“No I won’t vote for you,” the man growled as he began to shut the door in my face.
“Why…” I began to say.
“In a word,” he snarled, “Jewellery Tax.”
And the door was slammed shut. I was rather glad.
It was the last doorstep of the day and overall it had been a good afternoon. I’d met a lot of retired people, mothers at home for half-term and home workers. And a good number had pledged their votes.
The evening was spent with Melissa putting my Focus newsletter together. It was rather fun. I’d gathered a fair few vox pops from canvassing. They looked great as call-outs. It helped that Libbyshire council leader John Hyde had said a number of outrageous things of late. He is proving a very rich source of quotes. I only wish my rival Mad Max was the same. When he speaks at meetings or makes a press comment, his words are awkwardly contorted, burdened with double negatives and sleepily passive. I think he feels it makes him sound intelligent!
Still the Focus looked good. It included plenty of local photos and shots of me – Melissa is very keen to emphasis my (relative) youth. In the early hours of the morning, we emailed it to the printer and posted it on my blog. All in all, it had been good night’s work.
The next day was spent door knocking. It’s become second nature now and I really rather enjoy it. The only problem is the biting east wind!
As the evening drew dark, I popped into the Market Tavern to warm myself over a mug of tea. My heart sank when I met Max at the bar.
“I’ve been looking at your website,” he said with more than a touch of arrogance. He then launched into a rant about the Focus we had worked up the night before. I listened for a short while in despair until I realised why he was so bothered about it. He was rattled because it was much better than the ‘In Touch’ newsletter he and his cronies put out. That just boasted the achievements of Libbyshire Council and said little about the candidate. It gives the impression that the Tory candidates are clones not individuals. Nevertheless, his comments had irked me.
As I made my excuses and moved away from Max, he called out so that all the bar could hear. “Anyway. You haven’t got a hope. You are far too young and inexperienced to be a councillor. People will realise that.”
Not for the first time, I was furious with Max. But I had learnt that responding was usually useless. He was always spoiling for a fight, the dirtier the better.
As I walked home with Mel, I reflected that I needed to get a tougher skin if I was to thrive in the world of local politics. Still, I was looking forward to another week knocking on doors and then I get a weekend away.
A week on Friday, I’m off to Brighton for the Spring Conference. That will be a whole new experience. I look forward to seeing you there.
* Libby Local is based on real events. Details have been changed to protect the innocent and disguise the guilty. Libby’s passion and determination, along with her angst and frustration, are set to be a regular feature of Lib Dem Voice as the May 2013 elections approach. You can catch up with all Libby Local's episodes to date by clicking here.