Friday, May 18, 2007

Feedback from Canvassers

AS we head into the final days of this campaign, I thought I'd ask for some contributions from canvassers who have been knocking on doors the last few weeks. Here's a taster:


The experience has been a positive one, with good reactions on the doorsteps. The people of Bray have been mostly very polite - even those who clearly don't intend to vote Labour. Liz is obviously very well known and respected for the work she's done locally and nationally. In some estates you can skip from house to house with people just taking the leaflet and giving a 'thumbs-up' or a 'don't worry - Labour's got my vote this time'.

For future reference, I would suggest that 8.30 is probably late enough on a week night. We had experience of a few parents looking murderously at us or sprinting through the house to ask us not to ring the bell, as the new baby had just been put to bed. Henry and I also met a Rottweiler and a Great Dane on the same evening, but we lived to tell the tale.

For me, it's been a learning experience for a number of reasons:
- I've been able to observe the experienced 'pros' at work (Liz, John, Henry, Ann ) and learned a lot about local issues by listening to their conversations with the voters;
- I've learned that a big smile and an assertive friendly greeting disarms even the most defensive householder;
- It's been a great way for a blow-in like me to get to know the geography of the town, not to mention get ideas for landscaping my front garden!


People are sick of the to do over Bertie's money - well we knew that. Not too interested in 'issues' unless Liz is with you. If they do express an opinion it is generally favourable towards Liz and/or vicious towards FF. Other than that.......could we have the sun back please?

And, as ever, how much more rewarding it is doing the local authority estates than the posh areas - with the 'gated communities' there always seems a subtext that they don't need politics.


We canvassed the north ward of Bray and overall got a very good response. We even made one lonely old lady who has just moved to Ireland very happy – just to get a visitor! However, we were asked about same sex marriage, we answered and we were then called…murderers and the door was slammed in our faces.


1 Overall a very positive response, there is a mood for change.
2 Liz is highly respected.
3 On going water situation Rocky Valley Drive / Glencormac / Ballybawn. People very frustrated and annoyed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

"Why are all those posters of dead people everywhere?"!

ONE of the things in this campaign is the great interest shown by children for the Election posters. One child was quoted recently asking his mammy, "Why are all those posters of dead people everywhere?"! The children that I'm meeting at the doorsteps are very excited to be meeting someone (a live person!) from the posters. This must be something to do with the power of TV that has trained young eyes towards visual images. Or maybe its the celebrity culture that gets them excited. When it comes to the adults, who have a vote, posters have minimal effect.

Yesterday I launched Labour's A&E plan. 2,300 beds needed and we're determined to implement them. If Noel Browne in the hungry 40s could provide 2,000 beds in three years it is not beyond the bounds of possibility to do it now.

I notice that as days pass Brian Cowen is getting more shrill. He seems to think people like bombast, aggression and aggressive tactics. I'm not convinced. In fact what is interesting about this campaign is how thoughtful the discussions on the doorsteps are. People's thoughts on childcare, health, transport are being expressed. And the constant refrain is that it's time for a change of Government - which is a reflection of Labour's slogan to make a change and that "Ireland can do better with Labour."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Campaign Team on Hospitals and Roads

As a member of Liz's campaign team I am unfortunately immobile at the moment but will still be occasionally contributing to the blog.

Last week was my first time ever to be admitted to hospital. I understand how hospitals can be a daunting experience for Margaret (see video below) and others.

Last week I had an accident and was waiting on the side of a public road to be assisted. The ambulance drove past us despite being flagged down and we had to rephone the emergency services.

On admittance to the ambulance and hospital, I have to say the standard of care was excellent. I did however find that the doctors and nurses were so busy that their time had to be largely dispersed. Obviously they couldn’t help this as emergencies will always happen. This does mean that the doctors/nurses just in a lot of cases do not have time to do the job. I was waiting to be discharged for at least half an hour – this is a simple thing that requires someone saying to me – you can go now. It would also have meant a freed up cubicle quicker.

Three days later I returned to the same A and E department for a wound check. Patients were being told – “there are no beds in the hospital” – the corridors of the A and E were full of patients on trolleys.

This country clearly needs Labour in Government to deliver the clear commitment of 2300 more beds in cleaner hospitals.

While I was in hospital other patients were admitted after another major crash on the N11. As Liz has pointed out many times that this section of the road is dangerous and needs to be upgraded urgently.


(on behalf of campaign team)

Friday, May 04, 2007

On the campaign trail

THE biggest battle so far for me in this campaign is fighting off sunburn. The sun is as relentless as the mood for change is.

People want change. Even FF people want change. Some of theme are going so far as to tell me that they want the Fianna Fail Party to be in Opposition for a while.

Labour's core commitments on health, childcare, carers, crime and first time house buyers are reflected in the conversations on the doorsteps. There is growing public confidence that an alternative government will be a better government. It's an exciting contest and I'm enjoying every minute of it.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Countdown to Change

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Under starters orders....

We're off! It was an unusually secretive start from our Taoiseach last Sunday morning but it is great to finally start the real campaign. Posters are up, canvassers have been out and the pounding of the streets has begun. Between myself and some volunteers we hope this blog will provide a small overview of the campaign here in Co. Wicklow.

I'll be back in touch soon...