I think elections are fantastic, and I love the opportunity they provide to meet people. Over the past few weeks I have been out in Regency ward daily knocking on doors and meeting people all over the place. The Green Party has such a positive message, so many good things we want to achieve for Brighton & Hove, that it's a pleasure to be out there.
So many people appreciate the opportunity to engage with real politicians and political activists. Politics becomes real when you talk about it on someone's doorstep, when they challenge your views or ask for your help. It's wonderful, energising and very grounding. I also love the physicality of it – being outside, shaking hands and reminding yourself how every single street is unique.
Sometimes people are out or they are busy — perhaps giving their baby a bath or in the middle of a telephone call — that's all fine. What I do find challenging are those who answer the door with “Sorry, not interested.” When pressed it's not that they're not interested in the Green Party but that they're not interested in the election or politics.
Of course there's more to life than local politics, but everyone notices when the bins aren't emptied, hospital service is poor or police non-existent. If you're busy, say so and I'll move on; if you don't wish to discuss your politics in public, I respect that choice; and if you wish to vote for another party, let's chat about it! But if you think you have no interest at all in how your city is run and the direction it sets itself for the future… well then I'm not sure I believe you. I think actually you're saying you don't believe in politicians to set those directions. If so then I think talking is exactly what we need to do.