Every so often, people ask me what exactly being an electoral candidate consists of. The answer is, of course, that it changes pretty much every day, depending on what issue you are focusing on, what person you are talking to, and when in the electoral cycle you happen to be. I thought it might be interesting to give you a snapshot of my weekend though....as a small illustration of the kind of thing I've been getting up to.
Doorknocking on a council estate in Stoke Newington. Some really shocking conditions, including a bathroom floor that was absolutely full of damp and mould - but also some really good conversations with people who clearly want to improve their local environment. The usual rigmarole of spending ages trying to find someone willing to let me into the block, but then no one is hostile...it's very rare to find anyone who is actively rude to a Green Party canvasser, unlike those from the main parties. Passed the casework issues onto Mischa Borris, our existing Green Party councillor for Clissold, who starts working on getting people's issues dealt with.
Fireworks Night party at Hawksley Court Estate. I always feel a bit funny about turning up to things like this in my role as a candidate - you never like to impose. However, Hawksley Court is actually opposite my house, so this is my local fireworks display! It's good fun, particularly since we brought loads of sparklers, and we get to meet loads of people. Such an impressive event, complete with food and drink in the Community Hall, and loads of happy kids having a good time. Great to see the local community getting together.
Behold, more doorknocking. This time on a residential street, complete with lots and lots of HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation), with dreaded entryphones. I never like them, because its so hard to tell who lives where, and to get an answer. Despite this, I have a number of good conversations, and pick up some more casework for the ever-hard-working Mischa.
Attend a meeting at the Day-Mer Community Centre on Howard Road, which is dedicated to providing opportunity and community to the Turkish/Kurdish community in Stoke Newington and further afield. The meeting is hosted by Day-Mer Youth, catalysed by the recent tragic shootings on Howard Road, and discusses the problems of youth unemployment, community disintegration and crime. Hackney Solidarity Network are there too, and talk about the need for different communities in Hackney to forge links together and recognise that their common problems have common solutions. I totally agree!
Leafletting - I never like to doorknock on a Sunday morning, it doesn't go down well for perfectly understandable reasons. So I go out and leaflet instead, with our latest newsletter, complete with story about our opposition to NHS privatisation. You never know how many people read them, but its a major way of getting the message out there....and we put thousands out in each ward, every few months. Not to mention personal letters, leaflets about specific events, and all sorts of other stuff.
I went along to the excellent Butterfield Green Community Orchard, to take part in their monthly gardening event. Good to get a different kind of exercise than walking up and down towerblock stairs, and really good to help out with such an inspiring example of urban regeneration. Lots of weeds were pulled, cups of tea drunk, and conversations had. I'd strongly recommend going along next time, if you're local!
I'm here at home...updating my blog, checking my email...and watching (I have to admit it) Die Hard 4.0 at the same time. Who can resist a film featuring the line "Dude, you just killed a helicopter with a car!".