Adrenaline is potent stuff. Your body produces it to help you through high-stress situations. When it’s coursing through your veins, you can keep going for days, weeks even, as anyone who’s ever fought an election campaign will know. I think I had 15 hours sleep in the 5 days before the 1997 election. Of course, the presence of such a powerful substance in your system doesn’t make sleep come easily. That’s why so many of our team on the ground in Eastleigh were still awake last night when they were going to have to get up well before the crack of dawn. I felt a bit like Wee Willie Winkie, hunting them down on social networks and shouting at them. “Hot water bottle, cocoa, bed. NOW.”
I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of anyone in our party than I am of the magnificent Eastleigh campaign team. They’ve delivered a brilliant campaign. Think about what it takes to write and produce that many leaflets, to enthuse people to come down in their hundreds to deliver them, to make sure the technology does what it needs to to keep the phone banks going and the all-important data up to date, to make sure all these VIPs have something useful to do, providing the candidate with a programme that keeps him busy and happy.
I also want to remember those who, for years, have built up such a solid foundation in Eastleigh, those councillors and their teams who are clearly so well loved by their constituents. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve been told by voters over the phone what their local Liberal Democrat councillor has done for them.
The best way the rest of us can pay tribute to those years of solid work and the last 3 weeks of frenetic effort is to help them today. Let’s make sure we get every single vote out for Mike Thornton today. If you can’t get to Eastleigh in person, you can still help. The phone banks have now opened. Please spend every moment you can spare making calls to Eastleigh voters today. It’s really easy. Just click here for instructions.
There are few things in life better than being part of a winning by-election campaign but have in your mind with every call you make that you are saying thank you to a terrific bunch of people, too. Stephen and Sarah, the stalwarts of front of house. Keeping 400 volunteers at once busy is no mean feat and they’ve had to do that some days. Katy who’s organised the visits and made sure our VIPs not only meet voters but spend time thanking helpers too. Adam, Greg, Ruaraidh who’ve risked life and limb to put spectacular posters and banners up. Agent Keith and the wonderful Eastleigh councillors. Richard and Dave, the Phone Bank Fairies. Austin and all the people who have been enthusing us all to get there, donate money and phone. Everyone who has written leaflets and got them printed, folded and stuffed. They have delivered a phenomenal amount of work and we owe them.
Those are personal reasons to help our friends. Of course, by electing Mike Thornton, Eastleigh would have a brilliant local MP who would stand up for the area, oppose Conservative gravel pits, preserve the green spaces between villages and fight for a fairer tax system. The Conservative candidate does not share our values of fairness and equality. We can’t let her win.
What are you waiting for? Pick up that phone now…
* Caron Lindsay is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings