Thursday, 4 June 2009

Election Diary: T-2: 29 Hours Til Polls Open

I know you're all fed up of election clichés at this stage, so I won't bore you with stories of my feet, blistered though they are, or my haircut, which the eagle-eyed amongst you might spot in before and after modes in the pictures below.

No, I'm going to tell a few other clichés.

Before I do, here's a pic of me at the Belgard Luas Stop this morning, where we have been leafleting and speaking to local people all week. An early start was compounded by the unbelievable punctuality of Enda Duffy, whose role in the campaign is everything from a transport manager to poster master and canvass director. He took this picture too - the "Maria Parodi" shot of my campaign!

(For those not in the know both Maria and my former Labour Youth sparring partner Rebecca Moynihan have hit many's the headline recently, basically because they are attractive and young women. I neglected to mention that I was featured in an Evening Herald piece yesterday on 'fresh-faced' and 'handsome' young male candidates - though, sadly, my picture and phone number were not attached.)

Enda arrived beyond promptly this morning - at 7.30 - and lasted until about 10 this evening.

Like the dozens of others who have worked their socks off for the campaign, Enda is doing so with political reasons in mind, but I do want to thank him personally for all the months of work he has put in. I once managed Enda's unfortunately unsuccessful campaign for President of UCD Students' Union, but his management and good humour are far more successful this time out, regardless of the outcome.

Those same ones amongst you with eagle eyes - or those of a hawk, like Bravestarr - will have spotted Enda in our last youtube video of the campaign. I freely admit that we had to use Enda for a 'canvass' shot as the technical side of things didn't work out on the real things, and we were under pressure for time.

Now to Cliché #1: Babies and Kids. I've been followed round the doors by kids who love shouting out my name. What can only be described as a gaggle of 20 or so of them followed me around Limekiln last night with a poster - I assume they'd ripped it down - and were looking for autographs, stickers and whatever else I had going.

These kids are a little more genuine in their support, or at least their mam and dad are. Colm, Kevin and Mark, my three Kerry nephews, are in Dublin for the graduation of their aunt and my 'baby' sister, Aisling - who from tomorrow will be Doctor Aisling Looney. Ash spent 6 years in UCD doing Medicine and the whole family are up to celebrate her graduation with first class honours tomorrow. Sadly, I won't make it out to my alma mater with the last-day campaigning but Aisling was out with us tonight as she'll be spending tomorrow celebrating. I'm very proud of her and she's a great example of why fees should remain off the agenda.

The support from my family has been amazing, from my 71 year old dad climbing up poles to erect posters, to my mam canvassing half of Tymon Park, my other sister Tara making sambos and my three brothers constantly encouraging and supporting from Cork, Kerry and Galway. They'll be delighted when it's all over and their home, car spaces and lives are back to normal!

Cliché # 2 is this fetching rosette which I wore for the first time today. We've tried to mix a bit of traditional electioneering with more cutting-edgework. It was lovely to get another mention on the front page of today, and I know the hits were excellent because of it.

We were again all over the constituency today, from the Luas leaflets in the morning, to more traditional leaflet dropping in the afternoon, and our biggest canvass of the campaign in Greenhills this evening. I was honoured to have 25 - political - brothers and sisters out with me on the doors tonight, covering a vast sweep of an area from Perrystown to Walkinstown and deep into Greenhills Estate. This picture doesn't even tell the full story - a few had headed home by the time the photo was taken at the end of the session.

They say not to do such a big canvass, and that it's right to split them up into smaller groups. But as you all know, I'm not one for those political clichés - we're going to build it even bigger tomorrow, and fight hard for every vote we can in the remaining 29 hours, and right through then til 10pm on Friday. Hope to be blogging while I'm at it. Adelante!