Independent Observer #1
I must say, I was greatly disappointed.
Here's our crew of young Tories, ignoring the first two rules of Activist Infiltration, which are as follows:
Activist Infiltration Rule #1 - Don't *be* a crowd, *join* the crowd.
Activist Infiltration Rule #2 – At least *try* to look like you belong.
If they'd spent a little more time with soap dodgers, they would know this. But they haven't done, didn't know, and were pegged from the start as a result.
So when it started raining and everybody else took shelter, they weren't able to use this as an excuse to join the group, mingle and make connections (which would have been pretty hard with the large signs they were carrying, anyway). Here they are getting moved on from a nearby bus shelter by a mean security guard.
Activist Infiltration Rule #3 - When *asked* if you belong, be ready with an immediate (and disarmingly naive) answer in the affirmative.
Activist Infiltration Rule #4 - Always have a detailed story in reserve, and only offer the full version if asked.
FFS, they didn't even claim to be waiting for a bus... so they had to go and stand in the rain, the poor dears.
Still, eventually the sun came out and they adorned themselves with their Fear of Crime message (which I just happened to blog about earlier today). That wasn't the only element of synchronicity today, BTW; Charles Kennedy's appearance here focused on the role of nurses in battling MRSA, but let's get back to that bit where voting for the local Lib-Dem will result in you being murdered in your bed...
Here's a lovely variation of the poster the Miltonites were carrying. Their posters read "A vote for your local Lib-Dem is a vote for this":
Note how the shadow from Kennedy's nose makes him look like Hitler (as spotted by Mark and provided here by Stuff and Nonsense). Clever stuff, huh? Beats all hell out of evil eyes. If you can swing a good resemblance to Hitler and make it subliminal, you've got it made.
Before he arrived, I got a chance to meet with many of the Sue Doughty supporters (who outnumbered the Miltonites easily by 12 to 1), and even some of her team members. Unsurprisingly, quite a few of them are fans of this weblog.
(waves 'hello' to Lib-Dem peeps)
We had a nice chat about this and that. One of them was even kind enough to lead me to an interwebbbed computer so I could make the earlier 'live' entry.
Now, if the Miltonites had obeyed Rules 1 through 4, they would have been able to do exactly the same thing. All that's required is a sound knowledge of Liberal thinking and some self control. A *poor* example follows:
"So, what are your views on immigration?"
"Well, I think diversity is an important part of any community and I would like to grind the foreign devils' bones into dust!"
Do this, and you *may* just blow your cover.
Sound knowledge. Self Control. Got it?
As it turned out, they got their picture taken by a few people who could be bothered to cross the road, but they were nowhere near the action.
Ooh, look! Here's Charles Kennedy, emerging from the Battle Bus to be greeted by our own Sue Doughty (who I also had the pleasure of meeting briefly).
Now here's the cool bit... I waltzed right in following the press troupe and looked busy (see Rule #2). *This* is where a determined activist should have been. On the spot in a crowded room with all cameras watching, ready with a fold-out poster and/or a difficult question. Getting dragged out of the room as you shout incoherently is always a good back-up plan, just in case the right opportunity fails to present itself.
Now, I was there primarily to watch out for just such a thing, so I could blog it. Having people in the crowd who 'knew' me helped... but the opportunity was there for the taking for anyone with a little knowledge, initiative and/or guts.
Did the Miltonites get this close? No, they did not. Because they suck.
(pokes tongue out at Miltonites)
It may have something to do with needing fewer brain cells to swallow Anne Milton's constant stream of drivel, but I've yet to get professional and independent confirmation of that.
Yes, I did get to shake Charles Kennedy by the hand... and I must say the man looks bloody healthy for someone with a new baby. And he walked out of the building *still* looking healthy (and in a surprisingly upright position).
Want to know why?
Because there was no grand legion of superbugs hiding in the beds and no tidal wave of foreigners/murderers hiding under them.
I'm sure that comes as a great relief to you.
(Oh, while we're all here, I'd like to introduce you to a Tory who doesn't believe in dirty tricks. He won't let those bullies win, nosiree!)
I hear that Michael Howard is coming to town shortly. If Anne agrees, I'm happy to attend this event as an observer also. I'll let you know how I get on.