I always like speaking at local schools. Today it was the AS Politics Class at Beaumont - with a couple of Verulam students as well. A very stimulating set of questions put together by the students
1. What campaign method have you found to be the most successful?
2. Do you find that fact to face contact with voters actually affects their voting behaviour?
3. Under what circumstances can negative campaigning be effective?
4. To what extent does the national campaign affect campaigning at constituency level?
5. How important is the constituency candidate in determining the outcome of General Elections?
6. What is the main issue that will affect voting behaviour at the next election?
7. Do parties research the effectiveness of their campaign methods?
8. Do you believe that use of the internet will be as important in the 2010 General Election as it appeared to be for Obama in 2008?
9. To what extent do you think that the MPs’ expenses scandal will affect the 2010 Election at both national and local (St Albans) level?
10. What is the main motivation of a candidate selected to fight an unwinnable seat?
11. Are the Liberal Democrats seen as everybody’s second favourite and is this a strong argument against electoral reform?
12. Would a hung parliament bring an end to the FPTP system’s use in General Elections?
It led to a most stimulating hour and a quarter almost impossible to boil down to a short blog entry, but I can confirm that there is no lack of interest in politics and ideas. Finally a pupil at the back asked what had been my oddest canvassing experience. That's easy I said. It was in 1980 or thereabouts and I was canvassing in the Clapham Park ward of Streatham in a Lambeth council by-election for my old friend Tim (now Lord) Clement-Jones. I was on the top landing of a big old Victorian house converted into individual bedsits. I knocked on the door. It was opened by a very pretty young woman who was wearing a T-shirt down to her midriff - and nothing else. We both burst into nervous laughter, I did the spiel but frankly cannot recall how she was going to vote... She had been expecting her boyfriend. It brightened my evening if not hers.