Dissatisfaction is a common thread


August has served up a strong reminder of the size and diversity of the North Dorset constituency – even after the Boundary Commission has wrought its most recent changes (the latest proposals are on their website now). I say this because August has seen the Liberal Democrat team mount a presence at both the Gillingham and Shaftesbury Show and the Verwood Rustic Fayre. The two events are a long way apart in geographical terms and they also feel quite different: one is deeply rural and agricultural while the other has an air of New Forest edge-of-metropolis.

What is interesting is that with exactly the same stand and precisely the same approach – asking some pertinent questions and listening hard – we had a very similar response.
There is that age-old issue that when you have lost your car keys at night you only look for them under the lamppost where there is light. We did not do that.
We talked to people long and hard right across the spectrum of age, gender and the rest of the demographic niceties. We stood our ground against the diehards, meeting them with a rueful grin or two but mostly we had good amicable and engaged discussions. Over two days at the G & S and through the day in Verwood, we had something approaching 200 conversations – about one every five minutes.
There were some big ticket issues from these conversations: Why doesn’t anything work properly; the self-seeking nature of politics; how out of touch our politicians are; why can’t we find a decent solution to the asylum seeker crisis; how could we have let Brexit end up like this; why can’t we come together as a nation to stop us going downhill; why do governments do things mostly for the minority that put them there; there must be a better way of doing all this.
You get the picture? Quite a lot of despair and even more disdain for the political classes.
Lessons for all.
I am delighted, therefore, to watch Sarah Dyke, our new local MP for Somerton & Frome embark on a constituency wide tour as the first thing she does. To see, hear and seek to understand about all of her constituency. My goodness me, she is a force.
Still, on the lighter side, we asked attendees at both shows whether the current lot deserve another five years. The best answer we got was from the Daleks. I leave you to imagine the one-word answer…
Mike Chapman
Blackmore Vale LibDem


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