I’ve lost a few pounds consequent upon 5 weeks pounding the streets delivering and knocking doors in all weather.
Some people have letter boxes that could be categorised as offensive weapons, I don’t know how the postman copes but my fingers are still cut and sore. Then there is always an address that you just can’t find. There are streets that appear to have no logic whatever to the way the house numbers work.
So letter boxes display prohibition against the delivery of ‘Junk Mail’. Would anyone trouble themselves to deliver a message all the way to your door, if they really thought that it was junk?
When it comes to canvassing, I confess that it is not my favourite pastime. I know that some election volunteers love it, but I am not among them.
No matter what time you call, most people are out -or pretending to be.
There are some voters who are disappointed that the Tory didn’t call by, and I did get an email from one. I pointed out that with some 45,000 households in the constituency, even going full tilt with a dedicated team of volunteers you would barely make an impression. My own maximum during this election was 300 doors in one week.
What makes canvassing so daunting however, is the fact so many voters do not want you on their doorstep discussing politics -or anything else, and they make this abundantly clear by the little stickers they place on the door telling you to go away. Those who follow me on Twitter will have seen that I have been sharing examples as I encountered them. Perhaps the most common, and the daftest, is “No unwelcome callers”. I ask you, how on earth can you tell if you are unwelcome or not, unless you call?
One of my favourites was “No purveyors of religious or political wisdom of any kind”
Another said “No Cold Callers. We are too broke to buy anything. We know who we are voting for. We have already found Jesus. Seriously, unless you are distributing free cookies PLEASE GO AWAY”
Some signs just say “no cold callers”. Now does that really mean salesmen or does it apply to political canvassers too?
Well, it depends on the random caprice of the occupant. When I’ve gone ahead and knocked sometimes they’ve seemed quite agreeable, but at others they are clearly angry that their instruction has been defied.
When you knock, having first consulted the electoral register, you know the name of the person you are calling on. Often, for an address with only one registered voter, the door is opened by a person of the opposite sex to that specified on the register. My habit is to say “excuse me, I was hoping to speak to Mrs ‘x’, is she at home?”
Now here’s a question for our new age where gender is now regarded merely as an outdated social construct rather than a biological fact: could I be insulting the occupant by assuming that he or she is not the person on the register, on the basis of my own bourgeois expectation of what a person of a particular sex looks like?
I haven’t had a complaint yet, but I suppose it’s bound to happen sometime.