This weekend Momentum members in Reading were out in the community canvassing and leafleting as part of the Labour Party election campaign.
For many of us it was our first time, and we know many of you may be in the same boat, so we wanted to share our experience with you, and encourage you to get involved!
“Fancy a walk?” Said my daughter. “We can combine it with some leafleting for Labour.”
We live in Theresa May’s constituency, so thought our efforts would be more effective helping out the candidate in Reading East, so off we went for a pub lunch followed by ‘leafleting’.
When we met up with the other volunteers it quickly became clear that we would actually be canvassing, something I hadn’t done since 1983! We were put into groups with more experienced canvassers and the Reading West candidate, Liv, was in charge of filling out the all important forms in our group.
We only knocked on doors of voters who we knew to be Labour or were undecided. The first person to respond to the doorbell just opened the door and walked right past us on his way out saying “I haven’t got time now and I haven’t got time to vote”. With a shrug of the shoulders we moved onto the next door allocated by Liv.
Some people were happy to quickly say whether they’d vote Labour or not, others were glad that someone had knocked on the door and were interested in what we had to say. People wanted to know what the Labour stance was on both local and national issues, the NHS and Education were key issues. It was a worthwhile endeavour; I hope that my doorstep conversations about Labour plans, locally and nationally, lead at least 2 previously undecided voters to support Matt Rodda.
I was just 1 of 4 in our group and there were several groups. An hour of our work could have encouraged at least 20 to 30 voters, who may well go on to have conversations with their friends and family. I’ll certainly be going, maybe once or twice more, it’s only an hour here or there and I hope makes a difference in Reading East.
Elaine, lifelong Labour supporter, 1st time Reading canvasser.
Canvassing for Labour again.
I have been out canvassing in Reading over the last couple of weeks and it feels a little different to canvassing in previous years. The main difference for me is that I feel Labour are offering something clear and straightforward in our message.
The difference between the parties seems greater than at any time in my lifetime. I first voted in 1987 and as it was my first election I felt enthusiastic but since then general elections have not had the sort of emotional charge this one has where we are fighting for a real and positive change at last.
In terms of discussions with voters they have been broadly positive although some of the canvassing has been in areas with a reasonable Labour vote. Amongst those that were not identified as supporting any party I feel many people are really genuinely undecided. So a positive confident doorstep conversation can help to tip them our way. It’s just a case of being authentic real and polite and moving on if it doesn’t feel like the conservation is going anywhere.
Overall it’s a positive experience and essential in giving us a chance of combating the intense anti Labour mainstream media propaganda.
Success and Solidarity
Leafleting in Caversham
This weekend I joined Unite in Caversham to campaign for Labour.
This was my first time campaigning and I was quite nervous and awkward, and not all of the reactions were great, one gentleman shouted the names of some Labour MPs at me and walked off muttering under his breath!
However, this was the only negative, and even those who were not interested in taking our flyers were polite about it. I had a really nice chat with an undecided voter about the party policies, and was able to chat with Matt Rodda the candidate for Reading East, and also see him interacting with residents and addressing their concerns about Brexit.
After the session I delivered some leaflets, which I felt much more comfortable with and I’ve now emailed my local branch to volunteer for leafleting in the run up to the election, I’d really encourage everyone to do the same, especially if you aren’t confident about joining canvassing activities.
If you are interested in taking part in canvassing or leafleting activities, please do look out for emails from your local branch and from the RDLP for details!