Still No Canvassers

For a week now, I have been peeping thru the Venetian blinds looking out for canvassers. Still none. This is disappointing as I feel like a good argument with people who wont actually punch me.

First off, I will be expecting canvassers to close the gate. Its the little things.

The downside of living in a village that is 100 per cent nationalist/Catholic is that we only get SDLP and Sinn Féin. As I am actually a member of the local branch of SDLP, I hope they call to say hello.

Sinn Féin always call…more than once. Their tactic should be interesting. Either they will tell me that SDLP is not “republican” or “nationalist” or they will agree that it is and ask me for a second and third preference.

As always Sinn Féin will use any tactic that they think will work. In 2011, they told me that my SDLP vote was unecessary as the candidate was “safe” and that by voting SF, “we” could take another seat for nationalists. But in another part of the constituency, they told would-be SDLP voters that the candidate was “toast”. So at least Sinn Féin will give me an argument but to be honest I cant be arsed. I probably wont answer the door.

I have never actually seen a unionist canvasser at any house where I have lived. ….West Belfast, Dungannon and this village. To their credit, they have canvassed Catholic homes and while they might not get many votes, they at least take the voter seriously.

SDLP are certainly canvassing non-nationalist areas. Again it is treating voters with courtesy. The reaction….well often the real vitriol comes from committed SF voters. SDLP canvassers across eighteen constituencies seem to be getting good feedback.

The phrase “positive reaction on the doorsteps” is of course standard for every political party. But certainly SDLP have more canvassers out there than in any recent election. They also seem to have started early so that Euro/locals (2014), Westminster (2015) has at least given continuity. The supporters and the “dont knows” are better known and there is a different kinda canvas ongoing with organised groups such as trade unions, charities and pressure groups. Visibility is everything….and a young, Stormont-based Leader like Colum Eastwood pressing the flesh and appearing in very localised media (yesterday it was Castlewellan) might be making a difference. All Politics is local after all.

Yet “positive reaction on the doorsteps” is not in itself a good thing. In 2015, part of the shock of Labour’s collapse in Scotland was that it seemed to contradict at least some canvassing returns. The fact is that too many people had already given up on Labour and thought they were not worth the bother of a doorstep fight.

I live in hope that Alliance…hopefully some cherubic 20something IT consultant will knock my door. They did actually leave us a leaflet (mostly about dog-fouling) in early 2014 but they havent been seen in the village since. I did see an Alliance member from this constituency canvas last year. He was canvassing ….in East Belfast for Saint Naomi Long.

It is a shame….I have my entirely reasonable “Alliance Party are undemocratic scumbags” argument all prepared and they never show up.

For the record, the answer the canvassers hate most is not “I wouldnt vote Alliance/SF/DUP/ UUP if you paid me”. That changes nothing. The response they really hate is “I always vote Alliance/SF/DUP/UUP….but not this time”. Thats the response they dont want to take back to the de-briefing. And as a bonus….you might get re-canvassed at a later date with a “please, please, please dont desert us” and you can enjoy the fact that you are wasting resources of your rival.

Dont forget….walkabouts ….in strange towns. If you have a bus pass and can travel free to Bangor, East Belfast, Antrim , you may be lucky enough to be canvassed by Stephen Farry, Naomi Long and David Ford and you can agonise with them that you are a gene pool letsgetalongerist who will never vote Alliance again.

Remember in canvassing, nobody actually expects you to tell the truth.


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11 Responses to Still No Canvassers

  1. Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

    Sinn Féin should be round soon I expect. Sinn Féin have a lot of workers and operate a very good canvass operation in nationalist areas.

    • Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

      Before you drag up the whole thing about Sorcha McAnespy’s decision to leave Sinn Féin, this is a complete non-story. Obviously there is often a lot of competition to be selected to stand as a candidate for SF and its a well-worn problem for all political parties that sometimes people become disappointed and then resign from the party if they are not selected. Sinn Féin’s candidates are selected in democratic selection conventions.

      • Well, seeing as you brought it up….if it was just one incident, then it would as you say be a little unfortunate. When it happens twice in a few months, it looks like a habit.
        You seem to have forgotten the gret example of Sinn Féin democracy that resulted in another Tyrone woman, Michelle Gildernew losing out to three men.
        Indeed Sinn Féin love Democracy so much that they had another democratic selection convention to overthrow their first democratic decision.

      • Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

        I think what happened in FST is completely different. On the one hand the West Tyrone thing is the case of a simple huff from someone who failed to be selected – common enough stuff for any political party. The candidate thinks that shouting about mysogeny is going to help her – it won’t. On the other hand in FST adding Michelle to the ticket helped to result in a very strong slate of candidates and (imho) should see SF retain three seats there come May.

      • Nonsense.
        The Fermanagh-South Tyrone selection convention was “democratic”. But they overturned the decision at another “democratic” convention.
        Presumably you live in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, West Tyrone or the Tyrone part of Mid Ulster.
        You may be more familiar with the personalities than I am. Maybe yoy are a Sinn Féin member rather than a supporter. Either way you will know that SF sets out to pour scorn on anyone who crosses them.
        Ms McAnespy has publicly stated her reason for leaving Sinn Féin and it follows a familiar pattern. On the other hand you have anonymously chosen to say that she is wrong “a simple huff”.
        That makes you a less credible witness than Ms McAnespy.

      • Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

        Well let us just say that it smells like sour grapes.

      • What are you on about?
        You brought up the fact that Sinn Féin in TYrone and Fermanagh are hopelessly divided.

      • Sinn Féin Supporter in Tyrone says:

        Sour grapes, not from you, but from the rejected candidate.

    • Well, I will be disappointed if they dont show up.

  2. This reminds me of something that happened years ago, an SDLP councillor came to our door (our family is in the countryside), asked us whereabouts some person(s) on the electoral register lived on our road. We said they lived the other end, about 5 minutes drive.
    He (the councillor) asked my late father where we were on the register, he duly pointed us out. This councillor said, “I know I won’t get your first preference, but if we get your second, we’ll keep Sinn Fein out”.
    My father said nothing, considering that we are catholic, councillor man left, and visited my brother who lived beside us, told him the same line too. Thats one thing about canvassing: Never……presume anything. He clearly looked at our surname, and thought “protestant/unionist”.

    • I have not canvassed in -about forty years. Even then there were surprises.
      A group of us SDLP did look across Springfield Road and decided wewould drop a few leaflets in Ainsworth Avenue. ….we got chased.

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