Some time ago I posted on how Mr Ahmed Khan had lodged a legal response to the initial decision to have his town land request ruled out of order.
There was also an exchange of emails regarding who was the “unofficial” or indeed “official” web voice of the Alliance councillors in South Tyneside. The content was “curt”, but in an effort to clear the air he invited me to join him and his campaign team in a Ward canvassing session. Naturally I was interested and replied in the affirmative, but warning him that March and April were very busy times for me. No problem came the response, I start my campaign in January!
Last night then, found me walking the streets of the Beacon and Bents Ward, accompanied by Ahmed and 18 of his supporters and close associates. It was cold, wet and dark, and I was subdued. It was cold, wet and dark, and they were buoyant!
Whilst Mr Kahn and Co covered miles and miles just walking up and down paths, I tended to hang around at gate posts and street corners (I received no propositions). I was however, amazed at the willingness of residents to engage in constructive conversation. To a person, they had all heard of Ahmed and were aware of his activities on behalf of the Ward. Nearly all were concerned about Gypsies Green and the sale of coastal land. I also got a genuine feeling that Labour (both regionally and nationally) had lost the trust of the people. A resident in a street dominated by the shadow of the Town Hall perhaps summed up the feeling quite concisely when he informed Mr Khan that whilst “they could see this street from their office windows, and parked their cars outside of my house, Labour councillors have allowed this neighbourhood to degenerate (I have deleted the obligatory expletives for those of a sensitive nature!).
The best comment came from the last but one door the team knocked on, and it went something like this:
“Yes Mr Khan you will have my vote. Did you know that Councillor (name omitted) told me he is going to get a dog because he’s convinced he’s going to loose his seat and needs something to fill his time in”
This exchange really happened, so if you see a councillor in PetsRUs, he’s the one on the way out!
As I sat at home in front of the fire and with thousands (!) of miles under my belt, a warm glow came over me; finally, I was defrosting. Somehow the enthusiasm of Mr Khan and his supporters must act like Ready Brek, keeping them warm with the hot glow of confidence. Sadly for me Ahmed has extended his invitation to next week when they will hit the streets again. Hold on, you want to get elected, not me. He also invited me to the Fellgate and Hedworth Ward, where the volunteers are also beginning their campaign. Luckily for me, I have an extensive “Book of Excuses”, the best being “I don’t want to, this is your campaign and it’s to cold!”
On a more serious not, I suppose the ultimate question must be, if I lived in his Ward would I vote for him? To be honest I probably would. Not because he promises to take on the sheer self indulgent attitude of the Labour contingent, but because on a cold, wet and windy night he knocked on my door and said “Hello, I am Mr Ahmed Khan. I am your Indepndent candidate at the next local elections in May. Is there anything I can help you with or anything you want to bring to my attention about the Ward…..?”.
And that’s what he did, door after door, after door……………….