Thursday March 31st 1988

Canvassing during the morning, taking Debbie horse-riding this afternoon and taking a rest to catch up this evening as IRA supporters and the British Government face charges of ‘execution’ and there are  protests in Israel by journalists and photographers, as the government’s clampdown on the occupied territories continues  and The Gulf War is continuing as the oil tanker, The Haven, was shelled and set on fire.

Had a rather disturbed night, feeling warm after the outside exertions and so was awake very early this morning.  Lay in bed after drinking my morning tea for a long while, before Di got me up again to get showered and shaved. Breakfast of croissants today. I need not worry too much about diet, as I have lost some weight and am now down to just 13 stones. This is the consequence of my canvassing. Today was fine and sunny to start with, though cold as well. I started reading the paper and then sorted my office out and copied across the supporters from the canvass sheets to the wall chart; yellow for us, red for Labour and blue for Tory. Out quickly to do my ducks and doves and then I started canvassing for the morning. Started in Mill Lane, doing a house that I had missed the other day, and then went down the Hayling Walk and met a number of people in the houses down the private road. Then walked along to Windmill Cottage and waited patiently as the dogs barked and until the lady came out and I chatted to her. Home to lunch and then back to it this afternoon. Then my target was the more affluent closes to the north of the village. I found that a good technique is to chat to the kids, home on school holidays, finding out which householders were at home and that allowed me to save the time knocking doors for those who were there, getting a reasonable, if scattered, coverage.

Wednesday 30th March 1988

Another election canvassing day and then taking Vera Ruff to the village hall this evening where some 50-odd newer senior residents attended and listened avidly to my talk on the History of Little Paxton and will now vote for me! British Aerospace are making a £160M loss and now being given British Leyland Cars for a song and the Labour Party starts a leadership election

A very busy day. Awoke early after a night punctuated by the needs of my bladder and the thoughts of a mind full of this local election campaign. To breakfast and then the job of cleaning up my office from last night. This took until the time that Michael Pope arrived and it was time to organise the canvass. Francis and Rob Williams could not come today again, due to his back and their niece’s visit. Michael and I ‘did’ the High Street yesterday, but today tackled the Park Avenue/Way etc; bungalows that yielded quite a few people in. Back at lunchtime and then I waited for the arrival of the lady journalist from the Town Crier. She had phoned earlier and so we went to lunch at the Southoe Bell and a long chat on my policies. Then we did a few photo shots around Southoe and Paxton, before I had to get back for my afternoon programme. Had to collect Mrs Vera Ruff from her house and brief her on how to get the older ones to fill in their postal vote forms. Then down to the village hall and Mrs Ruff was very nervous of all of their company.

Tuesday 29th March 1988

Canvassing with colleagues on a dry but breezy and chilly day after identifying which roads were older people in bungalows likely to be in on a weekday and then calling back after dark to erect flag boards. I included Daniella on a Reliant trip to St Neots today and she was thrilled. The Tories in trouble over their new benefits system where some elderly, sick and poorer people are worse off

Slept well and was awake fairly early. Down to a breakfast of boiled egg, which had got a bit hard by that time – then to my office to start getting the place ready for this morning’s canvassing. Diana caught the bus to Cambridge and I then used the car to drive around the village, identifying those properties that are bungalows and occupied during the day. Then, later, I met Mike Pope and Frances Williams and got them started on their rounds, whilst I waited in vain for Joe Wilcox. As he did not turn up, I took on one canvass myself and left Frances and Mike to do their own alone. We concentrated on likely places for daytime occupants and moved quite well through them. At lunchtime, I made a few phone calls and then took it easier this afternoon, dealing with my mail and trying to clear the desks of papers.

Monday 28th March 1988

A full day of election meetings, organisation and canvassing securing great support from almost all of the people we visited with press publicity forthcoming as Israel forestall annual ‘Land day’ demonstrations by Palestinians deprived of their seized land and the RCN reaffirm (by a 4 to 1 majority) their non-striking policy, which is a tribute to their moderation after being so provoked.

Awoke very early with my mind full of the arrangements for the first day’s canvassing. Went downstairs early and in my pyjamas to write up my letter of objection to the proposed development of Little Paxton, which I typed on two pages of A4. Then a quick shower and over to Michael Pope’s by car to drop off this draft for him to look at. A brief breakfast and then I carried on getting the room ready and was working on the final press release drafts when the door bell went and Frances and another canvasser arrived. Sat with them for 15 mins drinking coffee and briefing them on the canvassing arrangements and then I bid them goodbye and set off in the Range Rover with the family on board. Daniel to Southoe to deliver leaflets there, then the girls to St Neots to do their shopping. I then returned to complete my press releases and rushed off to St Neots to deliver them, posting the one for the Town Crier as they had no local office.