It’s an unseasonably warm Tuesday evening and I have sought solace in a local pub to write this, my second blog entry.

I’m reflecting on what has happened since last week; a successful fundraising event, delivery of my first proper campaign leaflet and the feedback from the first of my blogs.

I’d like to say a big ‘thank you’ to those who emailed, tweeted or left comments after the previous entry. There were questions from people asking how I was selected, what policies I would be championing for the constituency and, I guess inevitably, questions regarding money and expenses.

It is very clear to me that the shadow cast by the expenses scandal, which was rightfully exposed by the Daily Telegraph back in 2009, still covers all of us who actively engage in politics. In some of the messages I’ve had I’ve been asked whether or not I’d ‘flip’ my home (which I think would rather frustrate my landlord), how many moats I have to clear and what sort of house my paddling (I looked it up) of ducks require.

This rampant distrust of the political class is a real issue for our democracy and one we are going to have to discuss. It’s not new. A look at the work of the Grub Street authors or the satirists of the 1960s will demonstrate previous examples of the eyebrow raised at the political classes. But it does feel somehow deeper and more widespread of late.

I experienced this feeling during a canvassing session this week. I got chatting with a man in his late twenties who had absolutely no intention of voting at the coming election. “What’s the point?” he argued in that worryingly familiar Russell Brand-esque way.

I launched into a rather patronising diatribe about the fact that people died for the right to vote; that we owe it to those who gave so much and that it is the only way to secure change etc. It really wasn’t until I paused for air during the delivery of my oft used retort that I noticed he had completely glazed over. Gone. Not there at all. Politely listening to me but thinking about something much more important like Celebrity Master Chef or why glue doesn’t stick to the inside of its tube.

I mean, I’m right. All of those things I said, say and feel are, I truly believe, correct. We are still fighting for full universal sufferance where everybody is equal and that is a struggle with which we must continue. Gender, racial or sexual equality and so on … this is important stuff! But what I saw in this guy’s face was a look of patient frustration. So, unusually for me, I decided to shut up and have a listen.

It didn’t take long to get a better understanding of his life and particular situation. He is one half of a young couple, no kids yet but they are planning for some soon when the conditions are right.

“What would those conditions look like?” I asked.

His answer ranged from the availability of housing to childcare costs; he discussed the hours he had to work and the financial pressures faced by his family. I responded by explaining the things my party were proposing and how it would help. But every time we got back to policy or politics he seemed to become frustrated. The simple fact is that, for him, politics did not provide a solution to the day-to-day challenges he faced. He was turned off and tuned out.

When you are out campaigning you carry little sheets where you mark down the voting intentions of those you’ve spoken with (more on the art and mechanics of campaigning at another time). I had to mark this chap down as an ’N’ or ‘Not Voting’. My shivering hand scrawled ‘Revisit’ next to his name. I want to go away, think up a devastatingly brilliant argument and return to his house to provide a Road to Damascus-like flash of inspiration. But I won’t. I can’t.

Two doors down I met a person who is passionate about immigration, the door after that it was the NHS, then it was interest rates and how it was affecting savings. And so on … by the time I’d finished I’d marked ‘N’ and ‘Revisit’ next to six names on one street. That is a lot of revisiting for one morning’s work.

Every person I spoke with had a view, every person I spoke with had an issue but so many of them no longer believed politics was a useful way of engaging with those things that matter to them. It strikes me that, even at this early stage of the general election campaign individuals are far less party political than ever before. They see a smorgasbord of political offerings and, like you do at one of those all-you-can-eat restaurants, want to pick bits from each party to fit individual requirements. The trouble is that the party political system that we provide is more of a set menu.

So, as we enter into the Christmas period, I’m going to be thinking about how to craft a different message on the doorstep during the campaign in 2015. Believe it or not and despite how corny it sounds, I do believe that politics is important and that democratic political dialogue is the best chance we have for peace and fairness for all.

Right, I’ve finished my pint so I’ll head back out. I’m convinced the barman thinks I’m the PubSpy ... I do hope you have a merry Christmas and I’ll see (some of you) on the doorstep next year - you can let me know what you think.

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