Jonathan Fryer

Writer, Lecturer, Broadcaster and Liberal Democrat Politician

Telling in Westminster

Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 24th July, 2008

While the voters of Glasgow East — or a least some of them — were going to the polls this afternoon, in what will be widely interepreted as a verdict on Gordon Brown, I did a stint of telling at a polling station for a Westminister Council by-election, in which Martin Thompson was the LibDem candidate. It’s a singularly British tradition to have volunteers sitting at the entrance of the polling station (some unkind presiding officers make one stand!), wearing coloured rosettes representing their party and asking voters for their registration numbers. There are always a few electors who refuse or who want to know why, though over the years the message has got across to most that it saves them the hassle of being ‘knocked up’ (such an unfortunate expression) later on. Though the recently-deceased councillor for Church Ward was Labour, the Conservatives were throwing everything they had at the campaign and large numbers of South Asian Conservative activists were chasing out the sizeable Muslim vote, so I wouldn’t be surprised if their (Muslim) candidate does very well.


3 Responses to “Telling in Westminster”

  1. Well I find telling quiet boring really but it’s an important part of the campaign.

    I rather be out on the ground doing door to door knocking then telling.

    What would you prefer Jonathan?

  2. jonathanfryer said

    Well, as you ask, Irfan: I don’t really enjoy ‘knocking up’ very much, though committee room stuff can be quite fun. One of the advantages of telling is that you get to see and chat to lots of voters, electoral officials and supporters of other parties, as well as the candidates and agents who often pop by!

  3. thats true what you say but i rather be out on the ground getting people out and voting. But telling can be quiet intresting but when you are faced with voters who ask
    why should we?

    that then really makes you not want to tell again.

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