I’ve just spent several very interesting hours canvassing in Corby — or strictly speaking, in Thrapston.
Several interesting insights emerged. First, our Campaign Director, a veteran of several by-election campaigns, has rarely seen such a positive response. Our very smart Campaign Office in a shop unit in Corby Town Centre has seen an exceptional level of interest already — although the by-election has not yet been formally called. There has been a lot of comment about the unwillingness of the Labour campaign team to address the issues worrying voters — like immigration, for example. And a number of voters have come straight across from Labour’s Office, a hundred yards away, to say they’ll be voting UKIP.
The second story concerns a startling Labour faux pas. Apparently the Labour team had a batch of envelopes intended for hand delivery — but by accident they put them in the post. Unstamped. We don’t know how many, but a number of voters were very angry when they were invited by the Post Office to pay £3 for unstamped mail, only to find an electoral letter from the Labour Party. How to lose friends and infuriate people.
I was also struck by one particular voter who was happy to chat, but insisted that he was a Labour voter, he’d always voted Labour, he always would vote Labour. He agreed he was unhappy with the track record of all the old parties, but nothing would shake him from his historic tribal loyalty. I was about to retire hurt when I thought of one last try.
“Well”, said I, “I respect your position on local and general elections, but could I just ask you to think about UKIP for the euro-elections in 2014? “Ha ha”, he said, holding up his index finger towards his nose in a conspiratorial fashion, “Now that’s a different issue entirely”.