Parrots, canvassing and factsheets

Friday saw the latest guest post from me for Lib Dem Voice. Here’s what I wrote:

Parrots feature more often in canvassing that you might expect. 

A few years back, Kelly-Marie Blundell revealed her canvassing experience one day in Guildford:

Canvassing flats, often elderly people will call out through the door before opening as a measure of precaution. When I was canvassing some flats in Guildford, I knocked on one such door, or so I thought.

‘Excuse me, can I help you?’ came the thin, elderly lady’s voice. I replied, ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie Blundell and I am your…’

But then she repeated it, speaking over me. So I spoke a little louder and clearer, presuming she was hard of hearing. ‘Yes, my name is Kelly-Marie…’ Then I heard it again, ‘Excuse me can I help you?’

Rather baffled, I started again. ‘My name is Kelly-Marie…’

And then I heard a squawk. That’s right. The repeated phrase was clearly coming from a parrot!

I have, however, been taking a gamble and omitting references to parrots in many of the training sessions for new canvassers I’ve been helping with around the country in the last few weeks. What has been clear through all the sessions is just how many of our newer and not-so-new members are keen to get active and canvassing for the first time for this general election.

What has also been clear is how effective the central party’s pilot grassroots mobilisation project can be at getting those who sign up to our national petitions coming to such canvassing training and campaign briefing sessions. That is a huge potential resource of extra help to be tapped – and one to be trained up.

Which is why in addition to those parrot-free training sessions, I’ve also put together two concise factsheets – one on canvassing and one on delivering – to easily and quickly take new helpers through the basics.

Whether you are a new helper or a veteran hand, I hope you find them useful both for yourself and for your colleagues. And watch out for the parrots.

2 responses to “Parrots, canvassing and factsheets”

    • That wasn’t a smear – it was Margaret Thatcher being advised to make a joke. The Eastbourne by-election killed the joke and revived the parrot. By the way, the illustration that led me to this post appeared to show parrokeets, not parrots.

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