Candidates reveal experiences of vandalism and hostility on election campaign trail
As election campaigning enters its last few days, two candidates in our area have revealed the nasty side of local democracy.
One has told how she was followed by a man shouting and swearing at her while on the campaign trail, while another discovered one of his posters had been vandalised at the weekend.
However, both have stressed the incidents are isolated and the vast majority of campaign interaction has been respectful.
Dozens of candidates are seeking your votes in Thursday’s elections to Norfolk County Council, as well as parish and town councils in Clenchwarton and Downham, plus the contest to be the county’s next Police and Crime Commissioner.
And one of them, Independent Sandra Squire, revealed at the weekend that she had been left shaken by an incident on the campaign trail.
Mrs Squire, who is bidding to retain her seat in the Marshland North division, said neither she nor her fellow Independent candidates had been affected by any damage issues.
But she added: “I did have one incident with a man following me down the road shouting and swearing at me, which shook me up a bit for a while.
“But outside of that, most people have been generally positive and pleasant.”
Mrs Squire was commenting after Conservative Ed Colman, who is also seeking re-election in the Swaffham division, found one of his campaign posters sited next to the A47 at Sporle had been vandalised at the weekend.
He blamed an “ignorant minority” for the damage, but insisted it would not stop him campaigning passionately between now and Thursday.
He said: “We are really lucky that across Norfolk the campaign and candidate interaction has been really respectful so far and it’s important to stress actions like this are carried out by an ignorant minority.
“Signs like this are put up for impact, to get people’s attention, and it’s obviously done its job as someone felt the need to do something so petulant.”
West Norfolk Liberal Democrat chairman Rob Colwell said he had not been aware of any cases of damage during the campaign so far.
But he added: “What has struck me is the real lack of campaigning, with many people saying they haven’t heard from candidates.”
He also suggested many could vote tactically on Thursday in a bid to unseat Conservative candidates.
The Tories currently hold a comfortable majority at County Hall with 55 out of 84 seats.
But a Norfolk Progressive Alliance Facebook page has been set up endorsing Green Party, Independent, Labour and Liberal Democrat candidates across the county as a whole.
Click here to see a list of all the candidates standing in our area.