Stalls yesterday

We were on Feltham High Street yesterday morning and in Hounslow West yesterday afternoon.  I got to meet a lot of people in both places.  I met a lot more at the latter who were still thinking about who to support whereas the residents I spoke with in Feltham were firmer about whether they were going to support or oppose me. Fortunately, more were in favour than against.  I take huge satisfaction when people tell me that they used to be Labour but will support me at the election.  Only received abuse twice and unfortunately one man swore at me in front of my wife, which is something I do not appreciate.

It [me living in Feltham North] continues to be an advantage when I am out and about in Feltham.  It is crucial I continue to work all areas of the constituency.

Used the Loud Hailer a little bit and gladly introduced myself as the local candidate and the one best placed to beat Labour.

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8 Responses to “Stalls yesterday”

  1. Mark Savage Says:

    Sorry not to have seen or heard your efforts in the High Street yesterday, Mark; I was too busy enjoying Steve Davis’s astounding match at The Crucible in Sheffield to be there!

    I find swearing in public highly offensive too- and even more so when it gets as personal as it sounded yesterday. Unfortunately though, politics so often seems not to take into account the first six letters of that word and stay polite. does it. At least to your credit, you’ve mostly tried to remain polite and haven’t adopted “knocking copy” too much.

    Talking of Sheffield, though, especially one of its representatives in the previous parliament who’s become rather more prominent in the last ten days, you’ve said little about the Liberal Democrats, other than pushing the sad old line that they can’t win here in Feltham and Heston. Maybe not- but they may well increase their share of the vote- and surely that’s got to be taken seriously? Incidentally, while I’m tending towards them, I remain undecided myself on where to place my cross(es) on May 6th- let’s not forget we in this borough have the privilege of voting for both local and national governments on the same day, with four choices of representative.

    While the only poll that matters will be on May 6th, most other indications would suggest you can’t take anything for granted any more. And that’s the way it should be, in a democracy. I wonder if your views on voting reform and similar issues have changed in recent weeks?

    I look forward to hearing your views and answers to salient questions, along with Elizabeth Anstiss and Alan Keen, at the Election Hustings at The Vineyard Centre, Browells Lane, Feltham (opposite Leisure West) on Friday, April 30th, from 8- 9.30. This event is organised by the churches of Feltham, but is open to all.

    • Mark Bowen Says:

      It is interesting that one supporter suggested to me yesterday that I have not pushed enough that I am the only candidate who can beat Alan Keen and that I have been too polite in my literature.

      I take all nine of my opponents seriously. My extremely hard working campaign is indicative of that. But I still maintain that this contest is between Alan Keen and I. I accept and respect that you do not like that point of view. Only Labour and Conservatives have got out more than one piece of literature in this constituency. Labour have had a lot delivered through direct mailing, whereas the Conservatives have got out a load of material on foot for some time.

      I am interested to know what you think of the Lib Dem campaign in Feltham and Heston thus far? The Lib Dem candidate was selected as a General Election candidate before me. See the comments here.

      One of the key things I need to ask every voter to ask themselves is which candidate has (i) the best local record, (ii) worked this campaign the hardest and (iii) would be the best and most hard working advocate for the constituency?

      My views on voting reform have not changed.

  2. mycardiff Says:

    Mark, I think the fact that you actually live in your constituency has to count for a huge amount. It’s always struck me as bizarre that someone can think him or herself suitable to represent a community in Parliament when they don’t even live there. How in that sitaution can you have a proper feel for the issues that community faces? Keep up the good work mate – and don’t let bad language get you down. It’s unfortunate and of course unacceptable, but it goes with the territory when you put your head above any parapet.

  3. Mark Fielder Says:

    I’m always amazed that various political parties consider a piece of paper through the letterbox as sufficient campaigning. So far, the best communications have been from the Conservatives, from Mark and also my local councillors. Just one leaflet from Alan Keen and another from the Green Party. Nothing from the LibDems or the others.

  4. Mark Savage Says:

    There’s an awful lot of Marks around at present, aren’t there- it makes life somewhat confusing, so I might refer to you as MB while you strive to be an MP!

    I would say, MB, you are the most likely candidate to beat Alan Keen, but that’s not the same as the only candidate that can beat him. Surely, if democracy means anything, it has to mean that the electorate can surprise in the most unlikely of ways- like when (and I think I may have mentioned this before) Hove went from being true blue to red in 1997- yet many folk would have said that could never happen. I can see however, we’re not going to agree on this one, so I won’t push it with you as an individual here, though it might come up again at the hustings.

    I would also say, genuinely, that on evidence so far, you have by far the best active knowledge of your prospective constituency and constituents, Mark. On your local record, you are second to none and it’s extremely unlikely now that you won’t get one of my councillor votes.

    You also live in this constituency and in your ward- both commendable. You also come across as anything but a ‘typical tory’ to your credit.

    That being said, I think the point that mycardiff makes (good old Caerdydd- did my degree there!) is right to some extent, but I think we have to also use a certain amount of common sense here.

    By which I mean, Ann and Alan Keen had/have their nominal family home in Brentford. Now I’m not going to push the Mr and Mrs Expenses line here, of how much time they may or may not have spent there to justify that claim. But surely, MB, given that they are husband and wife, if they had consistently lived there, it wouldn’t really be fair to criticise Alan doing so, would it? Brentford is only just outside his constituency boundary, and you’d hardly expect him to live away from his wife for the sake of being an MP living in his constituency.

    The ideal, yes, is for any representative to live in their constituency both before and after their election- but inevitably that won’t always be possible, or maybe even desirable if it means separation from family, for instance. I think I’m satisfied enough too, just, with Manira Wilson (the Lib Dem candidate) already representing Twickenham West in our neighbouring borough of Richmond upon Thames, i.e. just outside Hanworth and therefore part of the Feltham and Heston Constituency- Feltham is hardly going to be unknown territory to her as surely we all visit our neighbouring towns from time to time! That being said, I’m rather more puzzled as to why her residential address is in neither borough, but in Southall!

    About the BNP, UKIP and the Workers’ Revolutionary Party Candiates, whose literature was received via Royal Mail this morning, the least said the better. It sounds dreadfully patronising of me to say it as a fifty year old, but I can’t help feeling the WRP lad is just playing at politics and taking advantage of the fact you can now stand for parliament at eighteen- he’s twenty- whereas it used to be 21. The irony is, he’s campaigning for free student tuition etc, but presumably somehow or other has found, what, a thousand pounds or so, as a deposit he’s bound to lose! Still, that’s the joy of democracy!

    I think we may have had something through the post from the Lib Dems, but it can hardly be memorable! And Manira has only just got round to answering the questions I sent you three weeks ago and, to your credit, you answered straight away, Mark!

    Nevertheless, until your ‘boss’ will admit the folly of the present voting system and concede at least some sort of reform, regrettably I might have to make a different choice to my ideal under the present system. You can make of that what you will, MB!

    Keep up the good work, though.

    • Mark Bowen Says:

      Ever since I started taking an interest in politics I have always believed that a Member of Parliament should reside within their constituency. It is an example of something where I probably feel stronger than the electorate as a whole. Candidates not from a constituency can, and should, pledge to live there if elected.

      Another two people have in the past stated that he is married to another MP so they should not have to live apart. However, what neither of those said was that Mr Keen was first elected in 1992 and his wife in 1997. Had I been him, I would have moved to live in Feltham and Heston in 1992.

      In fairness, to Councillor Munira Wilson, the contact address she has given is in the Heston West ward. However, I am aware of no pledge to move in and the current address is, as you say, in Twickenham.

  5. Mark Savage Says:

    So do you think, Mark, that it should be a legal requirement for an MP to have their main home in the constituency they represent (ignoring for the moment all the issues that arose over this in the last parliament!)?

    I seem to recall that some years ago, it was a legal requirement for local councillors to actually live in the local authority area they wished to represent (though I may be wrong on this), so it seems only reasonable for a similar policy to apply to national representation. The difficulty though of course arises as to whether they should have been living there for six months (say) prior to an election being called- rather like the old requirement for marriage in a particular parish- or subsequent to election. Would you not agree that there has got to be some flexibility, otherwise the choice of candidates would become somewhat artificially determined?

    Incidentally, I see your original posting here, and subsequent responses from it particularly from me, have made it into the on-line version of the Chronicle. I’m a little perturbed that Jessica- a journalist who is certainly getting Feltham more of a high profile in what is supposed to be the local rag- chose to quote me without asking my permission, but I guess that’s between me and her!

    I post on this blog because it’s interesting, local, topical and relevant. But I should still make it clear that this does not mean at all that I will be casting my vote for Robert Mark Bowen as our new MP on 6th May. On that I am still decidedly undecided- other readers please note.!

    • Mark Bowen Says:

      I do not think that it should be a legal requirement but I know that I could not serve a constituency without pledging to live within it as its MP.

      To be a Councillor it remains a legal requirement to live or work within the Borough on which they wish to serve.

      As for the article, I was concerned about the excessive focus on one man swearing at me and I really hope that people do not get the impression that it was typical of the day because it was not. I was also very disappointed that she referred to me as being “crestfallen”, when the truth is I have fought the most buoyant campaign of all the candidates in this constituency.

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