When I left television to go into politics I noticed a strange and discomforting phenomenon.Where I'd been loved and even adored as a TV personality and found people happy to see me, friendly and out going, as soon as I became a politician things changed almost as if a screen had been inserted between me and them.
I began to feel that where they'd been coming towards me before now I was forcing myself on them.They were more cautious, cooler and guarded, perhaps even a bit suspicious but certainly less natural.
No alternative but to accept the distance because like a salesman I was trying to sell them something, rather than giving them something even if it was only a bit of phoney glamour and fading radiance. It may have been a bit vacuous but it was warm and comforting.
Now that I've retired and most people have realised that I'm no longer their MP it's moved back the other way.People look me in the eye again.They're friendly. Many wish me a happy retirement People are coming towards me again and some even give me advice on how to end my retirement. Like cruising or lying on a beach (even in Cleethorpes) or even thanking me for long service. It even makes me think it's all been worthwhile after all
No exaggeration.I may be over sensitive but I do feel a real change in the atmosphere.It's marvellous. Even though it's also a bit late.New candidates be warned. You have nothing to lose but your ambience.
The 100 "business leaders" who signed a letter praising the Tories and warning against Labour are beginning to look like a set of hopeless creeps.Some are retired and defending their fat pensions for failure.Several are Tory donors who want a return on their money with a seat in the Lords, five are former Labour donors who seem totally confused like the man from Morrisons who trotted out more reasons for Labour which don't apply to the Conservatives. All are total creeps.
Next week we'll have a hundred beneficiaries whose benefits have been slashed, a hundred disabled people who've been declared fit for work,a hundred council tenants who're happy with the bedroom tax a hundred Librarians who're overjoyed that their libraries have been closed. A hundred criminals who think the police cuts are a good thing,a hundred job seekers suspended from benefit, a hundred food bank customers grateful for the soup and a hundred prisoners who've attempted suicide because of the conditions ( some speaking posthumously) and a hundred pipers who will announce that McLabour is a good thing.
No lie test will be necessary if you wish to play please get a hundred friends together.
GOT A PROBLEM? BUGGER OFF
An increasingly important part of an MP's job ( I speak from memory of course) is the local ombudsman role. More and more people come to their MP with all the problems that arise from a creeping, understaffed and too frequently destabilised government machine, which is why MPs ha e had to have more staff and offices in the constituency to deal with them
The numbers have been growing exponentially because privatisation of housing utilities and services creates more problems and theMP is the helper of last resort. The MP (I have to speak impersonally now) can usually help and often through the priority access that they get. They don't do it to win votes ( though they always hope that it might help) and it doesn't get a lot of gratitude (though I've. had hundreds of nice thank you cards and letters but they can often help and always get an explanation if they can't
Yet now there are no MPs with the end of Parliament .They can't pull status and their staffs are under notice of redundancy if they're retiring or in suspended animation if they're standing for re-election as most are.
So what are people with problems supposed to do in the 40 day campaign period? Problems don't go away. Social services are still taking children, child support cases are still arising, rent areas are still leading to evictions , Job centres are still suspending benefits to let people starve and Border force is still expelling people to disease ridden tyrannies but there's no one with the magical powers of an MP to help them and MPs staff are meant to do "meaningful work"but not that.
Either government should suspend and stop all sanctions and hold up all cases or Ex MPs should take up cases as they've always done.Otherwise it's tyranny rules. Not OK
Watch the Leader crowd spectacular tonite. All the minor parties (except Cleggie) will shine because they can give the easy answers while the majors are mired in complexity, the perpetual state of those who can form government's which must lumber while minor parties leap like gazelles over the facts.