When I put myself forward for the Swanscombe by election, I prepared myself for many things.
I knew there would be abuse when I knocked on doors. I knew there would be unfair comments on the internet. I knew there would be negative campaigning from the other side. I knew if I won, there would be difficult problems, there would be personal insults and hard work no one knew I was doing and endless miles walked. I was prepared for all of this.
I didn’t think to prepare myself for being constantly frigging freezing.
Honestly, from the November nights knocking on doors to the weekends campaigning, I am constantly a shivering wreck. It now feels more natural to hold things without bending my fingers, so accustomed am I to them being totally numb. I got in three hours ago, and still the skin on my legs feels like glass.
Today’s reasons for braving the elements was a Cost of Cameron campaign in Swanscombe. My reason for organising this, as I reminded myself every time my umbrella was blown inside out, was because community organising is an important part of politics. And because, when I was tucked up at home in my jammies, I’d promised myself that I’d stick with that idea even when the going got bad.
I couldn’t bear to be one of those people, who talk about how important it is to try these things and then not try them myself. If I was going to work on the assumption that nothing would work and no one was interested, I could have stayed in my jammies from November onwards. And ‘I promise to do my best’ must also include the days when it’s blowing a hooley. And at least my never ending battle with the brolly was amusing passers by.
I went through these arguments many times during the first 15 minutes I spent on the highstreet. On my own.
But then people began to arrive. Teeth gritted to the wind, hands clamped to beanie hats, people braved the weather and came to join us. In the end there were five of us. And I thought, if there are five people prepared to wrap themselves up in fleece and come out in this because they agree with this sentiment, then it’s a sentiment worth speaking up about.
And wet jeans or otherwise, it has been a good day.