For the first time in my life, during this General Election I went out canvassing door to door for one of the candidates. Paul Sanderson who I have known for many years stood as an Independent in Bognor & Littlehampton and was rewarded with a respectable 2088 votes, over 4% of the votes cast, beating UKIP and the Green Party. Although I have stood myself in an election, back in 2012, that was one that covered 600,000 homes across Sussex and although I did have help from people who offered to deliver leaflets to homes in various parts of Sussex to begin the process of knocking on doors would have been extremely futile. Instead I concentrated on going to places where groups of people were and speaking to them there. In Pauls case he was keen to ensure that every home in the constituency was leafleted and wherever possible for the doors to be knocked on. This gave me the opportunity to experience what it was like when politicians refer to what they were told when they were on the doorstep. Truthfully most people who are willing to answer the door to someone wearing a rosette do not want to do more than be polite. However Paul was well known in the area we canvassed and so we had many chats. Even so most were simply an attempt by the person we visited to understand why Paul was standing and what he intended to achieve. However a small number of people did raise concerns and questions that were related to the way the community was impacted by traffic, by immigrants and by public spending. Some of the comments were primarily an attempt by the person we had interrupted to let off a bit of steam. However some of the comments and questions were genuinely challenging and raised issues that had not featured in Pauls plans if elected.
My question having heard the usual “what we were told on the doorstep” which is always used to reinforce what the politician speaking already believes in, is what did such politicians learn on the doorstep that they did not know before and how will it change their actions assuming they are people who unlike Paul, did get elected?