Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cold Labour

How odd. I was cold called by the Labour Party earlier today and had an hour long conversation with someone who, theoretically, was meant to be persuading me to vote for his lot.

Take care your not caught by a spin doctorThe strange thing was this guy didn't seem too keen on his own party. He started off asking how I voted last time and I answered truthfully (of course) "Green" to which he responded "Oh, we're terrible on the environment." Was this some sort of oh so clever reverse psychology perhaps?

He followed this up with a discussion on the local Labour candidate, whose name he got wrong, and who he didn't seem to know anything about.

We then had a great discussion on the NHS where he said how mad the government had been to allow, what amounted to such a small amount of money in deficits, to translate into closures and redundancies of medical staff up and down the country. He asked me to explain to him how such a thing could happen - and I did my best.

Then the war - when he started ranting at me about how disgusting it was that Ministers had not admitted to the human cost that their "inept and evil" policy had caused in the Middle East. I agreed, it would be nice if someone held up their hands and said they were wrong - but they're more interested in their careers than they are in the human lives that have been lost.

He then asked me if he thought things would get better under Brown. I suggested that some people thought Brown might be better because he's carefully kept his mouth shut the last ten years, so whilst he's seen as a substantial figure, he's not closely associated with any of the policies of this government that actually make people so angry. He agreed, adding Brown was really a complete unknown and he had no idea what any of his policies were.

We got back on to the environment where, to be fair, he made a bit of a stab at defending the government by saying they'd commisioned the Stern Report. I said I was glad all the parties were taking the environment seriously as a serious electoral issue, but wondered whether their pure taxation solutions were fit for purpose and whether they were genuinely commited to actually tackling a problem of this kind of scale.

He doubted it and when we rang off he said he'd think about voting Green, as he had done until '97. Have I been the victim of an extremely funny practical joke do you think?


Anonymous said...

It was me!

No, but really. It does sound incredibly unprofessional. Did it sound like a call centre, with the chatter of other callers going on in the background?

There's one word for Brown; prudence. Says it all really. That and his interest in helping the needy. He does however have his flip side (& don't we all)... his love of America. I think he is drawn to their ability/strength to come up with new policy ideas/ways of doing things. Edinburgh is so dark & gothic in style I suppose the newness and glitz of the new world has got him all starry eyed!



Jack Ray said...

I'm 23, and I've never been cold called, canvassed or otherwise personally approached for my vote. Best I've ever had was a leaflet.

Is that normal?

a very public sociologist said...

Not at all Jack. When our lot in Stoke Socialist Party go out canvassing we often hear we're the only ones that bother. Last year one woman told me she'd lived in the ward 13 years and not once had she seen a Labour candidate.

Jim Jay said...

Matt: there were sounds in the background, although he said he was from Cambridge so it may have been round someone's house perhaps?

Jack. I think AVPS meant to say that IS normal. That call was the first I'd heard from Labour since the election bar a general leaflet. I've had a message from my (lib dem) MP in that time.

As it is the Green target ward in the last months there's been three leaflets and an attempt to call on everyone in the ward, but if I lived a few streets over I wouldn't have had that either.

Jack Ray said...

was it always normal? I have a dim recollection of a Lib Dem leaning over the garden fence to talk my mum when I was quite little, but nothing since. I even used to live opposite a polling station in Leamington Spa, and the Labour canvassers didn't even cross the road to knock on my door!

Jim Jay said...

I think there's two things to say on whether it was ever normal. Go back fifty years and political activity was higher and more rooted in the workplaces and communities.

Second it's always been the case in electoral politics in the UK that some areas are key battle grounds with higher than average activity and other areas are seen as sure things for one party of another and have tended to see a minimal level of political activity.

Do you live in a ward / constitutency that is hotly contested or is it safe for one party or antother?

Jack Ray said...

I do now, A Lib Dem ward in Central Manchester.

The Sentinel said...

I noticed the photo of Alastair Campbell; what a sinister man.

I just love the way this Government gets away with calling a state paid official liar and cover up merchant a 'spin doctor.'