LOCAL ELECTIONS 2018: The First 5 Days Of My Election Campaign
My campaign has started quite positively. I’m pretty happy with my campaign page on Facebook and my leafleting is underway. Due to time constraints and a lack of activists, I was forced to deliver old generic leaflets to start with. I have since received personalised leaflets, as I have been collaborating with Karen Waddicar, a much more experienced Kipper than myself. As I have leafleted half of Gleadless Valley with the generic leaflets before, I decided to start with the other half.
On day 1 of leafleting, I single-handedly covered the entire area designated OD Herdings, with the exception of flats that have inaccessible letterboxes. Including walking to my starting point and home from my finishing point, it took me 7 hours.
The most negative thing that happened on this first excursion was a man who saw me coming through his window opened his door, firmly said “No!” and closed the door. Whenever a resident was outside, I offered a leaflet to them directly. Only 2 people refused them and they both did so politely.
On the other hand, I was warmly greeted by a good few residents. The most memorable was a nice old woman, lacking in mobility, who asked me to retrieve 2 photos from her wheelie bin that she must have thrown away by mistake. She had been attempting to reach them with one of those grabber claw contraptions but she was struggling. I gladly helped her, as it only took a minute of my time and saved her an indeterminate period of effort. She was very appreciative and said, “I hope you get lots of votes.” I inadvertently scared a different old woman in her garden, by approaching her from behind, which is an error I will not repeat. She was very gracious when I apologised.
At no point did I receive insults or accusations of racism, so I am extremely pleased with how the day progressed overall.
Day 2 unfolded disastrously! The 3 districts I had still never leafleted were further away and obviously unfamiliar to me. I chose OF Meersbrook. I had planned a route utilising Google maps and I endeavoured to follow it.
Alas, the stupid internet tool got me stuck on Lees Hall golf course. I’m used to walking through parks so I traversed the course looking for a way out on the side closest to Meersbrook. There was not a convenient exit. After following half of the perimeter and conversing with an employee, I was forced to partially backtrack to an open gate that was in the direction of where I had entered. The misadventure cost me a considerable delay.
Then to a public footpath in some woods. I wandered almost aimlessly, indecisive about which way to go more than once and having to negotiate paths that were extremely muddy. I eventually found my way to exactly where I wanted to be – the corner of OF next to some allotments. By this time the light rain was sporadically falling, which continued throughout the day. Incensed by the detrimental circumstances in which I had found myself, I persevered with grim determination.
“I was met with a few polite refusals this time, but they were still outnumbered by the smiles and friendly greetings. 1 man, after I posted a leaflet to his house, came out and ripped the leaflet into minuscule fragments – I don’t think he could have made them much smaller if he tried. I saw this as my cue to engage him in a debate.
He took issue with the words “cut immigration.” I attempted to get it through to him that we merely want to sensibly control the numbers and quality of new arrivals. He blamed Sir Nigel for the horrific murder of Jo Cox MP, citing the Breaking Point poster.
I tried to explain that migrants were streaming into Turkey, a country that was, at that time, on a “fast-track” to joining the EU. I pointed out that the observation that there were no white people on the poster came from the left wing of politics, not UKIP. I also informed him that UKIP condemned the brutal killing of Cox and the perpetrator did it on behalf of Britain First, based on what the barbaric butcher said when he carried out his vile act. I don’t accuse the far right party of sanctioning the assassination, there are nutcases of all persuasions.
It transpired that the irate man is an American immigrant, but he is a semi-retired teacher and has been in Britain for 30 years. I said, “So you’ve contributed to the economy.” “You’ve earned a living. You’ve paid taxes.” He agreed with this.
He was strongly in favour of diversity and multiculturalism. I stated that the left takes it too far. I orated that there are places under Sharia Law in England. I observed that there were grooming scandals in places like Rochdale and Rotherham.
He conceded that mass grooming had happened but claimed: “they’re sorting it out now.”
I sarcastically thought “Well, that’s alright then,” but I said, “Now when thousands of lives are already ruined.” “Politicians and authorities have ignored it and allowed it to happen,” turning a blind eye to the crimes of ethnic minorities because “they’re scared of being called racist.” I told him that we condemn child abuse by everybody and “we don’t care about skin colour.”
At that point, I decided that I had better get on, so I thanked him for “a proper debate” and continued with my task. He definitely seemed a little less hostile by the time I had finished talking to him.
The Green Party have some support in OF – there were several signs that announced allegiance to them and the odd sign that proclaimed support for Labour. However, these did not really compare to the number of window signs that declared a need to protect trees. As “Protect Sheffield’s healthy trees” is 1 of my policies, I think there is a possibility of stealing a few votes.
As my self-inflicted objective was to cover the entire district, I attempted to make up for lost time by leafleting well into dusk, but unfortunately, I finally had to admit defeat. I did manage to deliver to most of it, which is not bad considering my lengthy predicament on the golf course.
Walking home, I was unsure of the way. I found myself in the 1 place I didn’t want to be – next to the allotments. It was now dark and there was no way I was risking an attempt to cross unfamiliar muddy woods and pass the dratted golf course.
I once again got lost and somehow ended up roaming the grounds of Newfield School, searching for an escape from its confines. It was to no avail and in the end, I was forced to bite the bullet and seek the way I had accidentally gone in.
After asking a helpful woman for directions and a lot more walking, I finally recognised my location when I reached Graves Park. Salt was rubbed into my wounds by the fact that, to get home, I had to go past a certain building and car park which displays a large sign which reads “Lees Hall Golf Club.”
Thanks to getting lost – and trapped – twice and being a little hindered by intermittent precipitation, I frustratingly was out for 9 hours this time yet got less done. It was a learning experience and I now know 2 places to avoid.
On day 3, I had to sign on in Town then attend an appointment at my daughter’s nursery. Due to this, I started leafleting much later. Joel McGuigan, Secretary of the Chesterfield, Bolsover & Northeast Derbyshire branch of UKIP, volunteered to help me and I gratefully accepted.
I would usually finish the district I had started before moving on to another, but as I already had a day saver from signing on, I decided to catch a bus to the furthest corner of Gleadless Valley from where I live so that I wouldn’t have to walk to this location on another day.
Thus we headed for the Northern tip of OB Heeley. We leafleted for around 4 hours until it was dark and covered most of the Lowfield neighbourhood. We saw a few more Green signs and a few “No UKIP leaflets” stickers. We had a couple of leaflets given back to us too, though this was again done politely.
Contrastingly, we were also met with some smiles and most people we directly offered leaflets to accepted them – some even thanked us. 1 woman, in particular, saw me through her front window and gave me a big grin with an enthusiastic thumbs-up. Joel reported receiving verbal support from a voter.
On day 4, I was back to walking everywhere so I returned to OF Meersbrook. This time I was hindered by scorching heat. After a couple of hours of leafleting, McGuigan phoned me and offered to help again. We completed the leafleting of OF and moved to the adjacent area of OB Heeley.
Once again, a few of our leaflets were declined but many who we spoke to greeted us warmly or thanked us. 1 man who passed us in the street briefly ranted at Joel that he hated the right, but rather than being specifically anti-UKIP, this included the Tories.
Looking for residential letterboxes, I went to some shops and takeaways on Chesterfield Road. Maybe I looked a little suspicious, as 2 Asian men who worked in a takeaway approached me to inquire what I was doing. When I told them, they were friendly and helpful and asked a woman who advised me on the best way to reach the letterboxes. I thanked all 3 of them.
I was out for 7 and half hours this time and Joel was with me for most of that time. We saw a few signs declaring support for Labour, the Lib Dems and the Greens. As my friend from Derbyshire pointed out, the left vote will hopefully be split so many ways that I stand a chance of winning.
On day 5, I returned to OB Heeley and continued from where I and Joel had left off. I started next to Meersbrook Park and had only been leafleting for a few minutes when I had 2 friendly encounters. The first was with a man who was passing, who said: “You’ve got a big job on there.” I replied “You don’t know the half of it mate. I didn’t know how big this ward was until I started leafleting it.” He laughed and carried on walking.
Then another passing man, who has just moved into the area, initiated conversation with me. He was extremely supportive, agreeing with everything I said and articulating views that I agreed with. He took a leaflet and shook my hand before he departed.
It was a while before anyone refused a leaflet. When residents did, they generally did so politely. People are entitled to an opinion as long as they are not aggressive or abusive and nobody was.
I was out for 6 and half hours and I’ve now covered most of OB Heeley, the largest district of Gleadless Valley by far. I would have stayed longer, but I depleted the leaflets I had taken with me. After 5 days, I have delivered generic leaflets to around a third of the ward. My personalised leaflets were delivered while I was out so I will be delivering those from now on.
Interestingly, excluding 1 Asian man who jovially declined a leaflet on day 4, every refusal and negative opinion came from a white British person. As the American immigrant, I debated with on day 2 has been here for decades, I consider him to be British.
It appears to me that immigrants and members of ethnic minorities do not strongly believe that we discriminate against them, at least in Gleadless Valley. If the people we are accused of hate don’t call us racist, it begs the question why lefties do it. I hypothesise that left-wing parties deliberately vilify us unjustly to give them a political advantage.
I have reached the point where I’m going leafleting with my feet held together by plasters and electrical tape. Though I am determined to get my leaflets out, even if I wear my legs down to stumps, any aid would be greatly appreciated. To volunteer to help on any day of the week, whether you can manage all day or can only spare a couple of hours, contact me on Facebook or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org