It was great after a month or so of delivering newspapers to get back on the doorsteps canvassing today. Ten of us met in Snodland this morning and spent 2 hours talking to people about their local and national concerns. I love canvassing and think that senior politicians and their advisers should do more door knocking in order to find out what people are really thinking!
We didn't find anyone who confessed they were going to vote Labour next time; we did find some (including a former senior Labour activist) who were not going to vote Labour on polling day. I spoke to several public servants who had heard George Osborne and David Cameron's speeches on freezing public sector pay and both recognised that whilst they weren't over the moon at the idea of a pay freeze, they would much rather have a job in a year's time. They did also say that they believed that whichever party won the next election their pay would have been frozen so they thought the openness and honesty of David and George was refreshing.
People are still angry about the MP expenses scandal and it seems that the more affected they have been by the recession the more cross they are - and who can blame them? It certainly hasn't been Westminster's finest hour.
Immigration is still a hot topic of conversation and the perceived inequity, from housing allocation through to job seeker centres, is still prevalent. A number of people also raised with me the amount of bureaucracy in place today - as one chap said, "how many people do you need to make sure my bin gets collected"?
After the week in Manchester with the leadership sending out strong honest messages about how tough the next few years are going to be, it was good to go out in Snodland and be welcomed so warmly; one chap said when I introduced myself as a Conservative "that's alright then luv, I want to belt the other lot" - his chance will come soon enough...at the ballot box in a few months time!