Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Botten & Elks - Frightening residents all the time - not just at election time!

Well done to our two youngest candidates in Tonbridge & Malling, Benjamin Elks and our very own Director of Paperclips, Jon Botten.  Despite the dark nights and bitterly cold weather, they are out again on the doorsteps of Tonbridge's Medway ward tonight, chatting to residents and inviting people to participate in their local survey.

This is the tenth or twelth campaign session Jon and Ben have undertaken - and it's not even December! As you can see from the photo, poor Paperclip is suffering with a heavy cold, but he doesn't even let that stop him!  Jon and Ben (with support from their third colleague Russell Lancaster) have already knocked on around 1,000 doors!  Well done guys - you are an inspriation. You deserve to win.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

The Great Tunbridge Wells Bake Off

I received a message this morning from Cllr David Elliott, the popular and hard working Deputy Chairman (Political) of the Tunbridge Wells Conservative Association. 
"Hello Andrew, welcome back from Rochester. I will be in Paddock Wood at 10.30am
and I would like to pop-in, I have something for you..."

At 10.30am David arrived, clutching a tin. With a theatrical flourish he whipped off the lid and presented me with a selection of fairy cakes left over from the cake stall at Saturday's Conservative Christmas Bazaar ("don't worry - they've been in the freezer").

They cakes had been baked by another TW councillor and award winning local baker, Cllr Mike Rusbridge, and each was decorated with a photograph of Greg Clark MP or David Cameron!  

Is there no end to the talents of Conservative activists?


A new strategist joins the West Kent team

We were delighted yesterday to welcome a new political strategist and personal adviser to the West Kent team. This latest recruit comes with outstanding Parliamentary experience...

Charlie Grant was winner of the 2010 Westminster Dog of The Year award. He can be seen above with one ear listening to my latest presentation Voter ID strategy but both eyes focused firmly on Matt Boughton's ham sandwich. He clearly found the ham sandwich more interesting than my presentation.

Monday, 24 November 2014

The West Kent genius strikes again

The first day back and top of my list is to organise the West Kent Office Volunteers Christmas Thank You Lunch. 

The Director of Paperclips is looking at the office diary - I am online looking at availability at various local restaurants and pubs. 

Then comes the moment of genius...  

"Christmas Day is on 25 December this year." 

(and don't even ask about the ball of wool on his desk). 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Success has many fathers...

Regular visitors will know that I have not blogged for the last seven weeks, and deliberately so. Having been invited to help run the Rochester & Strood Parliamentary By Election I had no intention of publicly commenting on what we were doing, or posting anything which might help the opposition. This post will be my first and only comment on the campaign.

Already on Conservative Home and elsewhere there are the usual round of laptop warriors and anonymous commentators sharing their infinite wisdom on what we did wrong, why we lost and what we should have done differently. I suspect very few of them visited the constituency. However the team who fought Rochester were, more or less, the same team lauded as heroes after our success in Newark (and Norwich and Crewe & Nantwich before that).As the saying goes, "success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan."

From day one the polls put UKIPs lead in double figures, some as high as 15%. The actual result was was a UKIP margin of 7%. Had we pulled it off - and we only need to win back 35 Conservatives in each polling station to do so - I suspect many of the people who are happy to lob grenades from the comfort of anonymous blog posts would be elbowing their way to the front to try and share in the warm glow of success. 

The energy, commitment and dedication of those who run these by-elections is astounding and I salute them, as I salute the army of volunteers who came to help. It was fascinating to be involved and I was honoured to be part of the team.

Now, back to West Kent Towers - we have Christmas Draw reminders to dispatch. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

A picture speaks a thousand words....

A picture speaks a thousand words....

(or what happens when the folding machine jams)

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Mea Culpa

One of the many highlights of today was to welcome the Team 2015 Battle Bus, bringing 70 activists from London to assist Kelly's campaign. Their commitment, energy and enthusiasm was amazing and I look forward to their next visit.

It was also an honour to welcome Party Chairman Grant Shapps MP with Stephen Hammond MP (Wimbledon) as well as National Vice President Steve Bell, who all arrived with the bus.

Having arranged everyone for the team photo it was suggested that Steve Bell and I join the group. "Where should the ugly duo stand?" asked Steve. "I think the uglies should stand at this end," I said - slotting in at the end of the second row with Steve alongside me.  I was, of course, replying to Steve's comment and what I said was meant to be self deprecating. Unfortunately, the far from ugly lady standing next to me had only heard my part of the conversation and understandably took umbrage. "Charming", she said, bristling with anger. Stupidly I tried to explain, but as hard as I tried the worse I made it, and the more I blushed and stumbled. The situation was not helped by Bell muttering "you've done it now" under his breath, obviously delighting in my predicament.

Having enjoyed a bit of fun at the expense of a colleague last night, I suspect this is karma. However, in the hope that the lady with long auburn hair who I inadvertently offended is reading this blog, I thought I should at least try to explain. And apologise.

Friday, 24 October 2014

With friends like these...

The Campaign Centre where I am based is also responsible for bundling and distributing literature to the other Campaign Centres in the constituency. I am grateful to a small army of volunteers who come in almost daily to help with this work.

Earlier today I sent a note to a colleague to inform her that the latest leaflet was ready to collect. About an hour later I received a call to inform me that she had driven over and was waiting outside for her leaflets. Being a helpful chap I said I would bring them down on the trolley and help her load-up.

In reply to this she could have said thank you, or asked if I was sure, or said that she could manage. In fact, she could have said many things.  

But no - what she actually said was.....

"That's very kind, but isn't there anyone younger
who can do it."

Talking about kicking a man where it hurts!

Monday, 20 October 2014

A random act of kindness

I had an impromptu lunch break today with Chatham & Aylersford MP Tracey Crouch.

We were in a cafe many miles from her constituency, where she was unknown and unrecognised. At the adjoining table an elderly man was assisting his wheelchair bound wife to eat her lunch. Suddenly the lady let out a cry; her husband had accidentally knocked over a cup of coffee which had spilled over the table and was pouring onto the lady's legs.

Whilst everyone around stared or in some cases laughed, quick as a flash Tracey went over to help. She mopped-up the coffee than started using wet wipes from her bag to clean the lady's legs and clothes. Having ensured the lady wasn't burnt, she then reassured the confused and agitated husband, before returning to the counter to get a replacement drink.

This random act of compassion and kindness towards complete strangers, who didn't have a clue who she was and almost certainly wouldn't have a vote in her constituency, provide a real insight into Tracey's character. If anyone wonders why Tracey is so popular in her constituency and commands such loyalty from local members and activists, this is why.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Brighton's Most Wanted

Security patrols are on the look-out for a gang of slightly eccentric people; one with a odd haircut and wearing red Dr Martens, and another short balding man with a Sarf London accent and smelling of fag smoke, who were spotted by CCTV leaving the Chatham Dockside Outlet Centre via an escalator carrying correx poster boards.

A spokesperson for the board's rightful owner said, "if you see this bunch approach with extreme caution. They are essentially harmless but do have some strange habits, such as spending their weekends assaulting the ear drums of innocent residents in the Brighton, Lewes and surrounding areas."