I've never really considered doing a marathon. 26+ miles at one go seems impossible. Actually the idea of me running more than several hundred yards at one go seems inadvisable. Yet over the last few weeks I suspect I've actually walked several marathons. I've been helping our local Conservative candidate with canvassing and leaflet delivery. One very small cog in one very large wheel, but with time to spare I felt I had to do my bit. Like Spike Milligan's account of the war "Adolf Hitler, my part in his downfall" I'd hope a better title for this blog would be "Gordon Brown, my part in his downfall". However we'll have to wait another week to find out whether my efforts have all been worthwhile. I've had an enormous grin on my face these last couple of days however since Gordon's brilliant executed own goal in Rochdale.
Back to my marathons. I volunteered to deliver a couple of leaflets in our village and two neighbouring villages - about 1,500 houses. Mrs Troy and Troy Junior have helped out although Troy Junior seems to always get an urgent toilet break ("No.... I need a pooh!") when we are furthest away from home. It is amazing how quiet the villages are during the day with very few people at home, or out and about. One day, our candidate came to help out but the heavens opened and we got soaked. He came back to our home and we had a good chat whilst he dried out. Mrs Troy said afterwards that if our candidate could talk to everyone in their living room for 30 minutes then he would win by a landslide. He's such a nice guy! I suspect though that he'd have to start now to get round everywhere before the next election.
I've also helped out by assisting in the canvassing. I've marshalled up to five people as they've gone door to door whilst I've manned the clipboard recording their feedback of the voter's intention. We talk in code like "She's a C" which I've recorded as a positive result. I suspect Gordon Brown often says much the same thing about members of the public he meets, even when they are not Conservative.
It's not easy trying to control and record five canvassers. Their pace varies so much as some find no one home, so quickly deliver a "sorry we missed you card" before moving swiftly on. Others find themselves in conversation for several minutes. Meanwhile I'm scurrying along ahead to ensure canvassers don't knock on doors that have only moments earlier have been knocked by someone else. Then the waylaid canvasser catches up "they are Against at number 74" by which time I'm on a different canvas sheet on the next road. In villages where the houses have names rather than numbers it is actually much more tricky. The electoral rolls rarely seem to list the house names in the same order they appear on the road. I suspect I've done a good job though as they now always offer me the clipboard. I prefer this explanation to the alternative - that they don't want me to meet people!
Some people walking in the street actually seek us out with "can I have a poster for my window" or "good luck, you've got my vote". Always nicely spoken, nicely dressed people. Others, often passing in tatty old cars, put up their middle finger or yell out an obscenity. They don't seem to mind us paying our taxes to support them though.
I suspect most of the public and perhaps many of my readers are already getting election fatigue. Have you been watching the TV debates? Are you sick of seeing "how these polls would result in the number of seats in Parliament" graphics on every news programme?
That's why I've only done one blog posting on the election. I couldn't ignore it but one's enough.
I'll leave you though with a very sobering thought. The task facing the next Government is truly horrendous. The Conservatives always, at some stage, have to come in to pick up the pieces of failed Labour regimes. Some of the economic vandalism this time though is completely unreversable - the Nation's gold reserves sold off at rock-bottom prices, the destruction of the private sector pensions, our EU rebate thrown away. It will take at least a generation to repair the deficit and control the enormous debt burden. In reality, the position may possibly be already irretrivable - like Greece. The Governor of the Bank of England is reported as saying in the US that whoever comes in will have to make such difficult and unpleasant economic decisions that they will make themselves so unpopular that they'll be unelectable for a generation. That doesn't sound a great prize to win come next Thursday. There would be some irony if Gordon, perhaps with his new friend "I agree with Nick", had to stay and clear up his mess. But that wouldn't actually happen, it would be the IMF and our international creditors calling all the shots.
[I realise that some readers may wholeheartedly disagree with some of the sentiments expressed here. Let's not fall out but rather be thankful we live in a democracy where we can all freely express our views. Not just the sound ones expressed above but also others!!!!]