Leafleting for the Liberal Democrats

19Apr10

So in what has been a whirlwind week and a bit I have now graduated into the world of politics. I’ve been leafleting.

Last week I had dinner with the Rutland and Melton Liberal Democrats and took a few thousand (or so it seems) leaflets off their hands along with a list of streets in my town. You may remember how I turned down the opportunity to buy a device which seamlessly gets your leaflet through a letterbox without fear of hedgehog crumpling or indeed quadruped abuse. I say quadruped because from experience of owning a cat it would be very unfair to blame all mangled flyers dripping in animal slobber waiting to be stepped on in bare feet on a dog. My cat relishes the opportunity to attack naïve fingers as they peek through the letterbox and chew on the corners of kebab shop flyers, then make a nest out of them and then lose interest and go for unsuspecting pondlife/moths etc. Anyway – I wish I’d bought one now.

So I set off yesterday afternoon in the glorious sunshine wearing a plastic yellow beaded necklace I haven’t worn since I was 19 and an undergraduate for want of a rosette (only I don’t want a rosette because I’m not interested in looking like an overgrown member of the Ponyclub). I had a green canvas bag slung over my shoulder piled full of carefully folded leaflets all of whom needed a home.

My first leaflet was a triumph. Straight through the letterbox in one fell swoop before floating gently down to land on the doormat. It looked ethereal and magical through the frosted glass door panel. I was literally gushing with pride. By this point I had been watching through some poor biddy’s front door lower glass panel and if they were at home, I probably looked rather menacing which is entirely the opposite effect I was going for.

The next one was less of a success because I had to encounter The Hedgehog. Now, a hedgehog is the name for one of those brush things people inexplicably affix to their letterboxes. Why? Nobody knows. It is one of those weird truths that is taken as a given… like the monks who each have a piece of the recipe for buckfast not being allowed to fly on the same plane.

Anyway, the hedgehog was sufficiently stiff and unyielding to completely squash my leaflet. Unfortunately it was so far through, I considered for a moment that on the other side of the door some cruel person was sitting waiting for hapless marketers such as myself to have their plans for pristine leaflet distribution ruined like so many car bonnets under a popular tree branch. There’s probably a website full of home videos of poor little hands wriggling through inhospitable letterboxes while the cameraman chuckles evilly.

Needless to say, I thrust it through and ran away. I felt very ashamed and could hear the voices behind the door saying;

Well! If that’s how the Liberal Democrats post their leaflets they’re certainly not getting my vote.

The rest of the council estate carried on as normal. A lot of curtain-twitchers. I chose to counteract their curtain-twitching with a broad smile and a wave. My tactic in all honestly could go one of two ways. Either they think I’m mental and don’t even bother to look at what I’ve posted… or they think I’m mental and reigniting the Monster Raving Looney Party (RIP Lord Such).

Or they could just look at the leaflet but I know how unappealing flyers can be having had so many of them thrust down various openings in clothing and into facial orifices outside Manchester’s Arndale Centre. I really do hope they read it though.

By this point my knuckles are beginning to resemble a Bond villain’s face after the big scuffle and car chase and the hedgehogs are goading me with every lift of a little bronze flap. So rather than struggle, I’m just shoving my hand through to make the best of what will inevitably be a bad job. Remember I have literally THOUSANDS to deliver and so artisan care cannot be administered to every single delivery. I know the intelligent, fair, democratic electorate will believe me.

So I get into a new habit of posting my hand each time and not just the paper (obviously I retract my hand each time after releasing the leaflet). So I come to a very ordinary house and a very ordinary door. I push my hand through and think to myself;

Mmm, what a warm, moist house.

Wait….

BARK BARK BARK!

What I considered to be a warm, moist house was in fact warm, moist dog breath. So now I’m not only having to worry about exfoliating several layers of skin off my right hand, but I also have to worry about the lack of skin being the least of my worries after being beaten to the post by lack of limbs.

The scariest of all the houses I delivered to was not one of the ones which had BEWARE OF BULL TERRIER plastered on the frosted glass panel. Nor was it one of the ones with an actual Bull Terrior in the front garden snarling at me with those beady black eyes. The scariest house had a squeaky gate, drawn curtains and dusty windows plus piles of rubbish in the front garden including some very unwell looking Santa Clauses with various missing appendages. The letterbox was very stiff and stuffed with kebab shop flyers. Nobody had used the door in a very long time. I thought I’d better make a move before a zombie answered the door (and believe me, there are enough of the living dead in Rutland already without me having to make acquaintances with another).

I only met two actual people even though I saw a lot of people in their front rooms on a beautiful Sunday afternoon watching television. The first was a woman who was seemingly sweeping her gravel driveway. I offered her a leaflet and she accepted it with the sort of smile akin to a world-weary primary school teacher being given yet another worm from the playground (I know that withering look so well).

The second was a man who had watched me leaflet most of his little street. I could feel him watching me so strode up and gave him a leaflet, feeling rather proud of being the standard bearer for a cause I agree to whole-heartedly with.

Aye. So who do you want me to vote for then?

Uhhh! Shit! Quick! Look at the paper. The Liberal Democrats. That looked verrrry unconvincing.

The man have me a shifty look and I steeled myself for the inevitable barrage of disapproval.

Hmmm. Nice one, ducky! I’m quite keen on them.

Hurray! Although it doesn’t look very good if I don’t remember what they are called, does it. I mean… OF COURSE I know who the Liberal Democrats are, I’m not completely stupid. I’m handing out election material on their behalf because I want them to get elected, I am just extraordinarily daft and struggle under questioning. This is why I am a journalist. I am very good at asking questions but give me a question to answer and I’m easily flummoxed.

In all, a good haul. Rutland has thusfar been extremely obliging to me on my little quest to promote our Lib Dem candidate Grahame Hudson and it is cheering to see so much support. If you see a 20-something black-haired girl looking stupidly cheerful with a big green bag of leaflets crunching up your drive then please don’t throw anything at me. And please have the foresight to trim your hedgehogs. My hands are killing me today.

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