Lighting a candle in the darkness

Down outside Wembley Central on that strangely soulless piazza with the station at one end and “Brighthouse” at the other launching Brent North’s election campaign.

Passers by stop off for a handshake, photo and chat with Barry Gardiner, who lives round the corner and is one of those MPs that really works his constituency and is available to everyone in it for a helping hand.

Most people are friendly – or at least relaxed about taking a leaflet.

Some stop for a chat. One elderly Indian bloke tells me he’s voted for every Labour Prime Minister since “that man with the cigars”. “Harold Wilson?” “That’s him.”

A few are hostile. It is only a few, but there’s more of an edge to it than previously.

Another guy says that Wembley High Street has gone “downhill under Labour – not like Harrow.” “Harrow is Labour too.” “Ah.” The same guy sees climate change as the end of days. “Its all in the book” (of Revelations) so he is not convinced that doing anything about it is worthwhile; a betrayal of posterity wrapped up in religious fatalism.

As we are packing up a muscly bald guy leans out of a powerful motor stuck in traffic and yells “scum!”

I know I shouldn’t react to things like that but I’ve always had a barely suppressed death wish and call back, arms outstretched, questioning look,  “That was articulate. Could we have a sentence please?”

Him going a bit red “Scum!”

Me, arching eyebrows a bit more. “Sentence?”

Him, looking around to see if he can jump out of the car and run across and start belting us. “Absolute scum!”

Me, cocked head, smile, hands open. “Two words! Sentence?”

He drives on with his jaw working…This is not a characteristic response. Most people were friendly, but this is a dark election in more ways than one.

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