Sunday, 14 February 2010

South East Cambridgeshire is wide open

I have been actively canvassing for several weeks in the towns and villages of South East Cambridgeshire and I thought that it might be an idea to record my impressions thus far. We are probably about eleven weeks from the General Election day itself - most commentators seem to think that Thursday, the 6th of May, is the most likely, and I agree - so where are we?

My experience of active General Election campaigning goes back to 1964 when I was working with and for the greatly-respected Mr Francis Pym (later Lord Pym and now sadly deceased). At that time, party loyalty was prevalent. One often found on the doorsteps that people would say things like, 'We're all Labour here' or, 'I've always been Conservative: you can count on us.' There was also strong personal loyalty to Mr Pym and, even among his opponents, deep respect for the work that he was doing. We campaigners often found voters who were grateful to Mr Pym for something that he had done for them or for some cause he had taken up in and for the old Cambridgeshire constituency, as it then was. I believe that the same loyalty and/or respect was felt for the late Sir Harry Legge-Burke, the then MP for the Isle of Ely.                                                             

What do I find now? Why, no mention of the sitting member, no party loyalty, no respect for any of the political parties or their principal supporters, nor indeed any loyalty or respect for the institution of Parliament itself. It is quite extraordinary how old loyalties and respect, though they were sometimes tinged with a certain cynicism, have become disloyalty, disrespect and sheer derision. I have no reason to believe that the sitting member for this constituency has been on the fiddle, but his constituents believe that all MPs and all politicians are on the fiddle. The old saying that one sometimes heard on the doorsteps, 'Oh, I'm not going to vote for any of them, they're all the same,' is now said more and more often - with obvious hatred in the eyes of the interviewee - and it is very worrying for the future of our democracy. Fringe parties might benefit from this disillusionment and hatred and that would not be good, for some of those parties are crazy and others are quite nasty.

Fortunately for me, a relatively well-known person in the whole of the constituency for several decades, people not only exclude me from their tirades about politicians in general, but they also state strong support for my independent line. They commend me for being different from those others who, they think, are 'all the same.'

Consequently, my assessment is that the parties have all to play for nationally, but that they must do much more to re-establish themselves as honest and credible. And, here at home, because there is no old loyalty or respect for the parties or for individuals, South East Cambridgeshire is wide open. I am out to win and that is more than possible. Others might think otherwise, but I now have the evidence and I go along with the evidence.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.