I’ve been doorknocking for about 2 months now and I can say without a doubt it’s been a very strange affair. The entire concept of it depends on the fact that the residents are in, let alone willing to speak with you.
The first-ever time I went door-knocking was around September. I received an email from my local labour party who were letting all constituent members of events that were coming up to help promote and support Labour in the then-upcoming local elections. When I read it I decided that this would be a fun and useful way to further delve myself into the political world. The door-knocking event took place at half 5 on a Thursday, and due to the fact that it, unfortunately, takes me an hour to get home from my sixth form, I had 2 mins to get ready to run out the house and meet the others.
When I arrived at the meeting point, I was greeted by 10 people, one was our local electorate, who was wearing a suit and the others were just either normal members and people with jobs within labour. It was decided that it would be best if we split into two groups of 5, to cover more ground.
The whole idea of the operation was that we all had little fliers which had the email of local labour at the bottom. Within our gang, we had one who held multiple sheets of paper which told us what specific houses to knock within the assigned roads we were given. We did each house individually and were told the names and ages of the residents, alongside the vital information of whether they had ever previously voted Labour.
The key issue of the area where I lived, was the fact that it was a marginal seat, this means unlike the rest of Merseyside, this area was hotly contested within two parties. In this case that parties were both Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The consequences of this meant that most houses were torn between which party to vote for.
When we arrived to begin door knocking, as it was my first time, I tagged along with another knocker for 6 houses, just to get the swing of things and to learn the routine. The routine I learnt was that I would introduce myself by saying “Hi my name is George from your local Labour Party “this would remain constant throughout the house. After that, I would ask him/her in a polite manner what party they will be leaning towards for the upcoming local elections. This point was very important to note down as this will determine whether they were voting for us in the local elections. I would usually get three different responses; yes I am voting labour, I don’t really want to say or no I won’t be voting labour. After all, this has been completed I would give them a sheet and see if they had any queries at all they can email the email attached to the bottom.
After we receive the information of what the constituents will be voting for we would then relay this information back to the person who was holding the sheets of residents we were knocking for. This person then wrote down what we told them and we would know next time whether to bother with these houses or not. Also, this will be useful to know who will actually vote for labour in the upcoming elections.
Most of the houses I knocked that ended up telling me that they weren’t actually decided on who they were going to vote for, I took this upon myself most the time to end up trying to convince them to vote Labour. I wouldn’t do this in a forceful manner I would ask what queries they had and talk to them about these issues. The most common query I got was the fact that Jeremy Corbyn is in charge. This common theme seemed to deter these voters and the main problem was that they didn’t like his policies or the handling of Brexit.
Strangely enough, the first house was the most strange one by far. I had just gotten into the swing of things and was ready to give it a go. However, I was greeted by an elderly gentleman who the longer I spoke to seemed more and more unwilling to vote. He kept mentioning how he felt he was too old to vote and his vote wouldn’t fully represent the area and was meaningless. He was an old Labour voter and I tried to convince him otherwise, the best I achieved was he decided to consider voting. The entirety of our conversation was built around the difference between the elderly and the youth and how they both want different things. I found this to be an interesting view on the voting as a whole, it’s made me question whether there should be a voting age cap. However, I decided that that would be undemocratic as those who are eligible to vote should be able to vote even if they are elderly and decisions taken might not affect them as long as younger voters.
Overall I found doorknocking to be an incredibly fascinating experience with a lot of different views and opinions people were more than willing to share. This led me to want to become an advocate doorknocker to not only help labour but to enhance my involvement in the political sphere.