Saturday 30 April 2022

The Saturday List #346 - My top ten funny moments whilst canvassing for the 2022 Council elections

The Saturday list is a little light relief at teh weekend, so I don't really do politics, This week may sound like I've broken the rule, but this isn't about politics. It's about the funny moments I hope anyone who has ever canvassed will have some resonance with. I am a bit strange as I like canvassing. I like meeting people and chatting with them. Sometimes it can be quite tragic. One guy I spoke to yesterday, his daughter had passed away that morning. He was in bits. I said sorry and said I'd come back another time. he started talking, he lives on his own. I spent half an hour chatting about life. It may not have been economical use of canvassing time, but I felt better for that and I hope he did.  I didn't even ask if he was voting for us in the end. But most times the stories are funny. Here are my best moments from the 2022 election.

1. One door I knocked on, the bloke came out and started ranting at me. I was a bit nonplussed as a Lib Dem candidate when he said "Look, just because you've got rid of Jeremy Corbyn, you can't pretend you are not full of anti semites!". As I was wearing and Orange Lib Dem rosette, I was a bit perplexed. I replied "I'm really sorry, but I'm from the Lib Dems, Jeremy Corbyn wasn't our leader". At this, the bloke squinted and looked really embarrassed. He said "Oh, I'm terribly sorry, I'm colour blind and I didn't have my glasses on". He then said "I have voted for you by post, so you needn't have knocked".

2. A lady sent our campaign a letter saying she wanted to discuss the bus service with us. I went around and knocked. I took down all of the details and then said "So will you be voting Lib Dem". She said "Don't be ridiculous, I'm UKIP, I am a personal friend of Nigel Farage". The interesting thing is she was right in her comments about the bus service, so I will be taking it forward.

3. I knocked on one house and a large, fairly scary looking bloke, bald with tattoos answered. He fixed me in a rather aggressive stare and then said "Sorry mate, I can't talk now, I'm baking a cake for my Grandma's birthday, she's 100 tomorrow". It totally threw me. I just said "Oh, sorry to bother you, wish her happy birthday from me". He then said "Yeah, your the bloke from the studio, I'll be  voting for you"

4. Another door I knocked on, the bloke answered and said "Why should I vote for you, you've done nothing in the last four years in the council, pot holes are worse than ever". I said "I didn't win". He slammed the door and said "That's it with politics, all I ever get is excuses"

5. At another door, a lady said "Why haven't the Conservatives been around, I wanted to tell them what I think of them". I said "Did they come around last time?". She said "Yes and I gave them what for". I explained that they probably had marked her down as someone not to bother. She replied "that's disgusting, I enjoy giving them a piece of my mind"

6. I knocked on the door of one rather old lady, in one of the leafier parts of Mill Hill. She looked very frail and I felt a bit guilty for bothering her, as it was clearly an effort to come to the door. I introduced myself and said "Sorry for bothering you". She said "It's not a problem, you are the first person I've seen all week. It's nice for a change of scenery". I asked if there were any issues that concerned her. Her answer took me back. She said "Actually yes there is. My next door neighbour keeps shooting the squirrels in the trees and they fall into my garden. He's very aggressive so I don't want to get into a dispute, but it really upsets me". I didn't know what to say to that. If people are too scared of a neighbour to complain it is a very difficult situation. I then knocked at the next door neighbour. A very posh and well spoken chap answered the door. I had expected a bloke looking like the cake baker, from her description. He was most polite and I then asked if there were any issues he would want us to take up with the council. He said "They should do something about the bloody squirrels. They are tree rats".  What do you do?

7. I knocked on another door and a rather posh lady answered. She said "right, lets cut to the chase, how much will you lot put my taxes up if you run the council?" I replied "I'd like to think we'd do a better job than the Conservatives have, so less than they would". She said "I knew it, you haven't got a clue!" The |Conservatives will not put it up at all. I gave her a leaflet and said "They told you that in 2018 and you are now paying over £400 a year more". She said "Typical bloody Lib Dems, always telling lies" and slammed the door. As I was walking down the door, she opened the door again and yelled "That must be an old picture on your leaflet, you look much older now" and slammed the door again. IT was the first time I've ever been double slammed.

8. In Brookfield Crescent, one chap said "I'll never vote for you lot again, you are traitors, I support Brexit!". I said "Oh, did you vote for us before?". He said "No, of course not".

9. Another nice aspect of canvassing is bumping into friends you've not seen for a while. In Engel Park, I bumped into an old workmate from BACS. He's now retired, but gave me a run down of what our ex colleagues were up to. He said Do you remember Angie? I'm seeing her on Monday" I said yes and said I got our cat off her. He said "I think everyone got a cat off her at some point". It made me chuckle.

10. And finally. As Mill Hill residents will know, my neice is also standing in the ward. She's a lovely wonderful lady and I hope one day she becomes a councillor (just not in Mill Hill this time). But our family is well known locally and I must have been asked a 100 times how she is, what she is up to, how her Mum and Dad are. I suspect that her Dad, my brother has probably mended over 1,000 people in Mill Hill's cars since he started Bunns Lane Welding in 1979 (when I started the studio). It seems everyone knows and loves him. He wasn't well last year and I've probably spent more time discussing his ailments with locals than I have spent discussing our campaign! There is one lovely Chinese chap who we both know, who always insists on showing me the Wok my brother fixed for him 20 years ago and saying what a marvellous job he did. He told me that my brother had probably mended the wok's for just about every Chinese restaurant in Barnet. He said "I'm surprised your brother isn't the fattest man in Mill Hill with all the free Chow mein's he's been given". For the record Laurie is far thinner than me.

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