Thursday, 28 May 2009

More than just hard work this time

Campaigning can hard work sometimes. In the past the most difficult part was trying to motivating people into caring about politics.

That's no longer the case. People who in the past said "Sorry, I'm not interested" when approached are now motivated enough to care about politics in a way they haven't been for many years.

Unfortunately it's almost entirely negative.

All of our activists are reporting a very unfriendly, often hostile reception with the most common reaction to their approach being "Piss off!" and occasionally the use of much stronger language.

One of those delivering leaflets was called back by an irate householder who angrily demanded "Do you see a sign saying please push excrement through my letterbox?"

Naturally this has led to some considerable ill-feeling towards our MPs in general and the party leadership in particular for placing them in this position. Several have quit with one or two saying they might come back for the general election if things have calmed down, while others are swearing they've had it with New Labour and won't be back until the "whole damn lot are expelled".

Of the few people who are prepared to talk, many simply want to vent their quite justified anger. Often asking how we have the balls to ask for their support or demanding to know why the party won't get rid of that "one eyed Scots git" and any other MP caught fiddling their expenses.

Unfortunately it's not that simple. There is no mechanism for recalling an MP once elected. Furthermore, the CLPs have no direct authority over the Parliamentary Labour Party or the NEC. Candidate selection must be from the 'Panel', a list of potential candidates approved by the NEC. The NEC also has the authority to block candidates which it has used in the past and is threatening to use again if the CLPs attempt to deselect any of the currently sitting MPs.

Attempting to point this out while campaigning would be counter-productive at best. Even the suggestion that there are still many honest, hard-working people in the Labour party who want to help local people, rather just help themselves to anything that isn't bolted down, is being met with open derision.

However the one thing most of them do agree on is the only way forward is to remove all MPs involved whether their claim was "within the rules" or not and prosecute those who made blatantly false claims or submitted improper accounts.

The only bright spot in a truly terrible week was overhearing a member of the public asking a tory activist who paid for Charles Elphicke's fancy suit.

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