Have been campaigning hard now for the last three week, out almost every evening knocking on doors and speaking to people. I won't get round to every one as there simply isn't time but I'm encouraging people to ring me if I miss them and they want a chat.
The support is phenomenal and a step change up from last year. I have no way of guessing what the result will be but I'm very optimistic!
Having covered part of the area around Gatland Park and Fant Lane this week, people are concerned about kids hanging around and causing trouble. I'm all for kids hanging around - especially in parks. I seem to remember doing it myself a long time ago! Not so keen on causing trouble...
Some suggest more CCTV. I suggest we have more than enough CCTV (the average person is caught 300 times a day on CCTV) and I have massive problems with the surveillance society that we live in and CCTV simply moves the problem to other areas.
Others suggest that the kids should go home. Again, I think kids need to be out and about and learning about society and community. They can't do that on a Play Station. Lots of kids do stay in, often because of the perceived (and sometimes real) dangers of letting them out. The roads are ridiculously busy - far busier than they were 30 years ago - this needs addressing urgently. But the safety of kids playing outside would be greater if more kids did it. It would be greater if communities reclaimed the streets from the cars and the rat runs.
There is no instant fix to people's concerns, and the only way to resolve these issues if through building communities. What we mustn't do is discriminate and demonise our children.