Saturday, 31 May 2008

Next Stop Henley...

After the success of the Crewe and Nantwich by-election I thought that Conservative party workers and activists would need a break. Not so. The team has headed off to Henley and from what I saw today they are loving it.

At 8.55pm yesterday evening the Henley association chose Boris Johnson's successor, Cllr Dr John Howell, as their next Conservative Candidate. Overnight the printing presses rolled. By 9.45 am this morning when I arrived in Thame with a car load of helpers from the East of England we were warmly greeted by the high spirited if sleep deprived by-election team. By 10 am we were fully armed with leaflets to deliver across the constituency introducing John Howell.... and the ink was dry!

During the day I stopped to talk to residents. Lots had seen John on the local news last night, others who had missed the TV wanted to know about him. Many voters took the leaflets and immediately stuck it in their windows to display the Conservative logo, others asked for posters. Everyone I spoke to knew the by-election is coming, even though the date is not yet set. Praise for Boris amongst his old constituents was unanimous.

Each time we drove back to the office to pick up leaflets for our second and then third delivery round we kept spotting busy Conservative deliverers. And the stacks of leaflets in the back room were rapidly diminishing.

The atmosphere was, as ever, efficient but this time it was also stress free and relaxed. I had time to catch up with friends from the West Country, the West and East Midlands, other MEP candidates from across the country and old friends.

I know that Henley is supposedly a "safe" Conservative seat but anything can happen in by-elections and even here there is a huge amount to do. Volunteers are needed. If you spend a day helping in this by-election I guarantee you will enjoy it!

p.s. yes I'm still working as a local councillor and running round the East of England meeting people too... I will blog with news but do readers want to be inundated with the aftermath of important rainy drains issues that hit every councillor's inbox after downpours like last weeks?

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

A Crew to Crewe

Yesterday I joined John Flack - one of the Eastern Region's other MEP candidates and a group of others on a day trip to Crewe and Nantwich to help support the parliamentary by election.

We were detailed off to the outlying villages around Nantwich. A beautiful day in a beautiful part of the country. Canvassing a relatively new estate of mixed housing we found many Conservative supporters and many former Labour supporters who will not be voting for Gordon next week. I was left with the clear impression that Gordon Brown is right to panic - I'm glad that he has finally done something about his 10p tax rate fiasco but believe it was only political panicking forced the u-turn.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

A Great Day

A great day Boris is mayor, the Conservatives have won not just locally but right across the country and my son's village football team have today topped the under 8 league. He deserves a picture on the blog.

To cap it all the cricket season has started. I was doing my annual duty preparing the teams quintisentially English Cricket Tea today. In fact the only downside of today was having to explain to the team that we have to increase the tea budget. Credit crunch hits cricket.

A lot of this week's election result has been due to the economic reality facing voters - whilst I celebrate great election victories with all my Conservative friends I know we would rather have a booming economy.

Conservative Councillors across the country and Boris will be facing the frontline difficulties of providing public services in a falling economy with falling revenues. It is tough.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Election Day

One minor election count that might be worth watching tonight is Cambridge City. The Conservatives don't currently hold a single seat in Cambridge or Oxford - winning back just one seat in the very Liberal Democrat dominated Cambridge would be a major morale boost. Last year we were within just 18 votes in one ward. I've been canvasing there this week and helping to deliver early morning reminder slips today. The doorstep reception to Conservatives is positive - but it's too close to call and the weather matters!