Monday, 18 May 2015

An election - a family affair

For months, the election had been the topic of conversation everywhere.

In the Hammersmith newsagents; ‘You only have the f*cking Sun left, do you think I am a Tory?'

The seedy Tooting pool bar: ‘I really do think that some of what UKIP stand for could be a good thing’.

The elderly lady I interviewed at work: 'If Miliband gets back in, we have had it, I'll be dead but you lot will have some issues.'

Politicians had left a trail of selfies behind them, noticeably splashed across social media. And everyone had apparently metamorphosed into political experts.

With hours to go before the election, my dad was ‘probably going to lose but not certainly’ in his marginal northern constituency.

It is a general election-influential constituency in the country, due to it being such a close call between Labour and the Conservatives.

How do you know if you are in trouble if you are a politician before the election?

When the political big wigs pop by, especially Boris. And, yes, that happened in Warrington South.

Mum doing her duties.

So for dad's faithful team, this just meant knocking on doors – would campaigning at the 11th hour really make a difference?

(Someone has to deliver the paper to start the fire)

Dad replied: “Well we either do something or nothing. One vote could make a difference.’

Dad’s friend, Chris, said, ‘Of course, none of us would normally do this, but it’s Dave’.
Our house had been full of friends helping dad for a week. (below picture - I did warn Chris that he did nothing to overturn the Conservative's reputation with this outfit).

So, off we pavement-pounded to deliver thousands of leaflets and knock on doors to make sure the possible Tory supporters knew there was an election happening and would go to the polling station.

We came across people who still were undecided or who didn’t know if they would get to the polling station.

Not sure my debating skills really helped,  ‘Hey there, would be great if you could vote for Dave. It would get my dad off my back for another five years, and that would be ace.'

All sorts of tactics were used...

Dad's agent Roger got sick of the election day 'will he win' question, it may appear.

We came across jolly couples hand in hand on the way to the polling booth and parents keen to show their children the democratic process.

I didn’t put the leaflet far enough through one letterbox and an angry man demanded I pay his heating bill. I came across someone else whose reason for voting for a particular party was that they score exam grades A- E rather than 1-5. One odd reason. And another Geordie guy who wasn't best pleased when I asked him if he was from Liverpool (luckily he was just decorating a house for a week and wasn't eligible to vote in Warrington South, so I wasn't a negative voting effect canvasser)

At the overnight count, there were whispers as the party supporters watched avidly as the counters were getting through the ballot papers. ‘Area x looking good, Dave’s pile is bigger than Labour's’. Chris and I had the role of checking that the counters put the voting slips on the correct candidate's pile.

The BBC exit poll had the constituency losing at around 3am so the knife edge continued.

(Team = me  - Liverpool Echo reporter's tweet)

In the end, Dad's retirement armchair has another 5 years to wait as he won his seat- obviously down to my in depth knowledge of the Tory policies.

I am still waiting for my bonus....