On Friday I was the guest speaker at the Whickham U3A. They have regular meetings called "feel good" sessions. Somehow I managed to get an invite to make 40 senior citizen ladies feel good.
I wasn't there with my politician's hat on but rather I was there to talk about self-sufficiency and how I am getting on growing my own food and generating my own electricity. Nevertheless, I was introduced as, "This is Jonathan, you all know him so he needs no introduction!"
I ploughed my way through a powerpoint presentation, complete with lots of photos and some of my videos, showing how we have gone from acquiring a derelict allotment in Sunniside to growing a large proportion of the food we consume. It was also peppered with a variety of jokes about politicians, including feel good factors, duck houses on council expenses (we are planning to get some ducks) and so on.
Last year when I was facing re-election in my own ward, the local newspapers had carried a number of feature articles on my food-growing activities. This created a great deal of interest amongst constituents. When going around my ward whipping up interest in the election, the question most people asked was, "How's the garden?" Needless to say, the Labour candidate was thoroughly beaten, though he did even worse this year.
So, the secret to electoral success in a local election seems to be, get a garden!