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At the front line May 3, 2007

Posted by canvasser in Irish Election 2007, Irish Politics.

Don’t believe the newspapers. The real campaign kicked off in the early New Year for the Candidate. This was the point at which people were contacted as regards their ‘availability’. Availability to leaflet that is.

The Candidate doesn’t have the resources of the larger formations and depends upon the good will of friends, former friends, relatives and the odd ideological fanatic who has wandered in by accident, been ensnared by the “charisma” of the main man, and is willing to put in longer hours. The old hands are certain that burn out will occur in the latter case. They’re hoping it won’t be before May 24th.

This army has taken to the streets of the constituency on Saturdays and Sundays or weeknights. There hasn’t been canvassing done. It’s been rapid two hour bursts of leafleting. The leaflets change depending on the mood of the candidate. A rookie mistake is to ask the candidate as to why we are doing ‘such and such an area again, didn’t we do here last week?’. The Candidate has a method – but he’s not sharing it with the foot soldiers.

It’s been easy going. A chance to get close up to letter boxes and feel sympathy for An Post workers. To avoid mutts who like to lie just inside gates where they’re are most difficult to see. Or to avoid the other mutts who live for the arrival of a stranger. Only tripped over three so far and only had to run once. Lost a vote because a dog was leet out of a garden when it was meant to stay inside the gate (who knew?) and gained it again by cornering said canine and dragging it back in. Dogs are great. But they’re frightening when they’re above certain size and below a certain size. That size varies.

Here are a few rules…

  1. Don’t leaflet the doors with “No Junk Mail”. Those lead to calls to the constituency office. Bad calls that upset people. Sometimes the constituency office staff. but more importantly the Candidate.
  2. Do put the leaflet in gently so as to make no noise. No one likes noise at the front door. Then again that can sound too furtive, as if you’re in the process of casing the place. There is an optimum level of noise, but no one has yet found it.
  3. Don’t put a leaflet in the door of adjoining houses to save time. People have dislocated shoulders in the process of leaning across the dividing walls. Seriously.
  4. Do wear a hat. The sun is the enemy. So is the rain. And the wind.
  5. Don’t just ignore rival Candidates teams. Smile, but move on. They’re not your friends, even if they smile back.
  6. Don’t leaflet with a chatterbox. It slows things down and mistakes area made. And it annoys the Candidate, particularly if it’s the Candidates former girlfriend. Worse if it’s the Candidates current girlfriend.
  7. Do follow the Candidates instructions to the letter as to where to leaflet. The Candidate leaflets. But the Candidate also drives around from point to point to collect people and bring them to a new spot. If you’re not at the pickup that annoys the Candidate too.
  8. Do have prepared answers to questions. What is the Candidates policy on global warming? Against. What is the Candidates policy on social housing? For. What is the Candidates policy on Hugo Chavez? Pass. The Candidate hasn’t thought about Chavez. Don’t say that on the door.
  9. Do remember “it’s local, stupid”. Everything is local. The big issues aren’t that important except to people who don’t bother voting.
  10. Do remember this is an opportunity to: get healthy, look at property and spend three weeks away from home in your own neighbourhood.


1. Pidge - May 7, 2007

In Dun Laoighaire, we’ve got a very, very local leaflet (sometimes road or estate specific). Mostly, people want to talk about bigger things – Bertie, possible coalitions, tax, global warming etc etc.


2. For those fresh from the coalface, here’s a look back to 2007. « The Cedar Lounge Revolution - February 25, 2011

[…] find them, here, here, here, here and […]


3. Ceannaire - April 8, 2014

Depends on the good will of former friends? Must be desperate.


4. Canvasser stories from previous elections and from this one… | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - January 26, 2020

[…] find them, here, here, here, here and […]


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