mainstream parties has indicated that they would not attend if some of the other parties were present, and finally one of the keystone members of the association has decided to stand as an independent.
To be clear, the Lib Dems will appear at such events regardless of who else is on the platform because we believe that voters are drawn to fringe and extreme parties primarily because the major parties are seen as ignoring them. Get out onto the doorstep, meet these voters at hustings and they are given the voice they want and deserve and they can see how false the arguments from the extremists are.
The hustings also promised to be an interesting event. We’ve been actively knocking on doorsteps and asking questions and we learnt about problems with drugs, an alleged brothel, problems with fly tipping, issues with people annexing parts of shared alleyways behind houses and many other smaller issues. It would have been interesting to hear which of these were bothering the residents at the hustings and what the responses from the other candidates were.
And when you knock on doors you also get to meet people with a real passion for their neighbourhood. Yesterday we have a great chat with a resident who clearly had a great knowledge of the local area and is someone well worth keeping in touch with. If we’d just dropped a dry leaflet through her door, we’d never have discovered her so well worth that extra effort.
The oddest thing we’ve observed is the number of people indicating on our survey that they don’t see their ward councillors, don’t think that they listen to them, but are still intending to vote for their party. I admit that this is something that I really can’t get my head around but from polling done around the country I do know that there is a real difference across the age divide. My grandparents, and parents, generations often voted for the same party “cradle to grave” but younger voters are far more ready to judge the candidates as individuals and vote across party boundaries. I wonder if we have enough information on our surveys to see if this holds true in Bush Hill Park?
So if you’ve received one of our questionnaires and returned it, many thanks. I’ve already had some useful and informative chats with the local police about issues raised, and I’ve passed along issues such as fly tipping to the council to get it cleared. If you see more, let me know.
If you haven’t returned your questionnaire, there is still time to post if back to us, no stamp required. And if you haven’t received a questionnaire yet, we’ll get there as soon as we can. Talking to 5000-plus households takes a lot longer than just shoving through a leaflet, but it’s far more rewarding because we get to find out what you want, surely the first job of a councillor.
Right, back to work for me! There’s plenty to do so if you want to help, or even just display a poster, get in touch, firstname.lastname@example.org, 07979 994131.