This morning I met Simon Heffer. Boris may have encouraged him to stand for parliament but I was not impressed.
I left home at 5.30am and joined local Conservative Council candidates at Chelmsford station by 7am to hand out leaflets at one of the main commuter stations into London. We were there one evening last week meeting people on their way home.
This morning's campaigning was well received - over half the people we approached took our leaflet, I had to pop back to the car to reload. I was even told more than once that as we were the only party they had seen they would vote for us.
By around 8.30am the mass of hard working commuters had gone on their and the team went for a coffee and bacon sarnie. NO Expenses.
So it was well outside normal commuting hours when a 4x4 rolled up and Mr Heffer huffed out of the passenger seat.
I have a friend (just one, admittedly) who hangs onto every word Heffer writes. I wanted to say hello. I bounced up to the car, with a smile and held out my hand - "Mr Heffer, I am Vicky Ford, one of the Conservative Candidates in Thursday's election. I live near Saffron Walden" (that's the seat he thinks he wants to win from the Tories in the next general election). I offered him our LOCAL election leaflet. Mr Heffer stared at me in dismay - or was it disgust? He pushed aside the leaflet, announced he would be voting elsewhere and marched off.
He could certainly improve his people skills! Dare I say it, he could learn a lot from Tony Juniper of the Green Party (and sometime adviser to the Conservatives), with whom I shared a Platform at the Cambridge Hustings last night.
Politics is team work - from the very local to the national and international level This evening at Shenfield Station as well as questions on EU "In or OUT" - I was asked questions about how to deal with harassment on Brentwood High Street, local planning issues and the head of the local swimming club wanted to discuss the issues with "free swimming" policy. One local councillor discussed what he is doing with the police on the harassment issue (they left happy), the swimmer had an in depth chat with a board member from the pool (ditto happy) and we all had a heated debate about the planning issue. OK sometimes our team is not perfect, but when it works it is a million times better than a huffy independent.