Vignettes from the stump (2)

It’s like the Marie Celeste out there

May 27th: Canvassing in Raunds with Cllrs. Dudley and Sylvia Hughes

May 27th: Canvassing in Raunds with Cllrs. Dudley and Sylvia Hughes

I have to admit that I find it absurdly touching, and humbling, to stand canvassing on the doorstep and to be told by the householder that she (it usually is “she” through the day) has already used her postal vote, and voted Conservative.  She voted for me!  (And for Emma, Rupert, Fiona and George, of course).  I have to restrain myself from kissing her on both cheeks, Brussels-style, in sheer gratitude.  Suddenly the election is not about remote national opinion polls, but about this lady on this doorstep putting her cross in the Conservative box.
I met a lot like that in Raunds, Northants, yesterday morning when I was out canvassing with Councillors Dudley and Sylvia Hughes.  And amazingly in a couple of hours, while I met many intending Conservative voters, and some who wouldn’t say, I met not a single person who intended to vote for any other Party.  Not Labour.  Not Lib-Dem.  Not UKIP or BNP or Green.  I have to say that this was exceptional, based on my experience of the last three weeks — but also very encouraging.
I often say that if I had a pound for every East Midlands voter who has ever said to me “In the 1975 referendum we voted for trade and jobs, for a Common Market — we never voted for political union and all this nonsense from Brussels“, then I should be a rich man.  And among the first half dozen voters we spoke to in Raunds, no fewer than three said exactly that.  The winning proposition for Conservatives in this election is “We want trade and cooperation in Europe, but we don’t want to be governed from Brussels”.
The extraordinary thing about this campaign is the absence of other parties.  I’ve been out with Conservative activists for three weeks, canvassing and door-knocking and leafleting on the streets, campaigning in high streets and market places and shopping areas.  And in all that time I have seen not one — not one — campaigner for another party.  I remember that in 1999 and 2004 we were constantly tripping over other parties with red and yellow rosettes and balloons.  Not one this time.  Deserted.  Like the Marie Celeste.
On Tuesday I did a hustings event at the Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce with (inter alia) Bill Turncoat Dunn (Lib-Dem).  Chamber members were complaining of the flood of EU regulation, and the difficulty they had in influencing legislation which damaged small businesses.  Bill explained that it was really quite easy — all they had to do was to contact their hard-working MEPs and they would sort it all out.  The Chambers had failed to do so.  As soon as Bill had finished, I interjected “There you are, chaps, it’s all your fault!”.  Of course I expected Bill to back off and try to smooth things over, as any professional politician would.  But no.  Bill insisted that it was, indeed, all their fault.  A few Lib-Dem votes lost there, I should say.
I had the opportunity to explain why Bill was wrong.  First of all, with the huge volume of legislation, much of it affecting business, going through the European parliament at any one time, it would be virtually impossible for a Chamber of Commerce to identify every threat to every member-company.  Secondly, while we MEPs can and will seek to move amendments when problems are brought to our attention, it is idle to pretend that we can solve each problem that businesses raise.  EU legislation is a runaway train, and no one can stop it.

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4 Responses to Vignettes from the stump (2)

  1. Alfred says:

    “We want trade and cooperation in Europe, but we don’t want to be governed from Brussels”.

    But this is not Conservative Policy. I received this from head Office this month. (It seems, to me, that the Conservative Leadership will act little differently to the current disaster)

    It is the Conservative Party’s view that Britain benefits from our membership of the European Union. The EU does much that is worthwhile. The Single Market allows services, workers and goods to move freely across Europe. The tangible benefits such as cheaper telephone calls, air travel and internet access are enjoyed by tens of millions of Britons.

    The EU also provides a unique means for us to work together with our European partners on shared challenges which Europe’s nation states by themselves cannot deal with; and with enlargement, the goal of EU membership has persuaded not just governments but whole societies to raise their standards across the board. Britain has an enormous amount to gain through co-operation and free trade in Europe. That is why we want Britain to be a positive participant in the EU, championing liberal values.

    The only “positive participant in the EU,” is one that swallows the EU policy of “ever greater Union” hook line and sinker. Anyone else has to be dealt with until they behave better. David Cameron doesn’t seem to have learned that lesson. Please talk to him.

  2. Roger Helmer says:

    Thanks Alfred. I am giving you my view, which happens to be the same as most Conservatives, and (on this issue) most people I meet on the doorstep. This is what I have been working for for ten years, and if re-elected will continue to work for. Note what Cameron is now saying about bringing powers back from Brussels. It is vital we distinguish between “cooperation”, which I think we all favour, and political union, leading to anti-democratic diktats from Brussels.

  3. Alfred says:

    We had very good security and trade “cooperation” through NATO and EFTA, to name but two agreements, based on the agreement of Sovereign States.

    No one I know ever knowingly voted for this political union and no-one who seems to understand its implications, wants it. Thinking that “bringing powers back from Brussels” is possible must be very ignorant of the history of the European Union. However, I understand that you must tow the party line to some degree.

  4. Roger Helmer says:

    I believe that the negotiations to repatriate employment and social policies will lead to a wider renegotiation.

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