Saturday, 26 April 2014

The day Europe came to Tonbridge & Malling

It was the Tonbridge & Malling European Action Day today, with three street stalls in our major town centres. But before the excitement officially began, we all gathered in West Malling High Street for a photo opportunity. 

We were joined by seven Conservative EU candidates of varying shades of scepticism as well as Sir John Stanley MP, Tom Tugendhat and the former MP for Gravesend. 

The poor voters of sleepy West Malling didn't quite know what had hit them. Nor, to be brutally honest, did they care.  In fact, the shops directly opposite the street stall sent a note of thanks; foot fall on this traditionally sub-prime retail side of the High Street had never been higher. 

Our candidates were corralled along the railings for a photo op with me the other side of the street with a camera, having first checked there were no "closing down sale" or "end of season clearance bargain" posters in the shop window behind. "It looks like the line-up for the firing squad" shouted one witty motorist as I took aim. 

The group then divided into three, with group one remaining in West Malling, group two to Tonbridge High Street and the third group to Edenbridge.  I thought the equal sharing of misery was the best approach - after all, why should West Malling have all the fun?   Sir John and Lady Stanley, Tom Tugendhat and me following behind - like a camel train. 

When I arrived at Tonbridge there was an altercation taking place; apparently the Christian Healers did not like sharing the bridge with Conservatives in search of the faithful. Jon Botten was leading our side of the negotiations and showing all the diplomatic and interpersonal skills he has learnt from me over the last two years. "I am sure Jesus wouldn't mind which side of the bridge we stood on" I heard him say. The Christian Healers moved their attention to me. Perhaps being married to a vicar gave me the aura of benevolence?  "Have you tried the power of prayer to help you" one enquired.  Apparently, when Tonbridge was flooding over Christmas, they had gathered on the bridge and prayed for the waters to subside.... "and two weeks later, the waters drained away."  I asked if they had a payer to make Mr Farage drain away, but they didn't seem to have a solution.

Out came the correx posters and the camera. "These posters have been in more photo opportunities than Nirj Deva" I said. "Don't be ridiculous, Linda Lusardi hasn't been in as many photo opportunities as Nirj" said one of the candidates (before begging me not to name him on the blog). "Which way shall we turn?"  First they faced south.. "I don't think we should have a castle in the background, might send the wrong message".  Next they faced north. "Now the sun is in the wrong position."  "Let's face the river with the High Street behind", I suggested. They all turned again.  It was European version of RiverDance to the tune of Ode to Joy. 

Next stop Paddock Wood. 

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