Monday, 20 April 2015

Those flailing LibDems

Last night was the first "hustings" in Tonbridge & Malling constituency, attended by all the parliamentary candidates. This morning, a local resident emailed to say how much she had enjoyed the event and how hearing the candidates speak had helped her decide how she will vote. There was however a lovely closing line which deserves a wider audience

"Pity the table cloth didn’t reach to the floor as the audience my side was
very much aware of the Liberal Democrat woman’s flailing legs."

You couldn't make it up!

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Andrew the Mad Axe Man

The Poster Boys pulled-up outside a very grand house in one of our wealthier villages -  a substantial portico with sandstone steps leading to imposing double doors. I rang the doorbell and heard a distant clang. No reply apart from a melancholy Irish Wolfhound who peered out from within.

Most of these grand houses don't use their front doors so I trudged around the gravel to the side of the property where I found a well used kitchen doorway piled-high with Babour jackets and green Hunter wellies and rang another bell, this time answered.

A very sprightly lady who is was successfully hiding her years opened the door and greeted me with:

"You're not that mad axe murderer are you?" - which I though an odd greeting.
"No, no - not at all..." 
"Are you sure you're not a axe murderer?" 
"No, please trust me, I'm Andrew Kennedy (rummaging in my wallet for my business card). 
"Well, we saw you pull up in a van." 
"Do axe murderers drive vans?"
"Well, they might do, they have to drive something." 
"No, don't worry - I am the Conservative Party Agent, I've come to put up your garden poster."

The lady looked someone relieved and shouted over her shoulder, "Don't worry Jean, he's not the axe murderer he's from the Conservative Party."  After a long pause a mystery voice replied, "Well, in that case you'd better let him in."

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Overheard on the Phone Bank

There's a wonderful Facebook page called "Overheard in Waitrose" where shoppers post surreal snippets of conversations such as, "Tobias would you fetch mummy a packet of Waitrose Essentials Macadamia Nuts."  I am thinking of setting up a rival page; "Overheard at the Phone Bank". 

Here is tonight's gem

"Oh, you'll be in Phuket on 7 May. Do you have a postal vote. Oh, OK. You travel to Phuket six times a year? Really... that's a lot. What takes you out to Thailand so often? Oh my goodness. No No No - I don't really want to know any more."

I am pleased to report the respondent was not a Conservative pledge.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Lord Howard welcomes another defector and leads the biggest campaign team yet!

It was an honour to welcome former Party Leader Lord Howard of Lympne to Chatham and Aylesford today, who in turn welcomed into the Conservative family a former Labour activist and council candidate Jon Primmett, with the presentation of a giant membership card.

After a quick cup of tea, Lord Howard led Tracey's biggest campaign team yet - nearly 40 activists - onto the streets of Princes Park and Snodland - every single activist was "internal" (from within C&A's own boundaries) once again demonstrating the commitment and dedication of our membership when it comes to campaigning. 

One of two campaign teams working in Snodland and Princes Park today

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Our very own West Kent Poster Boy

Running West Kent Towers is somewhat akin to running a family of demanding children. "Can I have.....  I want.....   Can you just.....  I need..... Have you got..... Please may I have......."  And the worst culprit is Matt Boughton. Ever since I put him in charge of the team erecting correx boards I have had daily demands of what he needs and constant reminders that I have not yet procured anything on his list. Apparently "all I needed to do" was pop into Wicks. The truth be known, until today, I had no idea what "Wicks" was (I thought something to do with a candle) and half of the things on Matt's list were foreign words.

Wicks, apparently, is that large shed of a building opposite Chatham Railway Station where I once received a parking fine for leaving my car whilst attending Craig Mackinlay's barbecue. It's like Homebase for butch men, most of whom were wearing tight jeans and lumberjack shirts. A bit like the Kings Arms in Poland Street without the Kylie.

Matt was like a little boy in a sweet shop, "can I have four of those and two of those and...." whilst I traipsed around behind with my debit card and a look of bewilderment.  My only active participation was when he came to buy a mallet. Having used a mallet for many years to bang in mooring pins, I knew the one he was looking at to be wholly unfit for purpose. "Wouldn't you like one of those big ones?" I asked - pointing out a bright yellow thing with a 4.5kg head.  His eyes widened like Augustus Gloop spotting a giant gobstopper. 

So watch out West Kent - the best equipped Tory Poster Boy is coming to a field, tree or garden near you! 

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Have Labour given-up in Chatham & Aylesford

An interesting Tweet from Medway Labour today. 

In their own words, 

"Medway is a two horse race between Labour and the Conservatives as only the two main parties are contesting all council seats."

Labour clearly believes that failing to contest every seat means you are not in serious contention to win. 

I have therefore Tweeted Medway Labour to ask, if this is the case, have they given up on Chatham and Aylesford, as Labour have failed to field a full slate of candidates here?  Given only the Conservatives are contesting all 30 council seats, is C&A a "one horse race"?

I am awaiting their reply. 

West Kent heads East

A gaggle of Tonbridge & Malling's finest door knockers gathered in the shadow of Mickey's Diner, site of a hundred Tracey Crouch post canvassing lunches, at 9am today. This was the rendezvous for our latest Campaign Support Away Day to help friends and colleagues in target seats. Today it was the turn of my old friend Craig Mackinlay who is fighting the good fight in South Thanet. 

The convoy was delayed as Lieutenant Colonel Tugendhat was lost. This provided an open goal for Major Richard Long who delighted in asking the crowd "what's the most terrifying thing in the British Army?  An Officer with a map." 

The missing parliamentary candidate however was the least of our problems. "Where are we going?" said the former Member of Parliament for Gravesham?  Matt the Intern said he had emailed the destination postcode yesterday but this caused a degree of consternation as his Sat Nav was manufactured before the technology recognised postcodes and only worked by street name. This brought a chill to my spine as I recalled a five hour car journey to Manchester for Party Conference in the back of the former MPs car with Allan Sullivan complaining about travel sickness in the front. Jacques was on an anecdotal loop with the same stories coming around every 47 miles. By the time we reached Hilton Park Services not only had the SatNav given-up the ghost but we had heard what Ted Heath said to Dame Elaine Kellett-Bowman during the Maastrict debate at least 5 times. Suddenly the car started veering across the M6 as Jacques jabbed furiously at the Sat Nav. "What the hell are you doing?" asked a green-at-the-gills Allan Sullivan. "I have to remind it where it is so it knows where it's going" came the reply. 

Despite these glitches we arrived in Broadstairs on time and we were greeted at Campaign HQ by Craig, his Campaign Manager Nathan Gray and the lovely Marion Little. Cue hackneyed photo of candidate surrounded by happy activists holding posters. 

We split into three groups and went off to different areas. I was canvassing with Matt Boughton and we were visiting a carefully selected target group of residents so it was difficult to gauge how we were doing overall. Obviously there was UKIP support, but for every UKIP voter we found I met two or three who thought it would be a disaster for Thanet and for the country if UKIP won. In all my time in active politics I have never met so many people who were so absolutely opposed to one particular candidate. In fact, in one road by the seafront Matt and I counted eleven (out of twenty) houses with UKIP Not Welcome Here posters in their windows. 

After canvassing we headed back to base, but en route came across the UKIP Battle Bus parked illegally on double yellow lines with the local activists inside the nearby pub drinking. What really annoyed me about this was two things. Firstly, the two roads either side of the pub were almost clear of any parking restrictions so the bus could (and should) have parked legally there, but chose not to do so. Secondly, imagine a group of UKIP activists walking down a road and coming across a car with Eastern European number plates parked illegally. There would be outrage and anger at "yet another example of these people disrespecting our laws and traditions and seeking to impose their values."  But consistency has never been their defining character, has it?

Those LibDems do seem to struggle with their bar charts

A few weeks ago I highlighted this amusing LibDem Bar Char:

It appears their ineptitude is spreading, with this delight appearing today in Maidstone. Maybe the pressure is getting to them?

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

That Harrod's dress has a lot to answer for

Ring Ring....Ring Ring...

West Kent Conservative Campaign Headquarters, how can I help...?

Caller: "Now look here - this (name of candidate) did her mother design dresses for Harrods?"
Me: "I don't know Sir, why do you ask?"
"What do you mean "you don't know" you are her agent, aren't you?"
"Yes, but I have never met her Mother nor enquired about her previous employment."
"Well, I think she designed dresses for Harrods."
"Would you like her email address so you can ask her?"
"I'm 87 and deaf. And I've lost my spectacles"
"If it's important, I'll ask her for you and phone you back."
"Would you? I'd really like to know. There's a donation to the Fighting Fund in it..."
"OK, leave it with me and I will endeavour to find out"

Hi (x), a gentleman has just called who would like to know if your Mother designed dresses for Harrods? He's going to send a donation to the Fighting Fund."
"Oh! That wasn't my Mother but my husband had an Aunt who was a designer. It was probably her."

"Hello again Sir, it's Andrew Kennedy from the Conservative Party."
"Who? You will need to speak up. I'm 87 you know. And deaf."
"You asked if (X's) mother designed dresses for Harrods."
"Oh yes, and did she?"
"No, it was her husband's aunt."
"Oh dear, that's a shame."

Pregnant pause....

"May I enquire why you were interested...?"
"Yes, I bought one for my fiance. It was delightful"
"Oh, and did she like it...?"
"She was wearing it when she ran off with my tennis partner. I wish I'd never bought the bloody thing, it cost a small fortune."
"Oh I am sorry..."
"So am I. I shall send you £25.00."