Another good week's campaigning
Have been canvassing in Millom and Gosforth today: have also canvassed this week in Whitehaven, Seascale, Egremont, and Ravenglass.
As always happens, the reception was better in some streets than others, but overall I am reasonably pleased.
We have lost very few of those who had indicated that they would vote Conservative last time. Every day we find some more people who voted Labour in the past but will be voting Conservative this time. And I keep finding people right across the political spectrum who have had enough of Tony Blair.
This is the seventh general election campaign in which I have been actively involved - I started in 1979 at the age of 18 - and it is the only election in all that time in which the number of negative comments I have heard on the doorstep about the Labour leader have greatly outnumbered those made about the Conservative leader. That even applies in 1983 when I had to take on the chin more criticisms of Margaret Thatcher than were made about Michael Foot - though I suspect those who were canvassing for Labour in 1983 probably took more flak about their leader then than they would have experienced in any election since until the current one.
The best line of the election so far came from an ex serviceman in Millom who would like to put Blair, Hoon and Straw in uniform and send them all to Iraq.
My main problem this week has been a mistake which keeps surfacing in the local newspapers, one after another. I have lived in the Copeland constituency since last summer, but unfortunately last week someone dug up an interview given the day after I was selected, when I promised to move to the constituency in the near future.
Three local newspapers in turn have repeated this as if it were still current, when in fact it is nearly ten months out of date - I kept the promise to move here within two weeks of making it.
Very irritating, but the press have been reasonably co-operative about agreeing to run corrections so we should be able to knock this one on the head by May 5th.
Overall I still have the impression that the result in Copeland is likely to be extremely close.