Two months after the local elections, I’d nearly forgotten the excitement of a rainy election day.
Picture the scene.
The day started with a surprisingly sunny morning for this wash out of a British summer.
It was quickly followed by a torrential downpour just about the time that Michele and I headed off to help get out the vote for a local bi-election.
Looking like two smurfs long-since abandoned by Father Abraham, we arrived at Campaign Headquarters to be met by the news that David Miliband was popping in shortly.
‘Ooo exciting!’ we thought.
I’m not a great one for celebrities, but ‘She Liked Meeting Labour Politicians’ would probably be an apt if somewhat bland epitaph. Over the last two years I’ve met Ed Balls,
and questioned Ed Miliband about future policy.
If I met David, I calculated, this might well mean that I could shout ‘house’.
While I like meeting Labour luminaries, hanging around waiting for them to arrive has never been a favourite occupation. So as Michele isn’t one to hang around either – she does, after all, drive a Morris Minor – we thought we’d pop out for a quick 20 minutes door knocking.
Some hilarity was to be had there. A man opened the door with a tee-towel, telling me that he wasn’t having his tea but ‘polishing his balls’ – golf balls to be precise. Much ‘Carry On’ style laughter ensued. Say what you like about the British, we enjoy the double entendre. It almost made up for the drenching that accompanied it.
As we splashed from house-to-house, losing that Labour Lefty Lady chic that I like to think is our hallmark, Michele took delivery of a postal vote in need of safe passage to the polling station.
Surely there was time for this before DM’s arrival?
Of course not.
We got back in time to be told he’d just been and gone.
Oh well. Such is the luck of the Labour Activist. Compensating for the absence of David Miliband was the stalwart of our local office, Justin. Justin is great: he works tirelessly and is always somehow smiling. We engaged in some comradely banter. He’s a member of Progress (as he puts it, 'working to get Labour elected'), while I’m a member of Labour Left (as I put it, 'working for a socialist future'). What unites us, though, is more than what divides us when it comes to thinking about future Labour policies. We are both part of this great thing called the Labour Movement, both committed to working for a fairer society: even if that means getting soaking wet in the process.
The result more than made up for yet another pair of ruined shoes. Gill Sanders, the Labour candidate, won, with a 65% share of the vote. Not even the British summer can spoil that.