Tried some old fashioned campaigning today. Delivering leaflets around my local village, talking to a few people, and finishing off with a public meeting in the Old School. Wasn't expecting much of a turn-out after realising that I was clashing with a meeting of Berriew Bowling Club. I'd promised myself that if I failed to reach double figures, I wouldn't do it again. Well, I did - just. So I'll do it again next week - at Castle Caereinion. These are the two villages in which I've lived my life.
I'll refer to just two of the issues raised. Firstly, the 'reneging' on the promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. I thought this issue had died a death - but it seems not. I've never thought this a justifiable criticism anyway. Cameron/Hague gave the British people a 'cast iron guarantee' that they would hold such a referendum - if it had not already been signed into EU law. My experience is that this response is met with a 'grudging' acceptance. But what really does surprise me is that my questioners seem to have forgotten that it was the Labour and Lib Dem parties which did actually renege on promises to hold a referendum, rendering the Conservative promise undeliverable by doing so. That's politics I suppose.
Second issue was MP's salary - and outrage that an increase has been awarded at a time when some public sector workers are subject to a pay freeze. I said that I didn't know how much MPs were paid, but thought that they were probably well paid already (bearing in mind that there should be an element of public service in the job), and that I'd consider not taking the increase myself while a pay freeze applied to public sector workers. I'd have been more definite, but I could get into bother for making such a commitment. I've checked now, and the salary is £67,737 . Well, I think that is a damn good salary in anyone's language.
Not at all sure that today will have increased my vote come the General Election, but it was enjoyable and satisfying. Good job I'm not some 'pin striped Home Counties barrister' I thought as I descended into George's milking parlour, where there's a real danger that one of the rear ends of the 18 cows present could have expressed an opinion in traditional bovine style. But they recognised a friendly face. More than anything else, I want the next eight weeks to be about enjoyment and satisfaction.