There are a group of people who are as affected by politics and campaigning as much as we are, but more often than not they never chose to be, and often have no interest or involvement. I am talking about our wives / husbands and partners.
My long-suffering partner Steve has put up with my politics for 12 years now, without complaint. He often tells the story of how, on our first date, I spoke passionately about Libertarianism and how, in the UK, we have coalitions within political parties. I remember him looking interested and nodding enthusiastically, which probably encouraged me to talk about it even more. I only found out years later that he didn't have a clue what I was prattling on about!
The consequences of being married to a politician or an apparatchik is often higher than many of us realise. Whilst we engage with voters, attend evening meetings, stop off for post-canvassing beer or work late night after night and most weekends too, our partners are left alone at home. This struck-home a few years ago when the weekend after polling day I apologised to Steve for being exhausted and not wanting to do anything. "Don't worry love, it's just lovely to have you back."
It cannot be any fun for our non-political partners to live with someone who leaves home at 7am and returns at 10pm and are seldom seen at weekends either. Even on "days off" we spend our time semi-detached; more focused on our Blackberries and emails than life around us. Admittedly, the two months leading to elections are worst, but I suspect we're not the easiest people to live with any time!
So here is a thank you to Steve Browning for his love and support.