Today I spontaneously decided to spend the evening volunteer door-knocking with the Green Party, on their mission to re-elect Caroline Lucas, the UK’s one and only Green MP.
I’ve been wanting to do it for ages, but they always do it on Saturday mornings, when I’m busy carrying dishes of spaghetti around in a tiny Italian restaurant. However now it’s getting closer to election time (well, still 7 months) they’ve started doing it like, everyday. I wasn’t working tonight and my boyfriend was out, so I figured I’d give it a whirl.
I was expecting canvassing to be more than a little soul-destroying, to be honest. I wanted to do it because I admire Caroline so much and desperately want her to be re-elected, but I thought it would be highly unpleasant.
I’m happy to report it was actually painless, verging on fun.
The other volunteers were really lovely people. The team leader had this amazing charisma and energy about her that was just completely contagious. Don’t you just love people like that? And there was another student too, who was the same age as me. It was really nice to meet someone my age who’s as passionate about green politics as me.
Excitingly, and surprisingly for me, Caroline Lucas herself came with us as well. I think it’s so great that she spends her own evenings door-knocking. She’s such a down-to-earth and real person, not like other politicians. And I was really excited to meet her properly because I’ve admired her for ages and really look up to her. I can’t believe she now follows Earth Baby on Twitter!
Here’s a photo of me, Caroline and the other volunteers after our canvassing session.
Me and the two other newbies were paired up with seasoned volunteers for the actual canvassing, and we were each given a nearby street to cover. We had fancy Green rosettes and folders full of leaflets and forms and stuff. We were warned the area we were covering wasn’t very Green-friendly. So with that in mind, it wasn’t too bad that I only spoke to two people who were definitely going to vote for Caroline next year. Several people were very upset about the local Green council’s traffic policies. They said the bus lanes and 20mph roads had caused “absolute chaos”, and even that they had “ruined the town”. We also encountered one huge hairy angry topless UKIP supporter, but thankfully he was about to move to another city.
I was struck by how narrow-minded people’s grievances were. I suppose we should count ourselves lucky that we live in a place where a few buses making your journey ten minutes longer, or your recycling collection coming one day late, is the most people have to complain about. No one challenged us on the Green Party’s national policies. They seemed to only care about their own households and personal convenience. The country didn’t feature, much less the wider world and environment. But saying this, it was nice to hear people’s views. Even if I don’t see these issues as particularly valid, as a volunteer representing the Greens I thought it was important to find out what people were displeased about, and to note down their grievances.
The second to last house we called on, a heavily pregnant woman answered the door and said she would definitely be voting Green next year, as she thought it was so important to prioritise the environment. After assuring us of her vote, she said “now if you’ll excuse me, I’m actually in the early onset of labour!”. Oh my goodness I was so surprised, I had no idea. Bless her for being so patient and polite in that state!
On reconvening, the other volunteers said they’d had mostly good experiences. Well, for a difficult area, anyway. I’m really glad I went, and I will be doing this again next time I have a free evening. It’s a really good feeling to be so actively doing something towards a cause that’s important to me.
Writing and social media can only do so much… It’s good to put in the legwork as well!