Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Get off your backside and go and win some votes

County Council elections are approaching, and I am girding my loins for the usual round of feeble excuses which I have heard at every election for the past 30 years, usually from laissez faire candidates who think elections can be won from the comfort of their armchair.

I know that some of them read my blog! To save awkward conversations in a few weeks time, here is my standard reply to all the excuses I have heard over the years (and ill no doubt hear again between now and 2nd May)

1. There's no point canvassing tonight, the football is on....
Nor tomorrow as it's Emmerdale, Wednesday is Coronation Street, Thursday is the evening families go grocery shopping, Friday is the start of the weekend, Saturday is useless as everyone is out and Sunday will offend the Christians. Daytime canvassing is pointless as everyone is at work, evening canvassing is no better as people have just returned home from work and they are tired. It's a waste of time canvassing in summer as everyone is out at the beach / park / in the garden and in winter it's too cold and people won't stand and chat.  In other words, there's always a feeble excuse not to knock on doors!

2. After being on the Council for eight years everyone knows who I am....
Do they really...?  Then let's run a little experiment.  I am going to pick ten people at random from the electoral register and phone them and ask if they can name their local County Councillor.  For every one who can name you, I will give you £5. For each of those who doesn't know your name, you give me £5.  Let's see who is better off at the end!

3. There's no point delivering a Voter ID Survey as I know all the local issues...
That's good!  Let's have a little test.  There's a lady at 37 Manor Lane - Mrs Hall. Write on this piece of paper the issues which concern her most. After you have written down her issues, I will call and ask her the same question. What are the odds you have got it right?

4. I don't need to read your 'Guidance Notes for Canvassers' as I've been doing this for years...
In that case, why do you write L for Labour when the code has been S for the last 10 years?  Also, P means probably not possible.

5. There's no point doing more than one leaflet as too much paper irritates people...
So thinking back to the election last year, why did all those candidates who delivered regular In Touches and pledge letters get such better results than those who did not ?

6. In the good old days we used to tour the streets with a loud speaker....
Why would you wish to irritate your opposition and remind them to go out and vote against you?

7. When I go canvassing I don't think it's right to ask people how they are going to vote...
In that case, why are you bothering? The purpose is to build your pledge base so we know who to target during GOTV.   Sorry ?  GOTV - it means Get Out The Vote. Yes, that's right - we've been calling it that for ten years now! 

8. I don't have enough people to do knocking-up so I have asked my helpers to stand at the polling station Telling.
Eh? What's the point of Telling if you're not going to use the data? No-one is likely to change their vote as there isn't a nice lady with a blue ribbon standing at the polling station door. However, dozens might be persuaded to vote if you tell them how much you need their support.  

9. It's far too early to start knocking-up
And no doubt by 6pm you won't be able to knock-up as it's dark! And by the way, the two people sat in the Committee Room (it's called a Campaign HQ now) with a car waiting for people to phone asking for lifts may as well go out and knock on a few doors. No-one phones to ask for a car now!  And no, the Campaign HQ isn't where the committee meet to chat or gather for lunch, and the candidate really doesn't need to stop working to visit the hairdresser - he / she have plenty of time to make himself / herself look glamorous if he / she loses his / her seat!

10. The work of the Council and committees continues during elections, you know..
...and it will continue without you if you don't get out and meet your voters and win their support.  How can you expect your team to slog the streets on your behalf if you are not there with them?  And NO! I'm not prepared to ask CF to abandon the target seats they have adopted, to deliver your leaflets as you are too busy to campaign for yourself.

Any more feeble excuses?  If so, leave a comment and I will add them to my list!

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