April 1991

This month started with the family visit to California with Daniel’s girlfriend Angela accompanying us and ended with the trauma of the election campaign peak. Once back home, we restored our swimming pool and pond and I returned to my Council and Election duties, securing £7.500 towards the cost of extending the village hall and leaving the local LibDems in good shape for success early next month.

Oil well fires raged in Iraq where Saddam Hussein and his men had gained the upper hand after the Kurds had been deserted by their US allies. The Poll Tax died a formal death with the re-introduction of a property tax based on capital values with a discount of 25% for one-person occupation.                                                                                                                   

This early part of the month was spent in the southern part of this American State visiting Disneyland, Universal Studios and Knotts Berry Farm and this finished with the excruciating journey back across the Atlantic in the crowded jumbo jet. We found California much as we had left it, but lacking some of the freshness, all of the ‘flower people’ and many of the facilities that had made it pleasant to visit. At least the cable cars have retained their unique quality that has survived their renovation after the earthquake as “them big wheels kept on turning". It was just a pity that there were less characters operating them and that the cable car turns accommodate even more of the destitute poor who have been failed by the social security system.

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Tuesday 30th April 1991

Another organising day as Election Day was almost upon us. As well as our local team, John Matthewman, our Cambridge systems consultant, was also helping and lending us hardware and now we had our committee rooms planned, staffed and ready for polling day action! Sally was a real treasure in coming round and helping me 

By now the election was almost upon us and the hectic sequence of organisational moves had begun. The Priory Ward candidates were confident and starting to ease up in their campaign, reckoning that they had done enough canvassing and could now concentrate on election day. John Davidson had tried to print out the Shuttleworth’s and had run into difficulty; as the stationery was of the wrong sort. I had been in touch with John Matthewman, our Cambridge systems consultant, and he undertook to get us some of the requisite paper, to also lend us a printer and then to provide me with his copy of the EARS new release and manual so that we could complete our preparations for polling day.

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Monday 29th April 1991

A very good organisational day, briefing and training LibDem colleagues and candidates and putting in place the measures needed to plan for a very organised Polling Day. Meetings with Sally and Brian Guinee, Michael, Percy and several other helped and members as all of the arrangements started slotting into place.

I was up before 5.45am after a restless night and brought morning drinks for Diana and I to the bedroom so that we could have a chat. In the event, she was all grumpy at having been disturbed and so I wished I had not bothered to show her the consideration. I had also showered, shaved and dressed by 6.15am and so got the car out and drove round to see Brian Guinee to see if he could take my diskettes to work and copy them. My computer works with the new 1.4Mbyte three-and-a-half inch floppy disks and John Davidson's machine (which I was intending to use in the other ward) had a five-and-a-half inch format so that data could not easily be transferred between the two. I met up with Brian, walking down Avenue Road, before 6.30am and he was most surprised to see me but had to say that he was off to London for the day and could not do the job.

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Sunday 28th April 1991

A mind-boggling day first keying in canvassing date and then planning the pre-election day training and preparations with functional briefs for all involved. This whilst rehabilitating two of our candidates with their personal and business problems! The culmination of all these issues was a huge action list to result in the best-planned election day ever! I still found time to go roller skating with my daughters.

I did not get to bed until about 1.00am after all of my exertions and excitement today. Then I was awoken early before 7.00am by the bright sunlight forcing its way around the curtains and also by the loud cries of our visiting peacock. Just time to shave, shower and dress before our traditional fried breakfast and then I reverted to election work after looking around the conservatory and garden. A little time on my journal first thing and then I completed the keying in of the Eaton Socon canvassing data before Linda came round to help me to key in the Priory Park data after lunch. Whilst she was occupying the machine with this, I occupied myself with listing out the action items that we had to do between us for the election and it was hair-raising. I was faced with the problem of getting my colleagues to act on many of them when they were tired after the exhaustions of the week and wanting to rest on the Lord's Day!

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