Monday, June 16, 2008

In Sleepy London Town There's Just No Place For...

Another weekend on the stump - I spent most of Thursday on a train to Edinburgh then in my car to get to Lumsden, where the local Post Office is threatened with having its opening hours cut back to just 6 hours per week as part of an 'outreach' service. There were over 50 people at the meeting - nearly a fifth of the village. I spoke, briefly, from the floor, but was there primarily to listen. What impressed me most was the determination of those present to work with the other villages affected, Rhynie and Kennethmont, to try and get a better deal from the Post office - no mean feat in a process which seems almost custom designed to pit community against community. How ironic that in an age where we're being told that public services will be reformed to fit our lifestyles, that some communities are now being told to fit their lives around drastically reduced Post Office services.

Friday was spent mostly in Ellon, for reasons I'll return to later, as was Saturday afternoon. Saturday morning was in Kintore meeting with an energetic couple who are trying to set up a community cafe. The afternoon was at the music festival and continental market in Ellon, mostly on the SNP branch bottle stall. I was intrigued to see that the headline act at the evening dance was an outfit called Big Vern and the Shootahs - I remember as a Stirling University fresher, dancing away to them at the ball in the Dunblane Hydro c. 14 years ago. I didn't stick around for the evening's carousing, but I'm sure a great time would have been had by all.

Over the last year, I've become quite adept at throwing stuff in a case for the weekend, but there are the occasional mishaps. Right now, for instance, I'm on a southbound train while my mobile sits obstinately in the hallway of my parents' house in Edinburgh. On the way up, I got to Edinburgh before realising that I'd left my black shoes back in London. Cue a quick stop-off in Perth for Thursday late night shopping so that I could avoid the indignity of turning up for meetings in brown shoes and a black suit. Anyway, no more, as all this travelling back and forward between London and Scotland is about to come to an end for me, at least for the moment.

Much as I've enjoyed London in the year I've been there, it's time to head back and get the Gordon campaign going in earnest. It's hard trying to fight a campaign from London - something I expect my Lib Dem opponent knows full well already and of which I intend to take full advantage in the months ahead. As others have observed, this is a highly winnable seat for the SNP, but the only way to turn good polls and local goodwill into votes is for the candidate to be living locally and bursting a gut - the sooner that happens, the greater will be the chances of success.

I dare say I'll have more to write about my year in London before I head back. I've had a fantastic time, made some great friends, and learned a lot more about Westminster and indeed myself. The move South gave me a shake-up I badly needed but wasn't going to get where I was and I'll be sorry in a lot of ways to leave that new life behind. However, I'm also quite excited at the prospect of the move. The hassles of viewing and buying a house I could see far enough, to be honest, but there's nothing I'd like more than to be the next MP for Gordon, and there's nothing like having the smell of possible success linger in your nostrils to get you psyched up!

So, it promises to be an eventful few weeks. Thanks to my efforts on Friday, I've also seen a couple of nice flats that might be in my price range. All I need now is the number of a good solicitor...

1 comment:

Richard Havers said...

Brown shoes
Don't make it
Brown shoes
Don't make it
Quit school
Why fake it?
Brown shoes
Don't make it . . .

Frank Zappa's song from 1967....