Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Election Diary: T- 4: The Underdog Bites Back

It's going to be tougher and tougher to blog in the last few days of this campaign, but so many of you have told me you are readers - honestly - that I do feel a compunction.

Today was most certainly a day that would give you energy. It was, perhaps, one of our best days of the campaign so far. There were more than 20 activists around at various stages - we're hoping to build that even further in the last 3 days of Campaign '09.

We started off this afternoon with a canvass in the Square Shopping Centre. There was a reasonable crowd considering the gorgeous weather, and the feeling was most definitely towards Labour and our ideas amongst the shoppers and staff we met.

We shared, for a time, the middle of the second floor with Christian evangelists, one of whom shouted "Vote for Jesus!" I thought I was being very clever indeed to call out asking for a second preference for Looney, only to read this evening a Miriam Lord colour piece in the Times with pretty much the same line being used. Great minds and all that.

I was, again, asked for an autograph, which sounds a lot more glamorous than it is when it's generally the under-10 demographic who are interested.

After ice cream we headed to Belgard and Kilnamanagh for some leafleting and a chat with a few local residents. Pat Rabbitte TD joined up with us in Kilnamanagh and seems to revel in the electioneering. We took on fluids - definitely not the traditional Bank Holiday ones - before heading back to base.

Katriona had ably (wo)manned the computer while we had been on the trail, and, surrounded by paper, ink cartridges and envelopes, she proclaimed success on some of the paperwork - as necessary, if not more so, than the exercise in the Square earlier.

We hit the canvass trail again this evening in Dublin 12 with, again, some first-time campaigners; how wonderful it is to be welcoming new members to our campaign even at this late stage. We received what one of our canvassers called a "phenomenal reception." He may have been a little over-zealous but certainly our message is being positively received - except for one nun who was fiercely angry at being disturbed - and recognition is very high.

Perhaps it would be even higher but it is sad that so many of our posters - perhaps a third of the total - have been ripped down by, in many circumstances, rival campaigns. There are some who think they can bully a campaign which is much younger, fresher and not as well-moneyed but we have fought back in the only way we know - putting a real alternative to the voters, and keeping our eye on the ball. That they feel the need to behave in this way is perhaps indicative of the threat they feel from our supposed underdog campaign. We'll see when voters hit the polls in a little over 78 hours time.