Friday, October 22, 2010

“Knocking up” the Labour vote in Isle of Dogs

Back (via Spinnakers pub) from “knocking up” the Labour vote in Tower Hamlets (see main picture) for the Executive Mayor contest. I was part of a Newham team led by the super fast walker, Councillor Unmesh Desai, together with “Fitz” from Canning town and long standing Councillor (and TSSA Union activist) Amarjit Singh.

Nearly 60 activists from Newham had been recorded as coming over to help today.
The purpose was for us to knock on the doors of voters who had been previously identified as supporters of the Party and check that they had voted. If they have not voted then our job would be to “encourage” them to go out and vote. In a tight election this is crucial. Labour will win this contest if we get our vote out.

We had two lists to cover near Manchester Road in the Isle of Dogs. Mostly around the Samuda Estate and St John’s. Local landlords Island Homes (One Housing) are refurbishing many blocks (Labour government decent homes proramme?) and have taken away or obscured block signs behind scaffolding, so we had some fun and games identifying the location of certain blocks.

The response from those voters who we managed to find indoors was very good. It is perhaps a sign that people actually value the democratic process more than sometimes we think, since we were thanked by many people for reminding them to vote, even if it meant they had to rush out of their home into the cold at 9.30pm.

One of the last blocks we visited was “Betty May Gray House”. A well maintained block built by the Isle of Dogs Housing Association in 1962 (a good year) on land given to it by said Betty Gray (no known relation). Great views from the top floor.

Last night was probably the quietest time I have ever had on an election night in Tower Hamlets. I understand the usual mayhem was taking place in other parts, but I only saw one team of Tories out delivering leaflets and one independent/respect outside a polling station. The Count is going on overnight and we will find out the result in the morning.

(main picture of Gotham City from a marvellous pre-war Manchester Road sheltered scheme managed by Southern Housing)

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