Blogging tough

I have found it very difficult to update my blog over the past couple of days.  As anyone can imagine, it is a very intense period, probably the most intense of my life.  It is hard going but really well worth it, whatever the result.  But I do believe that ‘Mark Can Win’!

During the past couple of days:

1) Hustings

It was the first hustings of the campaign, indeed the first I have been involved with in Feltham and Heston.  A good turnout – I would say up to 200 people were there.  A lot of the people present were already supporting one party/candidate.   I thought that the event was very well run and I wish everyone involved with organising the event the very best for the future.

I was satisfied from a personal point of view with how it went.  Naturally, I was keen to get across that I am the local candidate who believes in this area.  I was also determined to answer from a personal view and not give anyone an impression that I was just quoting from the manifesto.  There were a couple of points that were made where I would like to have responded but time did not make this possible.

I think it is fair to say that my anger with Labour came across when immigration was discussed.  Whether it went down well with a majority or not, I am glad I was able to express my views in a way I would like others to have done so previously.  I have no time at all for the way that Labour have failed in this area and the damage that this has caused as a result.

A number of people spoke with me afterwards – some pleased and others disagreed with some of what I said.  I was keen to get across to one Heston resident that I would work flat out for the entire constituency.  Yes, I talk about Feltham North but everyone can expect what I am offering!

2) Stalls

I was out and about in Feltham and Hounslow West yesterday.  I am very optimistic about the response I am receiving. Lots of non-Conservatives are very receptive to my argument that having an MP who lives locally is a very good idea.  A handful asked me direct questions where my answer was not their preferred position but they were grateful for an honest answer.  Honesty first – even before popularity!

Back to the Campaign!

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4 Responses to “Blogging tough”

  1. mycardiff Says:

    Keep up the good work Mark. As I’ve said before, if the people of the Feltham and Heston constituency want one of their own to truly put their needs and interests first, then they will return you. I think it would be healthy for British politics if more votes were cast because of what the individual can offer rather than his/her party allegiance.

  2. Mark Savage Says:

    I agree very much with what mycardiff says in his last sentence- except that’s part of the problem isn’t it? Individual opinions are stifled far too much by the current whipped system of the House of Commons.

    Mark, you’ve been very honest and upfront about your own views on electoral reform, but they seem to be going very much against the tide of popular opinion. At present, the media view seems to be that we will be faced with a hung parliament on Friday morning- or should I say afternoon as no doubt it will take until then for all those far-flung but important outposts such as the Shetlands to be counted!

    Should DC become TC- Top Cat- (sorry, must have some levity along the way, mustn’t we) leading a minority government, or even more one that is in alliance with other parties. won’t you be under more pressure than ever to toe the party line, than you would be with a Tory majority? I can’t think of a specific local example at present where local interests in Feltham and Heston might be different (thank heavens Conservative policy is anti runway 3!), but I’m sure there could well be a case where it would happen. I wonder how much your fine words would mean then, unless it was a free vote issue?

    On the other hand, your experience as Deputy Leader of a “NOCkie” council may well prove very useful in such a situation, do you perhaps think? I would add though that has been one aspect of your otherwise excellent campaign both as councillor and PPC that grates.

    Our council for the past four years has been Conservative-DOMINATED but NOT controlled. Generally I’ve had no problem with that- the achievements of Hounslow Council 2006-10 should be lauded with some exceptions (you well know what they are in my view!), but shouldn’t you be honest- something you make great play of- and admit that the council has had no overall control during this period and this may well have been why it has been such a good period for local government in the borough generally?

    Nominally, at least, you’ve still had to rely on the support of independents and the Lib Dem minority so please don’t underplay that. There was apparently a piece on the Politics Show London yesterday ( it was on earlier than usual so I missed it as I was at church) referring to Hounslow as one of five London councils which is a coalition, not minority government. This is a particularly important issue which I think you could have been clearer about in your leafletting. It could be argued that the Conservatives have not “led” Hounslow council since 2006, or is that just semantics? Hasn’t it been more of a relay race with other representatives?

    That being said, as I type this, three lads none of whom look more than 23 are trudging the showery streets of TW14 delivering what are presumably the last tranche of communications from you. It’s really encouraging, says the fifty year old suddenly feeling very old, to see young people taking such an enthusiastic, active role in the campaign.

    The local leaflet was generally very good- Tories are all but guaranteed my local vote, except that perhaps almost to spite your “nah nah nah nah nah” bit about the Lib Dems, I shall be giving them one of my council votes even if Doug Edwards isn’t elected in Feltham North. People are tired of the arrogant certainties of would be politicians, so a little more humility on that might have been in order.

    As to Labour locally by the way- say no more. I responded to their leaflet using a FREEPOST address with several questions for their prospective councillors. They haven’t even bothered to reply. Therefore, for the same reason as in 2006, they will not be getting any vote from me for Hounslow Council. It’s pathetic they have become so complacent.

    Finally, Mark, though the hustings on Friday were very good generally and you put up a good performance, could I suggest that you came across as way too pompous at times, thus losing marks (pardon the pun) in my estimation, by your pedantry in referring to “Councillor Wilson”. Apart from causing some confusion here, where we have our own Councillor Wilson of course, her councillorship is in a neighbouring borough, not our own. Would it not have been better to refer to all the candidates as plain Mr, Mrs, Ms or whatever?

    Not only that, but in relation to one questioner or commenter from the audience who referred to the previous period of Conservative rule, you were very dismissive about the past. The past DOES matter, very much so. It might be less significant to younger voters, but it’s only 13 years since John Major was in power and those five years saw some very poor Tory actions and opinions which affected both me and many of my friends, especially homeowners. Whilst Harold Macmillan famously made his comment about “events, dear boy”, surely it is reasonable for people to ponder carefully how your party handled those times before placing a cross against your name for this election. It’s the strongest caveat for me about doing so, and you and sadly your party as a whole have failed to provide sufficient evidence that the blue leopard (up a tree, at least!) has changed his spots.

    Incidentally, I’ve just had to write to Jessica Thompson at the Chronicle to correct some, sadly, very sloppy reporting of the hustings.

    Don’t know if this will be my last comment on your blog before Thursday, but I hope you’ll have an enjoyable last few days, and a great night on Thursday. Enjoy it, whatever the outcome, and as you thoughtfully said yourself I think fairly sincerely at the end of Friday’s church-hosted hustings, God Bless.

    • Mark Bowen Says:

      “but shouldn’t you be honest- something you make great play of- and admit that the council has had no overall control during this period and this may well have been why it has been such a good period for local government in the borough generally?”

      I have enjoyed working with the Community Group and have said so previously on this blog and elsewhere.

      “Finally, Mark, though the hustings on Friday were very good generally and you put up a good performance, could I suggest that you came across as way too pompous at times, thus losing marks (pardon the pun) in my estimation, by your pedantry in referring to “Councillor Wilson”. Apart from causing some confusion here, where we have our own Councillor Wilson of course, her councillorship is in a neighbouring borough, not our own. Would it not have been better to refer to all the candidates as plain Mr, Mrs, Ms or whatever?”

      I have not been called Pompous before but have noted your feedback. I think that I was right to recognise that Munira Wilson has a title, albeit earned in another Borough. She called me Councillor Bowen so it is only right that I return the compliment. Also, the organisers referred to her as Councillor also.

      “Not only that, but in relation to one questioner or commenter from the audience who referred to the previous period of Conservative rule, you were very dismissive about the past. The past DOES matter, very much so. It might be less significant to younger voters, but it’s only 13 years since John Major was in power and those five years saw some very poor Tory actions and opinions which affected both me and many of my friends, especially homeowners.”

      The question was aimed at me and it was on the lines me giving an assurance we would not return to the Thatcherite days. When she became Prime Minister, I was four years of age and said so.

      Don’t forget my closing remarks and question to the voters. Which candidate will be the hardest working MP for this constituency?

  3. Mark Savage Says:

    Thanks for your prompt reply, Mark, on what is no doubt a very busy day for you- no holidays for prospective parliamentarians, eh. You’d have thought that governments- any governments that have called elections in the last thirty years, would try to avoid Bank Holiday periods, wouldn’t you; this one was called the day after Easter, and takes in the Mayday holiday!

    Well I’m glad to hear you enjoyed working with the Community Group, but it would have been nice to see that acknowledged in your election literature, even if you have done so on the blog.

    The pompous bit came across when I think you corrected someone else- sorry I can’t remember exactly who- in referring to Councillor Wilson. If Fr Chris in the chair was also using that title consistently, then I guess it’s fair enough, but otherwise, dare I suggest it came across as rather too formal- maybe that would have been a better word.

    I’ve been called pompous myself from time to time Mark, and I recognise this failing in myself, so I didn’t intend it too personally, but the point is that the luxury of the title of councillor, in most people’s thinking I would say is restricted to their active time in office. Unlike the old term ‘Alderman’, which as you may know is still used in the City of London, its not an honorific intended to be borne for life. Perhaps Father Chris too would have been better referring to you all by normal everyday titles, as I think it would have rather levelled the playing field to how it should be- you are, after all, when standing for parliament just an ordinary Joe or Josephine competing for our vote and titles mean little.

    Still, perhaps I’ve ‘laboured’ the point on that one a bit!

    You mention that you were only four years old when Margaret Thatcher came to office. I heard you say that on Friday too, and I was a little puzzled. Margaret Thatcher’s office as Prime Minister started- maybe significantly?- in this very same week in 1979, i.e thirty-one years ago. I must have picked up some duff information then, in thinking you were in your forties, in which case politics must be taking a hard toll on your appearance- or a copywriter on your biogs needs to be sacked!

    If you are just 34 or 35, then I’d say it’s really nice to have someone so much younger than the previous incumbent standing for office. Nevertheless, I don’t think the excuse of your own relatively young age means that people’s legitimate experience and memories of previous Tory administrations should not be very seriously considered by you in understanding their/our reluctance to vote Conservative, even if you might be considered the best constituency representative. I presume too that you’ve heard Lady T’s own summation of DC, which is hardly complimentary. And presumably not a view you share!

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