Twickenham canvassing-2   Twickenham canvassing-3   Twickenham canvassing

Sunday 12th April 2015 , Twickenham.

Lib Dem canvassing afternoon with Vince Cable.

Vince Cable is running again as the Lib Dem candidate in the family friendly seat of Twickenham. He has represented the constituency as its MP since 1997.

I’m told by staff at his constituency office that he and a group of Liberal Democrat volunteers will be mustering at Fulwell station before meeting local people on the doorsteps of 4 nearby streets.

Canvassing is a carefully coordinated process which identifies the correct doorbells to ring, specific voters who might need a prod on the 7th May and ‘the holy grail’, constituents with placard worthy gardens.

There are enough members of the Twickenham Lib Dem team to facilitate a fast paced door stepping operation . I find myself making a lot of sketches of Mr Cable’s back as he races up pretty, tree lined streets or stands expectantly under front porches.

Within a gated driveway I make a sketch of Mr Cable seen from over the soft top of a brand new Mini Cooper as he receives words of support from the vehicles’ well heeled driver. I notice the ‘Vince’s canvassing bag ‘ luggage label hanging from his yellow rucksack. He canvasses most days.

Mr Cable tells me that speaking directly to the voters, face to face, is still the best way to win support for when Election Day comes around.

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Canvassing with Vince Cable

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RUSI, Fallon defence speech-1   RUSI, Fallon defence speech-3   RUSI, Fallon defence speech-2

Friday 11th April 2015

Michael Fallon outlines the Conservative party view of defence at The Royal United Services Institute.

The RUSI was established in 1831 by The Duke of Wellington for the study of ‘the art of war’. His bust greets members of the ‘think tank’ and interested parties as they enter its splendid Whitehall headquarters.

I draw some of Michael Fallon’s hand gestures as he outlines the conservative view on defence. They are used sparingly and have a guarded quality.

Members of the RUSI ask pertinent questions and there is gravitas to this electioneering event which is not always so evident.

Michael Fallon at the Royal United Services Institute

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National Grid event 9th April  National Grid event 9th April-1  National Grid event 9th April-3


 Thursday 9th April 2015

David Cameron at The National Grid Training Centre. Newark on Trent.

The apprentice training space in which The Conservative Party leader is due to speak today is dominated by the giant X805 circuit breaker and a tall tower of brown ceramic insulators.

David Cameron addresses the audience in the round after a brief introduction from business tsar Karen Brady, who looks after the PM’s jacket.

Drawing Cameron is made easier by the 360 degree format as he has to keep swivelling round to display emphatic hand gestures to all assembled.

Earlier, on a mezzanine walkway above the action I noticed 3 balding bespectacled chaps in wire framed specs and white lab coats. I’d tried to make a swift drawing of them thinking they looked like a trio of ‘Bunsen Honeydews’ the muppet chemist. Unfortunately I was ushered through a door  before I’d had a chance to do so but I did find a good view of the arrival of the ministerial car from the window of   the ‘media holding pen ‘.

Surveying the Nottinghamshire landscape I wondered if the distant Y shaped metal  tower might be an example of  the very latest in pylon design which had been reported on today by the ‘ Pylon Appreciation Society ‘.

David Cameron at the National Grid Training Centre

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Scotland April 2015-7  Scotland April 2015-6  Scotland April 2015-9

Easter Monday 6th April 2015

Celebration to commemorate the anniversary of the signing of The Declaration of Arbroath, Arbroath Abbey.

The 6th of April is Tartan day in the Angus region of Scotland.

 I imagine that my coming to make some drawings at an event staged to commemorate the assertion of Scottish independence from England would be pertinent in the light of the SNP’s  present ambitions during the 2015 election campaign.

 I also  imagine that a stroll to the harbour to try the famous hot Arbroath ‘smokies’ is another good reason to visit this small East Coast fishing town.

There are no politicians in tartan or otherwise at the historic 11th Century Abbey today.

An historian dressed as a monk conducts a tour of the Abbey ruins, parts of which are hardly ruins at all. The re-enactment of  King Robert’s assertion of sovereignty and plea to Pope Pius XXll involves similar kinds of dress up.

 The costumes and funny hats are all very good to draw but the copy of the declaration of Arbroath is signed, sealed and flapped about at such a speed that it makes it difficult for me to get down on paper the passage of the document that is said to have been the model for the US Declaration of Independence.

The local SNP MP for Angus is Mike Weir. I look him up on twitter and find he’s just posted a photograph of a sparrow having a drink at a bird bath in his Angus garden.

Anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath

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Scotland April 2015-10  Scotland April 2015-5  Scotland April 2015-4

10am Sunday 5th April.

West Edinburgh Liberal Democrat campaign HQ.

Liberal Democrat Michael Crockart’s young team of student volunteers are busy addressing blue envelopes when I arrive at their campaign HQ just by Edinburgh Zoo. As well as the only Pandas in Britain,  the constituency of the ex police Constable who seeks re-election, also contains The Chinese Embassy, Edinburgh airport, Murrayfield Rugby stadium, several farms, and judging by the sweet smell of burnt barley in the air, a brewery or two.

Mr Crockart is host to a press call for  the Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael.

Mr Carmichael has taken a break from campaigning in his constituency of Orkney and Shetland to answer questions from the press about the cabinet inquiry into Nicola Sturgeon’s reported comments to the the French Ambassador.

Drawing inside a campaign office gives me a good opportunity to try and capture a view of electioneering in the UK as a practical, pragmatic and ‘grass-roots’  process. I include campaign posters and press cuttings  in my drawings as a backdrop to the activity.

A big bunch of daffodils sits in the middle of a large communal campaign table. A spring election has certainly allowed the Lib Dems to ‘luck out’ florally.

I can’t help but think of the campaign office of Charles Palantine in the movie Taxi Driver as I draw the scene of happy, well educated, hung-over volunteers stuffing envelopes on the morning of Easter Sunday.

I take the bus back to town  for church.

West Edinburgh Liberal Democrat campaign

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Scotland April 2015  Scotland April 2015-2  Scotland April 2015-3

12.30 Saturday 4th April 2015

SNP party leader Nicola Sturgeon addresses a ‘Scrap Trident ‘ demo in George Square, Glasgow.

Surrounded by civic architectural splendour, George Sq, Glasgow, is filled with a dedicated, enthusiastic, and huge number of ‘anti-trident missile’ protestors. They promote an imminent ‘blockade’ of the west coast, Faslane, nuclear missile base.

My train arrives at Queen St station opposite the square  just in time for me to see the Scottish National Party leader, Nicola Sturgeon address the flag waving crowd. I draw a few of them. OAP’s with CND badges pinned to their woolly hats berate the members of the press pen, especially those from the BBC. ‘We’ll come to London and burn down your houses ‘ they shout.

Nicola Sturgeon has tiny hands. She uses pointy gestures, holds up single or double digits whilst delivering her message and  often clenches both fists with elbows held close to her well cut platinum-blue jacket. She is very popular with the nationalist crowd who wave saltires overlaid with the number 45.

I climb up onto the plinth of Prince Albert’s equestrian statue and make some drawings of Mrs Sturgeon surrounded by press photographers.

This is the first occasion during the 2015 election campaign period that  I’ve been able to witness and capture the phenomenon of a candidate creating any kind of ‘political fervour ‘. Members of the crowd who I speak to after the SNP leader has left refer to her as  ‘Oor Nicola ‘ and rail against negative representations of her in the press.

SNP in Glasgow

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  Hyde, RUSI, -3  Eclipse, Occupy, Breakfast, -5

8.30 am Friday 3rd April 2015.

Liberal Democrat poster launch at the Hare and Hounds Pub, Hyde, Cheshire.

The Liberal Democrats latest poster campaign is already visible when I arrive at a foggy pub car park up above the small town of Hyde in the freezing rain.

In addition to the media, the Lib Dem candidate and Lib Dem supporters a silent troupe of elderly Labour Party supporters holding red  ‘Vote Labour’ placards pop up from behind a dry stone wall on the other side of the road.

I make some rapid drawings of Nick Clegg and Danny Alexander as they speak, eschewing  umbrellas, to the cameras of BBC North West.

The pub doors open shortly after Clegg and Alexander have motored away and a small  West Highland terrier reluctantly pops out to see to its morning duties.

The landlord kindly provides some very welcome hot coffee.

Liberal Democrat poster launch

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