Ken Livingstone Phonebank

May 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Last night I volunteered in the phonebank for the Ken Livingstone for Mayor campaign, down in Labour Party Headquarters in Victoria. It was my first time working in a phonebank, and I stumbled a bit through the first few calls I made to voters in Orpington, even though none of the people I was talking to launched into particularly difficult policy debates when I asked “Do you have any issues or concerns about London at the moment?” I was impressed by the stamina and patience of the man sitting next to me, who found himself embroiled in conversations about immigration again and again.

Towards the end of the list of phone numbers I had been allocated was one with a different area code to the rest. A woman picked up; I looked at the list. “Hi, am I speaking to Ms Emmylou Harris?” (I’ve changed the name).


“Oh. Does she live there?”


I frowned, and looked at the area code again. “Do you live in Orpington?”

“No.” Pause. “I think I know what has happened here,” she said. “Ms Emmylou Harris lives in Orpington. With my husband.”

“Ah,” I said.

She burst out laughing. “This wasn’t quite the phone call you were expecting,” she observed.

I struggled to find something to say. “At least you’re laughing about it,” I managed,finally.

She stopped laughing. “Well…if you do speak to my husband, tell him he’s still an arsehole.”

I couldn’t help laughing at that myself. “I’ll see if I can fit it into the script,” I suggested as I ended the call.


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