It’s less than a week until the Mayoral election and I’ll be going out canvassing in Kentish Town tomorrow. I also intend to leaflet the tube station on Monday morning and get out there as much as I can until polling day. I’ll be out on Thursday night, knocking on doors, trying to get as many people out to vote for Ken as I can. I really want him to win and know that the more we can do at grassroots level, the more chance we have. It’s about getting out the core vote and convincing people to get off their bottoms and drag themselves to the polling stations.
It’s the only way.
Throughout this campaign, Ken and the Labour campaign have been consistently smeared in the papers. It’s not just Gilligan – even papers like the Guardian have published articles littered with weasel words. It seems the only solution is literally to take to the streets; any positive poll results (not that I believe the polls) seem to have come in the wake of a major leafleting offensive.
It reminds me of this bright and breezy TV commercial from the 90s:
For those of you who need reminding, Daz was the Cinderella of washing powder; the cheap and cheerful brand that languished behind big hitters like Persil and Ariel. Back in the 1990s, the marketing men came up with a clever solution – take the product (plus cheeky chappie Shane Ritchie) to the punters and get them on side on the doorstep. Other celebs included Michael Barrymore, Danny Baker and somewhat inexplicably Gazza..
I see canvassing as a kind of doorstep challenge. You have a short period of time to engage the voter and convince them that your brand is worth a go. Can you sell your party effectively enough to make the voter buy your product?
I’ve campaigned for Labour a few times now – most notably in the Highgate by-election last year, where an army of volunteers stormed the doorsteps of the ward in a bid to get local councillor Sally Gimson elected.
The Labour Party is a fairly awesome machine when it wants to be; in addition to local party members, activists from all over London joined in to make sure Sally was picked. I’ve seen some pretty impressive work going on for Ken – props to local organizer Yvonne Kay, who’s only about 12 but seems to have her head well and truly screwed on.
I’ll stop my Labour love-in as some of you will be thinking YUK by now. I guess what I’m trying to do is emphasize the importance of face to face contact, of getting out there and talking to people, explaining just why they should vote for your lot rather than the other guy. I love social media and would rather cut off my own leg than unsubscribe from Facebook – even though I know it is evil and probably selling personal information to the most undesirable sources. Zuckerberg has got rich from my pathetic neediness – so sue me already!
However, although I may get my kicks tap-tapping away at a key board – posting my self aggrandizing “status updates”, posting links to the latest Owen Jones article
or scrapping with trolls, the fact is that social media is a poor relation to actually showing up on a voter’s doorstep and revealing that you and your party are prepared to go out in the rain because you want them to put their cross against your candidate’s name. Political parties may give the impression of being the playthings of lobbyists or vested interests, but when it’s election time, the voters are in charge. It’s called democracy, in case you were wondering.
If you are of the anti Boris persuasion, check this out:
And have a look at this – it’s rather fun:
See you on the doorsteps. And no, I won’t be dressed as Shane Ritchie 🙂