It’s only a few days since the debacle for Labour that was the 2015 General Election Result. The Tories have shuffled their cabinet, and we in Labour are currently shuffling our feet, thinking what to do next. So, whilst the posturing for the leadership contest gets underway and the weeping and gnashing of teeth slowly abates, I feel drawn to dwell on the lighter side of the campaigning of the last few months.
This was my first, end to end, General Election campaign and I’ve learned a lot. Here are the top lessons –
- Comfortable footwear should not be under-estimated. This campaign saw me destroy three pairs of shoes. When you’re walking up to 15 miles a day, you want to be comfortable. Neon is optional though.
- The designers of most letterboxes are sadists. My knuckles are evidence that ACME Cheese Graters Ltd also has a nice side line in letterbox design.
- Dogs can be more cunning than you expect. It’s not the big ones or the loud ones that you have to watch out for; it’s the wee ones that wait silently under the letterbox that will give you a heart attack.
- Take necessary precautions against chafing. Enough said.
- The designers of most letterboxes are sadists. Who ever thought it was a good idea to put a letterbox at the bottom of a door?
- Having a door shut in your face is a political rite of passage. A bit like childhood picnics in Largs, it’s not nice, but it’s character–forming.
- Watch out for the SHOUTY MAN. You may not know it, but somewhere, even now, a SHOUTY MAN is poised in a hallway, just waiting for you to knock his door whilst wearing the wrong badge.
- Some shortcuts are not all they promise to be. That route to the next door that avoids you having to go back up the path and down the next path? It’s a shrubbery. Just don’t.
- Fuel up on polling day. Even if you’re campaigning in the seat that prides itself on declaring first (Sunderland), 7am to 1am is still a long time to stay alert. Bananas and French Fancies are essential.
- We’re in a Party Rosette Arms Race. Did you see the size of some of those UKIP ones?
- The Voter ID Board is like the Ring of Sauron. One ring to rule them all…The power of the board can do funny things to some people (not just Hobbitses).
- The designers of most letterboxes are sadists. What are those brushes in the middle for? No-one wants to fight a hedgehog just to deliver a Sorry You Were Out card. Posties, I salute you.
But the greatest lesson of all? It’s that fighting for your ideals, taking them out onto the street, to the doors of strangers, and doing your bit to work for a better society is one of the most rewarding things you can do.