General election: A non-party political plea for kindness – Murdo Fraser MSP

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson out canvassing in Milngavie in her East Dunbartonshire seat last month (Picture: John Devlin)
Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson out canvassing in Milngavie in her East Dunbartonshire seat last month (Picture: John Devlin)
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Party political canvassers deserve some sympathy as they engage in a noble pursuit that is part of our democracy, writes Murdo Fraser.

It’s a pretty miserable time of year to be having a general election. The skies are grey, it’s getting dark by 4 o’clock, and if it’s not raining, it’s bitterly cold. Most normal people are getting home from work, turning on the lights and the heating, and locking the door behind them.

Spare a thought, then, for political campaigners out on the streets trying to win votes.

These hardy souls, wrapped up against the rain and the cold, are there performing a public service, trying to persuade you of the merits of their particular candidate and gathering information about voting intentions.

Almost entirely, they will be volunteers, not being paid to do this vital job, but out and about because of the passion they feel for their political cause.

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The temptation might well be to refuse to open the door when the bell rings on a dark and cold afternoon, but show some sympathy for the poor canvassers.

They are there on a noble pursuit, and deserve to be treated kindly, whichever party they are from.

And all of them, like the public as a whole, will be looking forward to 13 December, when they can hang up their shoes and wet jackets, put the canvas cards and leaflets away, and enjoy Christmas in the hope that another election is, at least, some years away.

Murdo Fraser is a Conservative MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife