I spent several hours today distributing my election leaflet in Morley South (I will post it on this blog over the next few days).
I had heard that the extreme-left were going to be in town distributing their hate material against me so I was interested to see if we would bump into any of the fellows during the day.
Sure enough, as I was leafleting up Peel Street I noticed a couple of leafleters coming down towards us.
"Are these the reds?" I mused, as I quickly and instinctively scanned them for the tell-tale signs that betray such people long before one sees the literature they are distributing.
The first thing I noticed was that the leafleter closest to me; a male, was sporting a rather incongruous combination of a hat and shades, wholly inappropriate for the prevailing weather conditions (it was gloomy and raining). I took this attire to be an attempt at a partial disguise, which I have found that reds are often fond of when in public.
There was nothing obviously freakish about him or his colleague (a female), though their demeanour was the second factor which betrayed their identity. They were simply too interested in getting a look at us and working out who we were. Reds often look sheepish and out-of-place when they are out leafleting in areas with a good patriotic voter base, and these two were no exception.
People out delivering pizza menus or even leaflets for other parties (leafleters for other parties will be very used to seeing me out leafleting too) will not usually give other leafleters a second glance.
I found myself waiting at the end of one garden for the 'disguised' chap to exit the garden so that I could go and post my leaflet through, and the following exchange followed:
Me: "Morning." (Good old English civility beats Marxist brutishness everytime.)I have no idea if the 'hmm' signified reconition of who I was and the consequent silliness of his question or something else altogether.
'Disguised' Chap: "Are those Labour leaflets you are delivering?" ( I was trying to keep my leaflets dry by holding them under the bottom of my jacket. A small part of the mainly red leaflet must have been protruding.)
Me: "Not quite!"
'Disguised' Chap: "Hmm."
We had a good chuckle about this afterwards and it reminded me of being in my first year of Leeds University and attending a meeting in the Student Union at which the extreme-left (they called themselves ANaL in those days; goodness that makes me sound old) were trying to get me expelled from the union and agitating for my fellow students to refuse to be taught alongside me.
I went along to the meeting and voted (I'm not telling you how I voted - that's secret) on the motion in question and the reds did not give me a second glance. They did not give me a second glance because they knew nothing at all about me, including what I looked like, though this did not stop them from trying to make my university life hell*.
They failed miserable, I hasten to add, and their motion failed on the day, but I was reminded of this episode today by the red who came to Morley to spread his hate about me despite clearly not knowing anything about me or even being able to recognise me in the street.
A good section of the ward was leafleted today so many thanks to those who turned up to help, including the reds, whose pathetic attempt at a smear leaflet will simply remind the people of Morley South that I am still very much about and standing in this election and that I am regarded as a threat by the extreme-left.
*At that meeting I was 'defended' by the Free Speech Society and a certain Mark Collett, with whom I would go on to be good friends, but the story of our campus-based red-bothering antics is one for another day.