Shamik Das

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Campaign Diary: Week 2

Vote-LabourTHIS week we’ve had the manifestos, the first ever leaders’ debate and the closure of all UK airspace bacause of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano.

Saturday 10th April: A day of no campaigning but a little bit of blogging, with the publication of our paper taking apart the Tories’ marriage tax policies - Fami-lies: Why you can’t trust the Tories - revealing how Cameron and Osborne are hiding their plans to cut the vital services that, over the past 13 years, have helped families to help themselves. In the evening, off to the Soho Theatre with the boys to see “Eric's Tales Of The Sea”, about a submariner called Eric, telling tales of the seven seas...

Sunday 11th April: A politics-free day, a day out seeing the sights, strolling the tow path along the Grand Union Canal from Haggerston Park to Camden Lock via Angel, starting out in Columbia Road Market and ending up in Camden Market.

Monday 12th April: It’s manifesto time, Labour are first up, promising “A future fair for all”. The launch looks great, shame about the intro (dumbing down or what?!) and the press conference, in which hacks were heckled and booed, and the prime minister cheered. Brown shouldn’t have had any of it. At the 2005 manifesto launch, at the Mermaid Theatre in Blackfriars, Tony Blair politely slapped down the clowns sitting next to me who tried to do the same; big, big mistake from Gordon. In the evening, out on the doorsteps in Welsh Harp, great response, as usual

Tuesday 13th April: Tuesday, and it’s the Tories’ turn, as they unveil their “invitation to join the government of Britain” at Battersea Power Station, cold, empty and lifeless, “a power station that doesn’t generate power”, as Nick Clegg put it.

Wednesday 14th April: Wednesday, and the Liberals have their say, pledging “fair taxes, a fair chance, a fair future and a fair deal”. At night, chill out, watch “The Day of the Jackal” (the original). Oh yeah, and it was my birthday! :P Wednesday also produced the best picture of the campaign:


Thursday 15th April: Debate time! Build up dominated by the Icelandic volcano eruption, but come the evening, and it’s all eyes on Manchester for the first ever prime ministerial tv debate. Running the live webchat on Left Foot Forward, which is also being carried on Labour List, Liberal Conspiracy, the New Statesman, Political Scrapbook and the Young Fabians blog; inundated, but not too many trouble makers, somehow manage to get through it all and still enjoy the debate.

Friday 16th April: All hail King Clegg! You gotta admit it, the Westminster School Cambridge boy done good; Gordon also did well, statesmanlike and authoritative; Cameron, by contrast, was hopeless. All those anecdotes, especially the one about meeting “a black man”. Wow! Real man of the people eh Dave? For more David Cameron anecdotes, check out this gem of a generator: - too funny! In the evening, a Tandoor mixed grill, delicious!!

Saturday 17th April: Spend the day in Barking & Dagenham, delivering newspapers for Hope Not Hate’s day of action taking the fight to the BNP. An absolutely sensational day: 541 people delivering 91,000 papers. Spent the morning in Dagenham, and the afternoon in Rainham. In between, a truly remarkable lunch, not just the food - a superb curry - but the entertainment, an impromptu performance from Billy Bragg, inspirational, emotional, educational. No video’s yet been uploaded, but here’s what one of the songs sounded like:

As well as meeting Billy, got a lift in the Cruddas-mobile and saw Gerry Gable, the Gerry Gable, who’s been fighting Fascists for the past 60 years. Take the train back to Fenchurch Street and find a pub just in time to see the second half of Spurs’ demolition job on Chelsea, which, coupled with United’s win over City, makes it just about as perfect a sun-drenched Spring Saturday a Nazi-hating United fan can have.

Sunday 18th April: Glance the Sundays, watch GB interviewed by Andrew Marr, see George Osborne make a fool of himself on the Politics Show and write a couple of stories before heading out to join Dawn Butler on the doorstep. Visit a residential home, talk to some big, big Labour supporters, one of whom praises Peter Mandelson, telling me that without Mandy there’d be no Labour government. Spot. On. A supporter for 50 years, ever since he came to Britain from the West Indies in 1961, he regaled us with tales from the past, and added that he doesn’t need a postal vote, saying:

“I’ll hobble all the way to the polling station to vote Labour, ain’t no one gonna stop me votin’ Labour!”
One of those inspiration people, the reason why you go into politics, to deliver for them, and for people like them, to give a voice to those who have none, to offer a future that is fair for them and for everyone; for the many, not the few.

Left Foot Forward: For all the latest campaign news


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