The weekend just gone was the first Lib Dems spent out campaigning for the snap by-election in Eastleigh, and a number of the party’s peers were at the thick of the action in Hampshire. Here some of them share their experiences of the battle
“Amused to be followed round by the UKIP deliverer. Managed to get all my leaflets fully through letterboxes so he couldn’t pull any out.”
“It was like walking into the by-election HQs of 10 years ago. The buzz, the commitment and the sheer number of volunteers was huge. There was much to do – Mike German and Paul Strasburger braved the appalling weather to canvass on the doorsteps, I called known supporters by phone to ask for poster sites and was delighted to discover that our support was solid. We had people offering to deliver too.
“The welcome was terrific, the cake was delicious and never ending and there is so much still to do. Time is short; go soon and go often!” Baroness Jolly
“I arrive in pouring rain, driving from Sussex after being stationery in jams outside Chichester and Portsmouth because of crashes, late in the afternoon. Wondering whether arriving at this hour and this weather is worthwhile to anyone. I sat-nav to the place. Then my spirits lift as I see the familiar sign – Lib Dems Winning Here!
“I pull the door of the warehouse and step into golden warmth, welcome, chocolate cake, tea, coffee, friends, colleagues from the Lords, a former MP, lots of enthusiastic students – even one who is dyslexic managing those blue envelopes – the-79 year-old former mayor who has just travelled along the trans-Siberian railway. Brave people like Mike German in wet weather gear out in the rain. Others, including the former press officer for the party and Newsnight regular, a member of the Lords, a former by-election candidate, all on the telephones.
“I am happily assigned to writing names and addresses on blue envelopes, sitting with many others chatting away (it does result in one or two swearwords as we make errors and tear up an envelope – younger people are better able to multi-task), the curiosity of walks which no doubt make sense to some. Above all, the excitement I always feel when I walk into major by-election HQs. The teamwork, the friendliness, the meeting of new people, the vast age range, the range of backgrounds and interests, meeting of old friends and the swapping of taller and taller stories from by-elections past, students coming round plying us all with coffee and tea. I had to tear myself away, to return through heavy rain which turned to snow by the time I got to London, buoyed by the conviviality, the upbeatness, the fun, of feeling part of a team, even as a minor little cog, in such a key by-election. And knowing – we do by-elections well!”
“Easily found my way yesterday to the big, light and very busy party HQ in Eastleigh. I dodged the chocolate éclairs on the welcome counter, took my literature, and headed out onto the very wet streets. Thankfully I had my full wet gear on, and people seemed to take pity on me – but the reception was good, and people friendly. I came away feeling I had done a good day’s work and seen my party in excellent upbeat spirit.”
“Eastleigh is a Liberal Democrat constituency and I want it to remain as such.The weather forecast on Saturday was horrible. Snow and rain greeted us all the way from Sussex to the constituency office in Eastleigh .Soaked to the skin and with numb fingers, we delivered hundreds of leaflets and envelopes.Who says that we have lost students and young people? There they were united in the common cause to make sure that victory will be ours.”
“I was stumped when I was asked to contribute to a wall of ‘why I’ve come to Eastleigh’ – apart from its obvious importance. Then I realised: Such a good feeling to be part of success, which is what it must be.”
“All I can say is that the usual Lib Dem election machine seems to up and running well and the number of volunteers out on the streets in appalling weather was amazing.”
Published and promoted by Tim Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, both at LDHQ, 8-10 Great George Street, London, SW1P 3AE.