This is the latest account of the extraordinary commitment by an (extra)ordinary woman:
e-Newsletter September 2009
Dear Money Reformers,
I write to you in the middle of the political conference season, mindful that the Bromsgrove conference is less than a week away. I regret that I shall not be there this year, so I thought to update you with news of my own activities.
Knocking on doors
I now spend a big part of each day knocking on people’s doors. This takes place in either the historic cathedral city of Canterbury (Motto: Ave Mater Angliae), the picturesque harbour town of Whitstable or one of the surrounding villages set in deepest rural Kent.
‘Hello, I am here to ask for your support at the general election. My name is Anne Belsey and I represent the Money Reform Party.’
At this stage, or earlier, about a quarter of all the people I address say something along the lines of ‘No, thank you.’
But three quarters don’t. Three quarters listen to what I say and I give them what has become something of a ‘practised’ spiel about the nature of the money supply and the need for debt-free money. Getting a 30-second lecture on the causes of the credit crunch/ recession and the solution to it must come across like a bolt from the blue, and I sometimes wonder whether sheer British politeness keeps them listening.
The eyes are the give away. They tell me whether someone is listening and just how interested they are and whether or not they want to say something. I always let them say their piece and a few want to have a good old natter, before I bring want ever subject onto which they have ventured back to money reform.
Most people are only mildly interested, some very much so, and some just congratulate me on simply making an effort. One chap said that he would vote for me as I had a nice face. (Every vote counts!) Quite a few remark that they had had no clear idea about their voting intentions, but that I had given them something to consider. I get the view that support for all the major parties is very lukewarm.
I find that I can only do three or fours hours a day; it is quite tiring; and I can only manage to speak to about 25 to 40 people a day. On this basis, assuming I can keep this up for say 150 days between now and the election (allowing for bad weather and Christmas), I hope to speak to about 5000 people, or I should say, 5000 households, which is about 10% of the constituency.
My hope is that sufficient number of the people I talk to directly will pass on some indication of support, if not booklets and DVDs, to friends and neighbours, and word will begin to spread.
I have no idea what impact this might have, or how many votes I will accrue, but I think that talking to people will definitely have a greater impact than merely pushing leaflets through doors.
Concentration of effort
When I set up the MRP, I envisaged that we might field half a dozen or a dozen candidates at the next general election. As things stand, I think that I am going to be our only candidate, but I am not worried about this. Indeed, I think that I would positively dissuade from standing anybody who is not prepared to put in 20 hours a week knocking on doors for the next six months or so.
What I think matters in this election is not the number of votes we achieve, but the proportion that we achieve in any one constituency. My target is 10%. This might prove to be wildly optimistic, but I think that this will be sufficient to make the major parties take note.
In other words, I think that 10% in one constituency will have more impact than 1% or 2% achieved in each of ten constituencies. 1% or 2% will not be worth noting, but 10% in the only constituency that the party contests might make the major parties think that the people of Canterbury and Whitstable have a viewpoint that is held across the country.
This should be sufficient evidence that there are clearly votes to be had in money reform, and the party that adopts money reform to its bosom can expect to reap that 10% across the country at the next election.
That’s my thinking. Shoot me down, if you think I am talking rubbish.
A one-woman campaign
I do not expect any help with my efforts. I had members/friends/supporters delivering leaflets for me at the last, local elections, but giving a brief lecture to a complete stranger on their doorstep and then being ready to answer their questions, confidently and fluently, is quite another thing.
This is not like normal canvassing, where one is encouraging people to turn out and vote for something they already know about. This involves telling people about a party that they have (usually) never heard of, an issue they barely understand, and a solution which they assume to be already in place, but which they are told isn’t.
Also, with so many people being turned off the major parties, with their slick spin and hype, presenting myself as a plucky little one-woman band will do me no harm at all. (Oh, the cynicism of it all!)
I can do this campaigning. I can’t say that I enjoy it, but I am prepared to do it, and when the election comes (in less than 9 months), I can stop doing it and then forget about money reform for a year or two to recover my sanity. And I have to admit that if I don’t do it, and the economic mess gets worse, as I expect that it will, I will not be able to reconcile any lack of effort with my conscience.
So I want to put in the maximum effort, distributing leaflets, booklets and DVDs as I go around knocking on doors. I have enough leaflets (I have them, I might as well deliver them where I get no answer), but I want to be able to buy more booklets and DVDs, which will cost money and I am running a bit short.
All contributions welcome
I do not normally like asking for money, but I would be very grateful for any contributions that members of the party can make. The more booklets and DVDs that I can distribute as I talk to people, the more votes I am likely to win, and the higher proportion of votes that I win the more likely will the major parties adopt money reform.
Many wars are won on a single battlefield. Could we win the campaign for money reform on the single political battleground of the Mother of England?
It has got to be worth a try.
(Cheques payable to ‘The Money Reform Party’ to 34, Berkeley Close, Dunkirk, Faversham, ME13 9TR)