Seniors quiz (potential) junior minister at Henord House(April 25, 2010)
A general election hopeful took 90 minutes today to listen to the views of 20 residents of a care home in Warminster and may have found a new way to 'woo' the voters.
South West Wiltshire Tory candidate Andrew Murrison accepted an invitation to visit Henford House after being told that residents had made the request.
Sitting in the lounge surrounded by 16 residents he fielded questions about issues ranging from national service to immigration and equipping the armed forces.
"I believe there is a case for a national volunteer service but not compulsory and certainly not in uniform," he replied.
"I know many look back on national service with nostalgia and say they were the best days of their life but we cannot burden the armed forces in this way."
Three times mayor of Warminster Joan Main told him that she had 'spoken to young recruits and it was the discipline they had found rewarding.'
"Was Enoch Powell right?" asked another resident.
"He was a very intelligent man but I would say not," responded Dr. Murrison. "Certainly not now and not even then.
"But that isn't to say we should have an open door policy."
The issue of poor equipment for the military was raised by ex-RAF serviceman Eddie Williams.
"I remember my days in Cyprus with the UN and the British were poor;ly equipped back then compared with other nations," he said.
As tea and homemade cake was handed around Dr. Murrison took the time to go and speak to each resident and former Longleat butler Ken Doel chatted about the Iraq War with him.
It also in turn prompted the first of several amusing moments.
Kissing babies and shaking hands is a traditional election activity but Dr. Murrison may have set a new precedent.
"Have you noticed I have dressed in blue," said Rose Clarke. "I love you. Come here and give me a kiss."
The candidate duly obliged leading another to ask for one as well.
As Andrew left the room to respond to four requests to visit residents in their rooms Rose burst into song with what must be a ditty from the days before television
"I'm a blue girl. I'm a blue girl, Through and through. Through and through," she sang.
"I was delighted to receive the invitation to come here," said Dr. Murrison. "It is always a pleasure to listen to views of our senior citizens."
Home manager Jenny Davies had issued the invitation after a residents and relatives meeting.
"I think he came across very well and he has shown real interest in us before," she said.