Opinion: So what’s it really like on the doorsteps?

A week after nominations closed for the Borough council elections, what’s the reception like on the doorsteps here in Stockton?

To be honest, it’s a bit mixed. In wards where we have Liberal Democrat councillors, the reception is generally good. There are always some people who “don’t do politics”, and that hasn’t changed. There are some who were always going to vote for one of the other parties, and that hasn’t changed. There are many who support us, either because they’re committed Lib Dems (not a huge number of them) or because they know that we do a good job as councillors (lots of people in that category). And that hasn’t changed either.

We have people who are upset at the tuition fees issue (who isn’t?) or at the VAT rise or the Health Service changes or the cuts in public spending. But mostly they say something like “but I know that’s not your fault and you always do a good job so I’ll be voting for you for the council”.

It’s quite touching to knock on a door and have someone tell you that the first stranger to knock on her door when she moved into the estate years ago was your fellow councillor and she’s never forgotten it. The fact that he took time to knock on doors, and take round a leaflet with useful phone numbers on it, means that she’s voted for him ever since.

In other wards, where we haven’t got Lib Dem councillors, it’s more of an uphill struggle. Although many people aren’t happy with the service they get from the present incumbent, they’re not convinced that a Lib Dem will be any better. But, having said that, even in our worst areas, there are more people who are polite and willing to talk than not. Several people say that at least we’ve knocked on the door and that’s more than the other parties do.

So what will the result look like on May 6th? Well, I’m not going to tempt providence and predict numbers. But I will say that I don’t expect any nasty surprises. One thing about knocking on doors and listening to people is that you know what they’re feeling, even if it’s hurt and puzzled by the national picture. You don’t get nasty surprises if you listen to the residents and that’s what frontline Lib Dems have always been good at.

Maureen Rigg blogs at Maureen Rigg’s Blog

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This entry was posted in Op-eds.


  • No nasty surprises? I predict you will lose at least a third of the seats you are defending.

  • I’ve been doing a lot of canvassing (for the Lib Dem’s) recently and the reception has been quite positive.

    One thing that I have noticed is that a fair few people have no idea of the good things that we are achieving.

    So all I would add is that I think we need to get out there and sing our praises as much as possible. Nobody else will!

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