Saturday, April 17, 2010

Making the surge to Nick work locally

Last nght's canvassing was fantastic. So many people said they'd seen Nick's performance on the debate and were going to vote for me because of it. They love our message of tax fairness and they agree with Nick!

On the opinion poll ratings we are now achieving, Ealing Central and Acton is one of the seats that is coloured gold on the swingomoter display behind Jeremy Vine's flailing arms. What we need to do to make that a reality is to get our message across to all those local people who didn't watch the debate. And that means continuing to deliver the message through local doors.

If you can help, please get in touch. The weather is lovely today for delivering leaflets. The current national surge to the Liberal Democrats represents a historic opportunity for us here in Ealing and Acton.  Let's seize it.


Acton Community Spirit said...

Hi Jon

I'm an archetypal Lib-Dem voter. I buy into 99% of your policies and it wouldn't even take a great deal to get me to stuff leaflets through a letterbox for you.

But I'm troubled by the thought of voting for you. I don't know what you stand for - your blog and Facebook page are hardly active, some assidous Googling has revealed that you are pro-lager and secularism, and your answers on ActonW3 were a little more informative.

And why didn't you even respond to requests for support or a standpoint on the recent Derwentwater parents campaign to oppose the council's plans to expand the local primary school? Having no voice on a local issue seems extraordinary when you're campaigning to represent local constituents in Westminster.

I'm concerned that you don't really want the job, that you're too busy or that you don't think there's much of a chance of getting elected. Will my vote be wasted? I'd really like to be reassured before I head towards Derwentwater's nursery to make my X in the box on 6 May?

Yours in hope.

Jon Ball said...

Thanks for your comment. In addition to the national Lib Dem policies around fairer taxes, a fairer chance for every child, green jobs and cleaning up politics, which I think you buy into, the key local Acton issues I'm campaigning on are the future of Acton town centre - including the Priory Centre, which I campaigned to save when it was threatened with demolition by Conservative council plans last year - and the future of our local NHS services, where I campaigning to save the A & E units at both Ealing Hospital and Central Middlesex which are under threat.

I am sorry that I was late responding to the Derwentwater expansion issue. I'm the only major party candidate for this seat with a non-political day job, which I would of course give up if elected. I read and answer all my own email and sometimes I don't respond as quickly as I should do. I apologise for that.

Rest assured that when I did respond, I gave unqualified support for the parents' position on this issue, and pledged to continue this support after the election when we shall see whether the Council Leader's suspension of expansion proves to be permanent.

I most certainly want the job! I've enjoyed working on local issues as a councillor for the last 8 years and want to step up to the parliamentary level to serve the Ealing and Acton area.

And as for the chances, the Lib Dems outpolled Labour across the new wards in the new Ealing Central & Acton constituency in the last set of Council elections in 2006, so this was always going to be a fight between myself and the Conservatives. The bookies' odds showed me as second favourite before the campaign begin. Lots of people "agree with Nick" and are coming over to us so it looks set for a close finish between myself and the Conservative.

Acton Community Spirit said...

Thanks for your reply Jon. I'm reassured that you're busy, but committed. Looking forward to seeing your leaflet through the door and to voting Lib-Dem with confidence. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi Jon

I'm a Lib Dem supporter and have been for many years. After reading the Liberal Democrat Humanist and Secularist Group's page to which you are affiliated I'm utterly concerned.

Topics 'like 'god' Delusion, or 'god' Scam? The destruction of the NRSV (Bible).' and 'campaigning against faith schools'.

As a man of faith I can’t vote for this. It’s not Liberal policy, but if it’s your personal agenda I can’t vote for you.

You have not contributed to this Secularist Group's Forum, what is your position?

Given that tolerance and religious freedom are the backbone of British Democracy and Social responsability, that we live in a modern multi faith ward, What commitment can you give to represent those of faith as well as those who share your secular point of view?

Can you commit to protect religious freedoms, not attack them?

N Davies

Jon Ball said...

Mr Davies,

I am a Humanist personally but I fully respect the rights of those of all religions and of none.

The webpage you refer to states at the top that it is "an open group for all Liberal Democrat members, supporters and sympathisers who support Humanism and/or Secularism." Anyone can join this group and post comments there so they do not necessarily reflect the views of the Lib Dems Humanists and Secularists. I haven't even looked at that page since joining it so had not seen the comments until you pointed them out.

The comments you refer to about the NRSV bible are from someone I do not know and are certainly very eccentric. I do not endorse them - or even entirely understand what the writer is getting at.

As a councillor, I am a member of Ealing Council's Standing Advisory Committee on Religious Education and find much common ground with the representatives of the Christian churches and other faith groups who also sit on that body. We all wish to ensure that religious education in the Borough respects all religions and also those who do not have religious faith.

I hope this reassures you.

Anonymous said...

You say "get in touch", but ... how?

Also, we've seen no LibDem leaflets in my house, which is in Perry Road.

Anonymous said...

Jon - the news websites tell me this is a highly contested seat and in spit of being a life-long labour supporter, I now feel that the Lib Dems are the only realistic option - but you have to contest the seat! Your website isn't updated and more importantly - i've had no flyers through my door, no-one knocking on the door and can see very little signs of activity.

Clegg may be showing that he's a credible leader but on current showing (and you don't have long to turn this around) the Lib Dems are not showing themselves as a credible political operation.

You've got tickets to the big game for the first time in generations - don't piss it away!

Yours, hot & bothered of northfields

Anonymous said...

I agree with the concerns of "Acton Community Spirit" and others on this page. I live in a household where there may be potential Lib Dem supporters.

According to the BBC general election website Ealing Central and Acton is the 10th Lib Dem target seat. I have been around the constintuency a lot over Easter as I have been on holiday. The local Lib Dems have been virtually invisible.

I am dismayed that we have received no leaflets from the local Lib Dem party. Websites for the local party are poorly maintained, uninformative and not kept up to date.

This contrasts sharply with the busy leaflet campaign mounted by the Tory candidate Angie Bray and some very effective personal campaigning by the Labour candidate Bassam Mahfouz.

Both Tory and Labour candidates have detailed and informative personal websites which Jon Ball does not. I can appreciate that hard copy leafleting depends partly on money and that the Tories and Labour are much better financed than the Lib Dems. However, with Jon Ball's background in IT I would have thought an effective website would have been a pre-requisite for an effective campaign.

I hope that in the final two weeks of the campaign the Ealing Central and Acton Lib Dems are able to become a more visible force locally in order to match the apparent progress of the party nationally.

Perhaps you could start by informing me how I can meet Jon Ball to discuss my concerns.

Yours sincerely

A politically interested citizen

Anonymous said...

Hello Jon

You are totally invisible as far as Ealing Central and Acton is concerned. You cannot just rely on Nick Clegg's great performance in the debates to win this seat.

Please justify your existence as a Lib Dem candidate in the last 10 days - then I might even vote for you!

A frustrated voter.

Jon Ball said...

Thanks to everyone who has commented. I'm out and about every day in the constituency. We have already delivered thousands of leaflets to put our message across, but we will be getting many more thousands out between now and polling day. Every voter will receive at least one leaflet from me and most will receive several.

There were problems early in the campaign with the constituency page on the Ealing Lib Dems website and this blog being out of date, but now both have recent content and more is being added. All this is being done by myself and volunteers. Unlike the other parties we have no paid staff.

Finally, to "a politically interested citizen" and others, if you let me know your address, I'm very happy to make sure I visit your house personally.

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