North Shropshire’s Helen Morgan talks to LDV about the campaign

Yesterday, I spent half-a-hour talking to the Lib Dem candidate for North Shropshire, Helen Morgan.

In this first of two articles, Helen tells us how the campaign is going with just two weeks to go. Sleaze is not a big topic on the doorsteps but trust in politicians is very low. People in Shropshire are fed up with politicians who appear for a photo call during an election but don’t try to solve local problems in between. Helen wants to help restore that trust.

The Conservative vote is very soft. A lot of people are thinking about switching their votes, or maybe even not voting at all, because they are disillusioned with the way they’ve been treated over many decades by their Conservative representatives. A lot of people say that it’s time for a change in North Shropshire.

The canvassing of the postal voters has given really good results:

We can win if we get enough boots on the ground to come and put the leaflets through the door.

Public trust

Public trust in politicians is unbelievably low. Just 15% of the British public trust politicians to tell the truth. That’s pretty awful. Why on earth do you want to go into politics?

I think it’s partly because of that. I think when you been parish councillor, and you’ve helped people out because they’ve got no way of getting their prescription during COVID, you realise that what we need is people who are going to listen and take care of their communities and not pursue a classic political agenda when it’s more about campaigning on issues and helping people in the community. That’s why I want to do it.

In terms of public trust, overall, I think on the doorstep, there is a there is a sense that that trust being eroded. A lot of people are saying that they’re not going to vote and there is a problem with that. But if we can convince people that this is about listening to the community and fighting their corner, I think we can do something to restore that.

Doorstep reaction

You’ve had a huge team across northern towns and villages knocking on doors. What sort of reaction are you getting?

The general reaction is that the Conservative vote is very soft. This is a place that’s previously been sixty per cent Conservative, so you would expect to be finding a Conservative voter behind six out of ten doors. That really isn’t the case. A lot of people are saying that they feel that it’s time to send a message that it’s time for a change in North Shropshire. That’s come up quite a lot.

The sense of being taken for granted is really strong. Yesterday, we were out with a Guardian journalist canvassing. The last door we knocked on, the gentleman had already voted Conservative [postal vote] but said he was just sick of seeing his MP having a photo call at election time and then taking no notice of the concerns that people had raised in the intervening period. There’s definitely a sense of disquiet here. And, I would say, concern about government competence.

What’s coming up on the doorstep is a lot of people thinking about switching their votes, or maybe even not voting at all, because they are disillusioned with the way they’ve been treated over the many decades they have been represented by a Conservative here.

Two weeks to go

Let’s conclude by talking about how the campaign is going. We have exactly two weeks ago. Are we going to win it?

I think we can win it. I wouldn’t say we’re going to win it. But I think if we get enough people here, we can win it. The canvassing of the postal voters has given us some really good results. I know they were confidential but they’ve been leaked so we can talk about that. We need to persuade Labour voters and Green voters to lend us their votes. And that’s very critical. And we need to convince some of the Conservative voters that we can make a difference and that we will fight their corner.

With that added help, I think we can win if we get enough boots on the ground to come and put the leaflets through the door.

* Andy Boddington is a Lib Dem councillor in Shropshire. He blogs at andybodders.co.uk. He is Thursday editor of Lib Dem Voice.

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