Each week a different PPC provides us with an insight into life as a candidate and gives us a flavour of their own campaign and interests. If you are a candidate and are keen to be featured, please email Jonathan Isaby.
This week’s diary is written by Susan Wade Weeks, who was selected in March 2008 as PPC for York Central, a slightly redrawn seat based on the existing City of York constituency. Labour MP Hugh Bayley gained the seat from the Conservatives in 1992 and Susan requires a swing of 13% to overturn the notional Labour majority of 10,344. Since the Conservative conference was taking place last week, Susan has written her diary about a week in mid-September...
I leave my rented cottage in the wilds of West Sussex at 7am on Tuesday morning and hit the snarled-up, caterpillar traffic on the M25 and the M1 aiming for a 12.30pm meeting at York St John University with Vice-Chancellor Professor Diane Willcocks, CBE.
Arriving with 10 minutes to spare, I do a quick change and make-up in the Mini – tinted windows good for this - before meeting for a sandwich lunch and an in-depth tour of the impressive premises. A small, vibrant University with around 3,500 - mainly local - students on a diverse range of courses, entering at many different levels, York St John lies within my potential constituency, just outside the City walls. It is important to me to get to know the place, meet the students, understand how it is run and find out what York St John might expect from an incoming Conservative Government.
I am struck by the Peace Garden and its tree: a direct descendant of the one found still standing among the ruin of Hiroshima.
Back at the Ash Street Conservative office, I spend the afternoon telephone canvassing strong Labour ward Heworth, with mixed results, but no actual insults. Encouraging. Many are still undecided about how they will vote at the general election, even though they voted Labour in Heworth. I do find some very keen supporters in every street I try, just not all that many of them. 591 in total. In the evening, I pick up stuff left behind from my flat move in May from ex-landlords Guy and Jacqui Ward, who promise to introduce me to York Chamber of Commerce. Transfer luggage to lodgings in Carl Street down by the caravan park in Clementhorpe and fall asleep reading Boris Johnson…