During a recent visit my elder son persuaded me to return to some minor political action. I had promised myself a break from Labour Party activism until the end of the summer; by this time the Party will hopefully have changed its leader. However my son pointed out that, if the UK votes to leave the European Community and I had done nothing to prevent it, I would be ashamed to face my grandchildren. Suitably provoked I joined the local ‘Labour In’ campaign leafleting on a Saturday morning in the local seaside town of Sheringham.
It would be hard to find a less promising place for the ‘Yes’ campaign than Sheringham. Like most North Norfolk coastal towns it has very few international links and is dominated by elderly retired voters – many of whom are xenophobic. It was no surprise to see leaflets refused or returned with a snarl – though most people were indifferent. Set against that, there was the occasional passer-by, often a younger woman, who congratulated us on what were doing. If the experience taught me anything it is that the ‘No’ vote is passionate and is not amenable to any reasoned argument. The provision of care of the elderly, probably the major concern in the area, would collapse without the foreign workforce, but no-one is in any mood to listen.
North Norfolk is not an easy place for thoughtful left-of–centre politics. Our efforts on the day were confused by the presence of a rival stall some twenty yards away. This had been organised by an organisation called ‘North Norfolk against the Cuts’. Many of the individuals actively campaigned against our excellent Labour candidate at the last election. We will need to keep our distance.
See the excellent comments below. My Welsh friend remarks
We have the Welsh Assembly Government election next month; the leaflet we received from the Welsh Conservatives contained two photographs and mentions of Jeremy Corbyn; the leaflet from Welsh Labour contained none.
From which I conclude that both parties seem him as a handicap to Labour’s chances of success in Wales.
He also asks who would I like as the next leader. Following his brilliant courageous House of Commons speech on Syria I would favour Hilary Benn.