The title pretty much sums up what I intend to talk about, so feel free to skip over it if you prefer. This also ensures my average of one post a month this year is maintained.
Yes, I have now gotten rid of my old eyeglasses and replaced them with a rather neat set of contact lenses. Given a rather high astigmatism in both eyes, I’ve had to take the toric based lenses (which are only available in the 30 day continuous wear lenses). It was quite odd to fight the reflex reaction of my eyelids to put in and take out a thin sliver of plastic, but I’m getting better at it (Although on Election Day, I found myself at 4AM trying to put the lenses in, poking myself in the eye a few times before realising the lens wasn’t even on my finger…).
Having worn them for a week, I’ve found my eyes have adjusted to them to the extent that I worry they may not even be in. I’ve found that when walking outdoors, they do dry out on occasion, but a quick few blinks sorts it all out. Next week, I need to wear them all day and then sleep in them, which I suppose will be the real test.
I’ve found that some people are rather squeamish about the idea of sticking a bit of plastic onto your eyeball (I tormented my poor sister over the weekend by discussing some of the problems I’d had). Still, it’s an experiment, and a worthwhile one I think.
Election Day – May 1st
I took a few days and volunteered for the Chester branch of the Conservative Party during the local elections. Several good friends of mine were standing for election to the new Cheshire West and Chester Unitary Authority. A 4AM start on Election Day to deliver leaflets reminding our members and those who’d intimated their support for us during canvasing that the elections were today and they should vote.
After two hours of walking about delivering leaflets, I returned and was send out to Tell at a poling station (for those not in the know, a Teller is one of those people who asks to see your voting card on the way in to make a note of your number. This is then used to mark off the people on the pledge list compiled by the canvasers. Those left on the list are then either given a phone call or visited by a party worker to remind them to vote).
The rest of the day was spent pounding the streets going door-to-door giving out leaflets and talking to voters from 11:00 in the morning, through to 21:00 in the evening. Our count had the margin in the 100s. During the latter stages, we spotted Labour members out knocking on doors within the city, having decided to branch out from their “strongholds” out of the centre of the City to try and capture some last minute floating voters.
At 21:00, we called an end to it, and all of us from the CF retreated to the bar to take the weight off and discuss the day. The entire campaign team went out for a meal togther and waited for news to come in from London. We got wind of an Exit Poll in The Sun which called the race as a win for Boris, by 10 points.
Following Morning… May 2nd
The sounds of Evan Davies on the Today Programme woke me up to the news that the elections had been a bloodbath for Labour. Harriet Harman was being dragged over the coals by John Humphrys. I lost count of the number of times she said that Labour were now “Listening” (seems to be that whenever they’re in trouble, they keep repeating some reassuring keyword, “Prudence”, “Stablity” and now “Listening”). Mr Humphrys retored with “A bit late now, isn’t it?”. Spoke for us all I think.
The BBC had been projecting a 44% share of the national vote for The Conservatives, against a poor Labour showing of 24% (with the Liberal Democrats on 25%). Several Labour commentators had suggested that we needed to score 47% to have a really good day (this was based on their successes in ’95, when Tony Blair landed a massive blow to John Major’s ailing Conservative Government by taking 47% of the vote in the local elections).
Noone was buying their line, they’re in trouble.
I went on to see the count at the City Hall, which was a lot more tense than I’d expected. I spent my time monitoring the count for the Hoole & Newton ward, a former Liberal stronghold. As the votes stacked up, it was looking like a close one. We were ahead on the block votes, but it came down to the wire with the split votes. Two of our guys got in, but a tie for the 3rd seat resulted in the Lib Dems gaining the 3rd after a recount. (Hoole & Newton Ward).
City Ward fell (electing Richard, Tom and Max as their new Conservative Councillors – scalping two high profile Labour candidates), 88 votes the margin (our estimate had proven to be more or less accurate, and justified the last minute push for votes). Within Blacon (previously a strong Labour ward), Charlie came close to overturning a massive Labour majority (the votes recorded a 10% swing away from Labour, the best result within that ward for a generation). Damned fine work, and a brilliant platform to go again in 2011.
In the middle of all the Election hoo-hah, I found time to have a Birthday… I seem to have reached the ripe old age of 25. Spent the birthday evening with the family, who’d gotten me a Dalek cake :).
Thanks to all of you who got in touch via the various methods, there are far too many of you to be able to answer individually, so I’ll just say thanks on here. You’re all ace.
Yes, I have now also completed a house move. I’m still in Chester, but moved down deeper into Boughton. That’ll mean more to you if you know Chester or have the ability to use Google.
Well, that’s enough from me. Should keep you going for another month.