Caron’s Brecon Diary 3

The reason you are getting this today and not yesterday is that I came across a problem faced by many voters in rural Wales – no wifi and not even a 4G signal. A good job that Jane Dodds is campaigning for better connectivity.

Saturday started with a quick coffee with Jane. We did film an interview, but for some reason I can’t upload it so I will have to find someone clever to help me. It looks amazing on my phone, though.

Jane also caught up with Margaret, at her first by-election after 60 years in the party and who had spent Friday in the pouring rain delivering letters to postal voters in Rhayader.

Saturday was a bit dreich, as we Scots would say. Not as rainy as Friday but grey and damp. However there was some optimism in the Llandrindod HQ…

Actually, by the end of the day, the sun was shining, so it wasn’t misplaced.

I then went out with Jane, her aide Benny, John Dryden from Sheffield, Wendy Chamberlain, our wonderful PPC for the most marginal seat in the country, North East Fife, her organiser Celyn and the Chair of Scottish Lib Dem Women Ruth McElroy to canvass some gloriously beautiful villages.

Jane is so keen to get out to these places. She wants them to feel that they have been listened to and that she has made the effort to get there. She will continue to do that if she is elected as an MP. We started off in Llanbister and then headed to Felindre and Beguildy.

These conversations with voters matter so much. I spoke to a so many people over the weekend who were disposed to voting for Jane but there was a barrier in the way. For example, one man was concerned that stopping Brexit wasn’t democratic, even though he wanted that to happen. When I explained how we would do it through a People’s Vote, that barrier to him voting for Jane was removed. So we need to speak to as many people as possible to ensure that we get her over the line.

Apparently on Saturday, we knocked on a door every 11 seconds, but even that impressive rate isn’t enough to get round everyone – especially when there are some areas where my first three conversations took around 2500 steps because of the distance between the houses. And we really got an idea of how large this constituency is. It takes 45 minutes to drive from Llandrindod south to Brecon and we were about 30 minutes north of Llandrindod.

This really is one of these drop everything and head to help Jane if it is humanly possible for you to do so.

Jane is running a fantastic campaign and people were saying how they liked that she was fighting on so many local issues beyond Brexit. In fact, she was interviewed by Sky News last week and spoke to a voter who said he supported Brexit but was still voting for Jane because he knew she would fight for the local issues that nobody else was talking about.

This is a really important moment for our country. A win for Jane in this by-election is another vote in Parliament against the chaos of Brexit. It’s a chance to usher in the kinder and fairer politics she keeps talking about. Everyone who cares about these things, whether they are Lib Dem members or not, should help her in whatever way that they can.

After a delicious lunch (hummus, avocado and tomato relish sandwich) in the Herb Garden Community Cafe in Llandrindod Wells, Team Scotland headed back out to New Radnor, a beautiful village in the north eastern part of the constituency. The weather by this stage was too showery to go without a jacket but too hot to be comfortable in one. But we got a great response on the doorsteps. People were telling us not only that they were voting for Jane but that they were doing so with huge amounts of enthusiasm.

We went from there to the tiny village of Kinnerton and from there we headed to Brecon for the Lib Dem Pint with Sheila Ritchie MEP. I felt a pang of emotion as I realised that we were in the village of Kington, Herefordshire. A friend who inspired me so much when I first joined the party lived here. She went back to the Labour Party in 1986 but came back to us because she was such a passionate pro-European. Had she stayed well, I’m sure she would have thrown herself into Jane’s campaign, but, sadly, she died last month.

We caught up with Sheila and Jane for a quick photo.

We pre-loaded for that, at Jane’s recommendation, in the Brecon Tap, a pub as famous for its pies as for its beer.

I had the Lamb and Fennel. I have to say that I didn’t really taste the fennel, but I didn’t care because it was absolutely wonderful. The meat was so soft and tender and sweet and delicious. Others had the creamy beef and peppercorn and the chicken, leek and bacon.

It was there that another member of the LDV Team, Mark Valladares, who was also up over the weekend, found us. It was great to catch up, especially with his wife Ros Scott, who I hadn’t seen for way too long.

The Lib Dem Pint was brilliant. Sheila spoke about her first few weeks in the European Parliament and how it was Lib Dem MEPs who were standing up for human rights and international co-operation and how important it was that we win this by-election in order for them to keep doing so. She encouraged us to go home and tell everyone to come and help Jane win.

It felt like a much more sedate night in the Conference bar. It was all over by 10, though, as we were all tired and had to get back to various parts of this large constituency.

If it is humanly possible for you to do so, please get yourself to Brecon. It is so worth dropping everything to be a part of this vibrant, friendly, warm campaign that is so incredibly important for the future of our country.

If you can’t go, donate or make phone calls from home. But they only have a small proportion of phone numbers. Your presence on the ground could make the difference and be good for you, too. I felt knackered before I went there and I expected to feel more knackered when I came home. Though I am physically exhausted and aching,  the experience has been incredibly restorative and given me back some of my mojo which has been absent in recent weeks. So, it’s a win-win.

 

 

 

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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2 Comments

  • Mick Taylor 22nd Jul '19 - 5:21pm

    Will be there for 3 days next week

  • I’ve been ( met Caron ) and back again next week. I can only echo Caron, Try VERY hard to get there … this can be a great victory … but not a given. Also we are getting Plaid, Green and non party support … please try to visit. PS donate as well this type of campaign costs ALOT of money 🙂

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