Friday, May 28, 2004

*Ding* *Dong* "Cadre calling..."

If I were an insurrectionist, a proto Geuvarra, sans asthma, I would definitely send my cadre out leafletting, generally at election times.

I can honestly say there is no better way to get to know the nooks and crannies of an area (other than growing up as a small boy scaling any and all walls available), than to leaflet every house in a ward. I would recomend the same course to any architecture students out there.

Round Clapham, you can go from the immense terraced houses of the Victorians and Georgians (some owner-occupied, some multiple occupancy), to next door having a council block, then to a post war pre-fab crescent, like Guaden Close. In London, riches and poverty live cheek by jowell.

You can find wee things like police depots that you blockade during an organised riot, or rat runs and routes that you could use in running battles. Leninists, get out leafletting!

Anyway, here is my guide to leafletters:

1) Always leave the gate as you find it. If in doubt of memory, close it. The exception being if there is a sign on the gate to close it, then always obey the sign.
2) If there is a sign saying 'no leaflets please', obey it. Yes, you could make the democratic case that you have a right to disseminate your election material, and their right to receive it. But they won't read it, and it only pisses folks off. Don't do it.
3) Stick the leaflet all the way through, 'nuff said really.
4) Be polite and considerate, hand leaflets to people you meet coming out of houses, emphasise that it is election material.
5) Plan your route well, preferably with a pub in the middle.
6) Take it easy, enjoy yourself, the experience should be a pleasure, physical exercise combined with the freedom to simply think or enjoy the aesthetic pleasures of your leafletting patch - even the grimmest council estate has its pockets of beauty: weeds growing amidst the concrete, and that. Enjoy yourself.

As I have said here before, modern elections rely on armies of leafletters to go out and get the message across, its the simple way to get involved in politics.

Remember, leafletting at elections is a pleasure, not a chore.


Blogger Darren said...

A sensible list of suggestions for when out leafletting, but I think you missed one of the most important rules, and that is when leafletting it is not a good idea, when walking up the garden path to the door, to rubberneck and have a nosey into the sitting room windows when the curtains are open. It's not particularly polite, and it may put off a potential enquirer. ;-)

"Cheek by Jowell"? Does Tessa live in the same road as Polly Toynbee?

6:46 PM  
Blogger John said...

And dress wisely, bearing in mind how long you intend to be out - an hour leafletting even in mild weather can leave you sweating.

And don't for fuck sake fold a leaflet that is already folded. Be patient and it will go in that obstinate letter box. I know of one helper who was fond of folding in three a leaflet that was already folded in three.

And don't go leafletting with people who get lost very easily, and if you must then don't let them carry the bulk of the leaflets. If you work in twos, leaflet in a leap-frog manner.

And don't kneel on freshly painted doorsteps to reach low down letter boxes.

And wear decent footwear - I know of one southerner, helping out in a Jarrow election campaign, who ended up with bleeding toes.

And if someone comes out of their house with a leaflet, crumples it up and blatantly throws it into the road in an attempt to show his contempt for your politics, go over, pick it up and put it in your bag, then looking at his door number, pretend to write it down - giving him the impression you will be reporting him to the authorities or coming back later to smash his window - whichever, the uncivil scrote will have an uneasy night.

12:55 AM  

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