Communicating with the electorate
While Charles Kennedy was preparing to launch the party's European campaign, I was out last night with campaign workers surveying near the Whitechapel Road, on an estate with a dense Bangladeshi population.
I was met with strange looks at many of the doors I knocked on - asking people for their opinion about the local council, state of the roads and transport and policing got a great deal of blank looks. In many cases this was because the older residents didn't speak a lot of English; and trying to ask their children to translate for me and explain my politics... Well, I was lucky this time since I had one of our Bangladeshi councillors who could speak Sylheti to them.
But I do wish I converse directly with my would-be constituents. And maybe some surveys written in Bangladeshi wouldn't go amiss. I left our councillor trying to help a resident fill out the form by translating it with him by his door.
Perhaps next time I should go campaigning down in Lambeth, where there is a large Portuguese community. At least there I could converse in two languages!