Tales from the Phonebank 1 – Learning the AV Referendum Lessons – Using Props well

In Chester the campaign to 'Axe MPs' Jobs for Life' took a turn for the worse

I’ve decided now that the referendum was almost last year that it was time to allow people into some of the more amusing aspects of the campaign. I should explain, that as the North West regional organiser of the Yes campaign it was my responsibility to deliver the ‘ground campaign’ in the region.

Although many of us argued strongly for a literature campaign, rather than the phonebanking that was adopted (hence the title of this section), eventually the campaign also focused increasingly on stunts. These ranged from banners, to dressing up as turkies (as they don’t vote for Christmas, like MPs) but this first installment involves an inflatable axe, though to be honest it more resembled a tomahawk rather than an axe.

As the campaign was heavily focused on the argument that Alternative Vote would end the ‘Jobs for Life’ culture of safe seats we were sent into the regions to hold up a banner with the words – “MPs Jobs for Life” and were expected to hold the said tomahawk over the banner, thus expressing the view that MPs jobs for life should be axed.

However, it is fair to say that people of Chester, where we held this banner, were utterly convnced that we were campaigning for “MPs Jobs for Life” and were just mildly bemused by ‘what’s that young man with the inflatable tomahawk doing?’

We didn’t do this stunt again, though we did find other used for the tomahawk/axe!

Office beheadings became a standby activity at times (Highvis jackets were important to maintain Health and Safety)

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