Hustings at Coleridge School

One week gone – half a stone lost! Thank goodness for election.

Lunchtime visit to Coleridge School. All the candidates are invited separately – a wise head clearly. Music plays as the children aged about 7-11 walk in and sit cross legged in rows. I guess there were about 200 all staring up at me. Terrifying!

I just tell them a little about the Lib Dems and then two children have been chosen to ask the questions selected by the school council. Very good questions – better than most adult hustings I thought – as it wasn’t full of party hacks or planted questions. I remember an education hustings at Fortismere School last time out where there were about 20 people in the audience, almost all of whom were party people.

One of the questions was what about pollution. So I asked them if the had heard of the congestion charge. Yes – they all said. Was it a good thing I asked. No – they all said. Why not – I said. Because you have to pay – they all said. Was pollution bad? Yes – they all said. I then attempted to demonstrate the link between the two.

School dinners were high on their list of questions. Thanks Jamie. Did they like salads I asked? Not a totally positive response – but at least Jamie has brought the discussion and got them thinking and talking. They also asked what I was going to do about fast food outlets in Crouch End. No correlation again!

I really enjoyed it. Not my usual target audience – but voters of the future. Lots of them came up after to say they would vote for me. Perhaps we should revisit the voting age?

In the afternoon – meet BBC London camera team. Well I guess they are stretched as the team was the camera man and interviewer all in one. He followed me knocking on doors for a couple of hours. Several of the LibDems we found wouldn’t give permission for the film to be used (drat) – not dressed, wet hair, no make-up. The BBC man knocked on each door after I had called to ask permission – nothing goes out without it.

Matthew Taylor MP canvassed with me and calls me to say hello at a door with a Tory mother (going to vote Lib Dem because Tories can’t win here), a daughter who doesn’t know, her friend who is LibDem and whilst talking on the doorstep, the son (I guess around 15) arrives and shouts Labour (at his mother).

One woman today said she was going to vote for Respect and was clearly put out when I informed her I didn’t believe there was a Respect Candidate standing. But she was the only person in all the canvassing I have done who has mentioned Respect here.

Back to HQ dropping camera man and Matthew off at tube. Noticed just before getting into car that microphone had fallen off. And as we have no idea when it detached itself – may have to do whole thing over again!

At HQ stuffing envelopes is the order of the day. The glamour of democracy in action!