Blogpost: Mark Hall voters far from apathetic

Politics / Sun 15th Feb 2015 at 01:29pm

Vote 2015Blogpost: By Jake Shepherd

YH welcomes our latest blogger, Bishops Stortford High School sixth former, Jake Shepherd as he reflects on his time canvassing for Harlow Labour at the recent ward election.

The Mark Hall Ward Elections

“I walked out the door, swiping my keys off the side and took a last bite out of a bread roll I’d grabbed on my way out. I had not been back from sixth form an hour before I found myself emptying my bag to fill it with a massive envelope stuffed with election leaflets and quickly slurping a hot mug of tea.

“It was to be my first attempt at canvassing for a political party and I was leaving it a bit late. It was the day of the Mark Hall Ward Elections and at 17:00 I was running a tad late. I accustomed myself with the ward map that I’d scrunched in my pocket, despite the fact it had been buried untouched on the coffee table for the last week.

As I scanned frantically to find Momples Road, I’d got a message from Murray asking me to deliver the 100 leaflets that he dropped round earlier that day whilst I was at sixth form. I had a quick glimpse before carrying on walking towards the electoral battle ground.

By the time I got to the bottom of Momples Road I’d listened to almost all of an Oasis album and a dozen Spotify ads. I reached into my bag and pulled out a good sized handful of leaflets and set to work.

I’d never made an effort of knocking on peoples’ doors to talk to them about politics before so I hadn’t got a clue what to expect. I was more worried about the door being opened by someone I knew and people round sixth form thinking that I am some kind of weird political doors salesman or being chased out of peoples’ doorways by UKIP supporters.

Luckily to say I was never greeted by a class mate and so managed to avoid having to answer any awkward questions the next morning.

The one thing I can say after knocking on 120 doors is that people aren’t as apathetic as you might think and nearly everyone knew that night was their council election, what I can also say though is that some people do prefer sitting on their sofa than standing on their doorsteps in the cold listening to a 17 year old going on about he’s views for a left wing sustainable future.

So if anyone is interested in canvassing, which I would highly recommend, perhaps be prepared for those people who close their door the moment you mention politics and voting. I should stress these are only a few and I had a pretty good time, if anything it showed me how varied people’s views are and the concerning rise in support for UKIP in the town.

I’ll leave the rest of my one man canvassing campaign to your imagination although I don’t need to tell you that it involved a lot of stairs and having to listen to every doorbell chime imaginable. I went to the ballot count after as well to hear the results.

Labour won the seat with 586 votes with UKIP coming second with 353 votes. There were all five parties standing for the seat with the Greens coming fourth!

I think if these results are anything to go by, it’s clear that this General Election will be even more closely fought with the new rising parties, both the Greens and UKIP, adding pressure to Labour and the Tories.

So if anything is to be learnt from this small insight it’s that there has never been a better time to vote, because for this general election every vote will count!

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