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Memories of electioneering with Pat Edlin

06 December, 2019

Pat Edlin

• I SAW Pat Edlin from a different perspective, that of opposing ward chairman for Bunhill in the 1983 general election, (Labour stalwart dies suddenly, November 29).

Inevitably from time to time we spent the evening canvassing the same block, him for Labour and me for the Conservatives.

There was, of course, a bit of mickey-taking but though no doubt raucous it was good natured and, if we ended our campaigning work in the same place, we would go off to the pub together, on occasion comparing the responses we had received on the doorstep.

For those who are curious, we found that a disconcerting number of people had promised to vote for both parties.

Voting day was cold and we were both stationed at a school in Moreland Street where the returning officer was strict about not crowding the entrance.

We needed hot drinks but neither of us felt it right to leave his post. In the end it was agreed that I would fetch the coffee if Pat would represent both parties in my absence.

There was a third representative there, I think from the SDP, who agreed to go off in search of newspapers on the same terms.

As I walked away on my errand I could hear Pat’s booming voice welcoming slightly bemused voters on behalf of all three parties as he collected up the voting cards to share out.

While I was away, the polling station had a visit from the Labour campaign organisers who were not a bit amused to see one of their most left-wing activists wearing the rosettes of the other parties.

But Pat had given his word and refused to take them off until we came back; so he was still dressed as a sort of political traffic light when I and our SDP colleague returned.

I was very sorry indeed to read of Pat’s death.

JOHN WATSON, N1

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