Monday, January 31, 2011

Campaign Diary - Day minus 1

So the day is almost upon us. Posters have been printed and teams are ready to clamber up every lamppost in the country. The phony war is almost over and we can go into overdrive for the next 3 odd weeks trying to get our preferred candidates elected.

In a way, it almost feels anti-climatic. For more than a year now the government has been wobbling from one crisis to the next and at each stage we on the opposition side have been calling for them to go to the country. Now that Cowen is about to do that, after the stage-managed events in Leinster House tomorrow, it feels a little bit flat. We were all hoping that they'd go out with a bang, instead a slow-motion implosion over the last two months has made it difficult to get hyped up. However, once the starting gun is fired all that will go and it will be all hands to the pump.

Of course the campaign has really be underway for the last few months. We have been leafleting and canvassing steadily since the selection convention last May, partly on local issues with the councillors but also as an exercise in getting the name out for the new candidate Kevin Humphries in the Pembroke-Rathmines ward where he may not be as well known. Tonight we have the final pre-election canvass and leaflet drop in Rathmines followed by a branch meeting to rally the troops for the coming weeks.

The thing that is nice about politics in Ireland is that no matter how vitriolic the fighting between the parties gets on the national stage, at a local level things always remain cordial. Groups of canvassers that meet will co-ordinate to not knock at the same doors one after the other. Warnings of rabid dogs (and rabid voters!) are exchanged and pints will be drunk together in the local pubs. We all recognize that we have to live together in the same areas after the election so best off not being a complete jerk.

To all who will be wearing out the shoe leather over the next month, good luck. It's going to be tough but it's ultimately rewarding whether you win or lose.

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