Category Archives: Campaigning

William Wallace: Be careful about Canvasser’s Heel (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Wallace of SaltaireI’ve gone down with Canvasser’s Heel.   Well, the doctor called it plantar fasciitis: her first question to me after I had described the symptoms were, ‘Does your job involve a lot of standing and walking?’

The NHS defines it as ‘excessive, constant abnormal pulling and stretching of the fibrous bands that support the arch, [which] causes the heel bone to become inflamed and painful. This constant irritation can sometimes lead to a heel spur (bony growth) forming on the bottom of the heel bone.  The patient usually complains of pain with the first step in the morning, some relief following activity, but the pain returning after extended amounts of time standing or walking.’

I’d thought I’d bruised my heel somehow, and had gone on canvassing (and limping) over several weekends, until it was clearly getting worse rather than better.  The cure starts with icepacks applied, then rest, physiotherapy, walking gently, and wearing well-padded shoes.

This used, apparently, to be called ‘Policeman’s Heel’.  Brian Paddick hadn’t heard of it, and the policeman I spoke to in Liverpool during our Spring conference only said that ‘we spend most of our time sitting in cars these days’.  But the officer on duty outside the Commons as I left last Thursday said he’d suffered from it: too much walking around on hard pavements, made worse by standing for long periods on street corners.  Road runners often suffer from this, too, I’m told.

So what should the dedicated Liberal activist do to avoid succumbing to this in the course of an election campaign?  Wear comfortable lace-up shoes with thick soles and heels, for a start: Clark’s shoes, or trainers, are much better than thin-soled shoes.  Sit down from time to time; twiddle your toes, flex your feet by going up on your toes and back every now and again.  Put padded insoles in and arch supports, if that helps more.  Think about the risks of spending too long on concrete and tarmac; walk on the grass when you can.

The full article is here

Kate Parminter makes 1000th constituency visit (via Lib Dem Voice)

Kate & Lucy
Baroness Parminter & Lucy Hurds, PPC for Hereford

Early Friday morning, as others made their way to Liverpool for Conference, I set off to Hereford, following in the footsteps of a large number of my colleagues in the Lords. Our local candidate Lucy Hurds has been hugely successful in getting our Peers out of the House of Lords and onto the streets of Hereford including John Shipley, Jenny Randerson, Nigel Jones, Sally Hamwee, Shirley Williams and Chris Fox. She’s clearly been effective in getting others out too and it was great to see a good number of Lucy’s campaign team out with us and working hard to reclaim the seat for the Lib Dems.

Dick Newby, our Chief Whip, called for 1,000 visits to be made before the election. After many months of hard campaigning this was our 1,000th.

On my visit we got a chance to discuss what can be done to help local dairy farmers, supporting renewable energy & rural services and, as the party’s spokesperson on DEFRA matters in the Lords, I got a chance to highlight all the things the Liberal Democrats have been doing over the last 5 years.

The visit gave me an opportunity to talk to local Councillors Anna Toon and Polly Andrews who were keen to hear how local retailers can support local environmental charities and groups as a result of the 5p levy on plastic bags, due to come in this Autumn, which Liberal Democrats have championed in Government.

It was great too to meet newly selected PPC Jeanie Falconer, from the adjacent constituency of North Herefordshire and talk about our evidence based approach to tackling bovine TB and the pilot badger culls.

I also got a chance to visit the local RSPCA branch with Lucy, after Duncan Starling, the local RSPCA chairman and LD campaigner had invited me, as a Vice-President of the organisation. It was fantastic to talk to the local volunteers who are rescuing and rehoming local animals and raising funds through their shop for the vital ‘4th emergency service’ that the RSPCA is. Having had the Control of Horses Bill safely complete its passage through the House of Lords the day before it was good to talk about how Parliament and local action together can help voiceless animals.

Later on in the evening I joined Lucy, Jeanie and the Herefordshire team at spring conference in Liverpool at a reception they’d organised to campaign for fairer funding for rural areas. With some of the best refreshment the county offers (Jeanie runs a vineyard) it was a happy ending to a day spent with some of our indefatigable campaigners!

But there is no rest for the wicked and Dick has now called for a new target, 50,000 doors knocked by election days. Something that our team of 100+ Lords should be able to achieve (with a few cups of tea and some elbow grease). If you want to get a Peer to help out in your campaign, then contact our visit organiser Louise Furness (louise.libdems@gmail.com).

The original article is here

Ros Scott: Campaigning over recess in Colchester, Cambridge, Norwich South and North Norfolk (via Lib Dem Voice)

Baroness Ros Scott
Baroness Ros Scott

Despite what you hear in the press about a “zombie” Parliament, life in Westminster has been pretty busy for the Lib Dem team in the House of Lords. We’ve secured important improvements to the Counter Terrorism legislation, used the Deregulation Bill to reintroduce Sarah Teather’s provisions on retaliatory eviction, introduced measures dealing with revenge porn, and done battle with the Tory dinosaurs seeking to derail Michael Moore’s Bill intended to enshrine the principle that 0.7% of our wealth goes to the poorest overseas countries.

But this last week we, like the Commons, have been in recess, and many of us have been out and about campaigning with colleagues seeking re-election in May. And why wouldn’t we? Not only are we committed to our Party and its success, but many of us have been elected as Councillors or MPs and know how important an extra pair of feet can be! Some of my colleagues fought unsuccessfully for years to be elected to Parliament, and in doing so, laid the groundwork for their successors.

For me, recess means being at home in Suffolk where we are busy not just supporting our neighbours in Colchester, Cambridge, Norwich South and North Norfolk, but defending council seats in all-out District elections. For me, this one is personal, as it was winning Needham Market ward in 1991 which started my political career, and I want to make sure that the hard work of our current team is recognised.

The full article is here

Lib Dem President Sal Brinton interviewed in the New Statesman

Baroness Brinton
Baroness Brinton

“Congratulations, damn it!” This is the note Sal Brinton’s father, Tim, the former Conservative MP for Gravesham, sent with a bunch of flowers to his daughter when she was first elected as a Liberal Democrat councillor in 1993.

“Engagement in politics is more important than having rows in the family over what you believe in,” Brinton chuckles after telling me this story. “I think that’s the one thing we agreed on!”

And there has been plenty more in the Lib Dem peer’s career to congratulate her on. Following her work in floor management at the BBC having studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama, Brinton has long been an influential figure in liberal politics. She reached the House of Lords in February 2011, and has recently been elected party president. She replaced Tim Farron MP in this role at the beginning of the year, defeating two other candidates and winning 10,188 votes in the final result.

Farron – the media-friendly imp popular with the left flank of his party – treated the role as a mouthpiece for the Lib Dem party faithful, often straying off-message to the delight of many of his fellow Lib Dem MPs frustrated and constrained by coalition with the Tories.

The full interview is here

 

Tim Clement-Jones: Out and about on the doorstep (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Clement-Jones
Lord Clement-Jones

Far be it from me (or at their peril anyone else!) to ignore an injunction from our General Election Chair Paddy Ashdown, so my New Year’s resolution has been to commit every Friday up to the start of the campaign proper to campaigning in a target or held seat. All the polling data shows that we have good prospects in a number of target seats.

There was an excellent response and name recognition for Sandy Walkington on my first Friday in St Albans, a constituency I helped in when he first fought it thirty years ago, and with a terrific local team. Last Friday I was with Dorothy Thornhill’s team in both ends of the Watford constituency (it takes in part of Three Rivers) and it was great to see, and campaign alongside, really committed councillors and activists.

I have also been canvassing with Cllr Jeanette Aron who is also up for election this May and it is clear from the response that there is terrific goodwill on the doorstep. A great antidote to the doom and gloom of some of the national coverage of the party.

I have to say I’m looking forward to my next dose of campaign tonic this Friday in Maidstone!

Full post here

 

Kate Parminter: Campaigning on green issues in the south west (via Lib Dem Voice)

Baroness Parminter
Baroness Parminter

With the Green Party announcing they are targeting 12 seats including a number of our key seats, and the Labour party acknowledging the threat they pose by appointing Sadiq Khan to lead the fightback, Green votes could make the difference between winning and losing – as we sadly saw with Graham Watson MEP.  So as our Environment Spokesperson in the House of Lords I’ve been keen to get out and help our candidates promote what we have achieved in Government and champion our 5 Green Bills which we’d introduce in a future Parliament.  Over the summer I spent two days visiting the Great Heath Project in Mid Dorset & North Poole with the Wildlife Trust and our parliamentary candidate, Vikki Slade.

This weekend, I was down in West Cornwall in Andrew George’s St Ives constituency.  On the Friday night Andrew and I addressed a packed public meeting in St Ives.  6.30am the next morning I saw 16 badgers from 7 setts being vaccinated at the first community-led badger vaccination trial in the UK, led by Andrew and the Zoological Society of London.  With many local farmers badly affected by bovine TB it’s an important project bringing together animal welfare volunteers and farmers to work together to respond to the challenges this awful disease poses to wildlife, farm animals and the farming community.

Full article here

 

Andrew Phillips: Reflections from the campaign trail in Clacton (via Lib Dem Voice)

Lord Phillips of Sudbury
Lord Phillips of Sudbury

I have a lifelong affinity with Clacton. It was the nearest seaside resort to my hometown of Sudbury, but more relevantly I was parliamentary candidate for the Harwich division, as it was then called, which included Clacton, in the General Election of 1970 (albeit for Labour – I saw the light three years later!)

On the face of it one should want to forget all about the Clacton results as quickly as possible. But there are some bright spots, and some insights which may be worth sharing. For a start, our candidate, Andy Graham, was admirable. He knew he was on to a hiding to nothing, but he persisted with a positive story about the party and the coalition. What is more, although the time and place were basically hostile to Lib Dems, it was often skin deep and susceptible to fact and reason.

Read the full article here