Saturday, 1 May 2010

Don't let anyone tell you it can't be different

This week has been one of the busiest of the campaign so far. As well as my daily diet of campaigning I took part in two hustings - one organised by Reading Faith Forum and another by the Argyle Road Community Church. I was interviewed by BBC Parliament's education service for a video to be shown in schools after the election and I also found time to pen an article for the Reading Chronicle's election series on Lib Dem policies for tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. We've been campaigning all over the constituency and we are continuing to find plenty of Lib Dem supporters wherever we go. Delivering leaflets in Southcote earlier in the week several people stopped me in the street to say they were fed up with Labour and would be voting Lib Dem. Out and about in Whitley Wood and Kennet Island yesterday I received a very warm reception and it was encouraging to hear people say they were thinking long and hard about how they would be voting this year, with many of them seriously considering voting Lib Dem in many cases for the first time. I've had a steady stream of emails from undecided voters who are keen to find out more about our policies, as well as emails from people seeking my help on various issues after being let down by Labour politicians nationally as well as locally. We are finding support for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats in Reading West showing no sign of abating. This picture is mirrored nationally with many polls continue to show Labour in third place. The Reading Chronicle has picked up the fact that the odds on me being elected as Reading West's first Lib Dem MP have been dramatically reduced. In the last 24 hours The Guardian and Observer newspapers have both said they are backing the Lib Dems as the best chance to reform our political system.
There is no doubt that the Leaders' debates have helped spark more interest in the upcoming election locally. I can honestly say many people I've spoken to on the doorstep continue to be unconvinced by David Cameron, despite his slick campaign. There is only one person less popular than him on the doorstep...and that's Gordon Brown. He was very unpopular on the doorstep in Reading West before the Rochdale moment, now his name is mud in many places and I wouldn't want to repeat some of the language people have used to describe him here! Sadly for Labour visits to Reading by celebrities such as Eddie Izzard are not going to change people's minds at this late stage in the campaign. People base their decisions on more fundamental issues than that. This Party Political Broadcast by the Liberal Democrats shown a couple of days ago featuring Nick Clegg encapsulates really effectively the huge opportunity facing voters in Reading West. The chance for real change - change to our politics , our tax system and our economy. The two old parties (Labour and Conservatives) have so much to lose if our political system changes - they are based on vested interests. That's why they are hoping that people vote for them to help ensure things stay the same. Labour have fought a depressingly negative campaign in Reading West and I fear that as they get more and more desperate their leaflets will get even worse. My feeling is this style of campaigning will backfire. The reaction we are getting on the doorstep says that this year many people want something different from politics and politicians - a promise of something different, something better. It's really positive that thousands more people have registered to vote ahead of this election. I hope as many people as possible use their vote on 6 May to vote Lib Dem for real change. Still need convincing? Check out this ace video:

Anyway, there's only a few days to go now until Polling Day - apologies in advance for lack of posts between then and now. Our campaign is not backed by trade unions or wealthy donors and we rely on help from local volunteers. If you have some time to spare between now and Polling Day to help my campaign in Reading West and get the vote out on the day please post a message via my Facebook page, send me a message on Twitter or email me