On Saturday I leave the house to find a blonde woman, with an officious expression, standing on my doorstep. "Susannah?" she asks, brightly. Only the receptionist at the dentist's surgery and my mother call me that.
I wonder for a second about unpaid bills, tax returns left incomplete, the joke about taking a bomb on a plane I'm pretty sure I didn't write. She smiles. "I'm canvassing for the Conservatives." Another short pause. "Will we be counting on your support?"
Her pen hovers over the clipboard. Indeed she cannot count on it, I say with some satisfaction. She purses her lips and makes a mark on her clipboard. I turn down the street with a spring in my step. Not voting Tory is something of a lifelong interest of mine.
These are the final months of my constituency, Hammersmith and Fulham, which is currently represented by shadow Treasury minister Greg Hands. At the next election, boundaries are re-drawn and we will be divided into two new seats: Fulham & Chelsea, aka Boden-land, to the south, which Hands will no doubt hold; and to the north, my constituency, Hammersmith, which has more mixed fortunes.
Contesting the new seat is Andy Slaughter, who is currently the Labour MP for Shepherd's Bush; the Lib Dem candidate Merlene Emerson, a Singapore-born mother-of-three and ex-corporate lawyer; and the Conservatives' great hope, Shaun Bailey, a black community worker.
On local issues, the candidates have similar priorities. Like any urban constituency, Hammersmith's most pressing issue is housing, which is both too expensive and in short supply. As we live directly beneath the Heathrow flight path, opposition to the third runway is a given. Bailey calls it "Labour's runway" but Slaughter resigned from his job in government in protest at expansion.
Personality will count for undecided voters. Bailey is an atypical Tory, and not only because he's black. He claims Public Enemy lyrics inspired him to get into politics. He says things like, "I'd love to be able to tell you about offshore accounts, a powerboat, and dodgy dealings. But I'm sorry, I haven't done any of that. I've been living on an estate." His campaign mails out slick DVDs, and David Cameron joins him at public events.
Merlene and Andy must mobilise their foot soldiers. It already feels like Bailey will walk it, even without my vote.
Geezer chic gets a rebrand
If you thought geezer chic had been commandeered forever by skinny, ironic hipsters, think again. David Sullivan and David Gold, the new joint chairmen of West Ham United are re-interpreting the wide boy look for a more mature scally.
For purposes of identification, Sullivan is the one who wears claret-coloured velour jackets and royal blue striped ties, in a bold sartorial take on the team's colours. Gold, who is in fact Del Boy's older brother, prefers a long-line, sheepskin-lined pleather duffel coat, slung over a pinstripe suit and accessorised with a tie that Laura Ashley herself would deem "too flowery".Reuse content