Saturday, July 11, 2009

The woes of the first time candidate

A FIRST time candidate in any election has a lot of growing up to do. You have to be a quick learner and have some street smarts. However one thing is that people can’t blame you for wrong decisions in the past. This is to your main advantage.

What’s it’s like for a first time candidate

Machiavelli says: “One must be a fox in order to recognise traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves.” The first time candidate will see enemies both within and outside his/her chosen party. However Insider would say to the first time candidate that bouts of paranoia are quite normal and not a sign that you are going insane. There are people out to trap you and take advantage of your na├»vety every step along the way…that’s Irish politics. You have to deal with the media who can give you great coverage one week and ignore you for the next month.

You have your photo on thousands of leaflets, then you begin to talk about your political self as a kind of new identity. You may even begin to talk about your self in the third person. At this stage it is time to get a grip before your friends tell you to “cop on”. The truth is that most candidates’ election leaflets will go into the green bin or the fire two minutes after you drop them in the door. Is it a waste of time? Certainly not say well-seasoned canvassers. “You have to get your face out there” and “You have to become known” is their battle cry.

Every one has advice for the first time candidate and most have problems for them to solve. In stressful times such candidates feel they are on the verge of entering a religious preaching order. You know if you do get that seat you will have to sacrifice time with family, friends, and your beloved hobbies to pursue political ambitions and serve constituents.

Your friends and relatives think you have lost it. ‘”Why would anyone put themselves through such an ordeal?’ they ask. Some friends will then keep a distance in case they would catch a dangerous bug if they got too close to you. But all is not lost, there are some brave friends and relations who will take pity on you and give you the support you need. Insider would remind candidates however that inwardly they will still think you are a bit mad.

“Why are you running?” a woman asks you at a door. You give the usual answers like you’d like to see better traffic management, better social housing or you want to see all potholes filled in. She has a look on her face, which says, “I have heard all this before”. You try convincing her you mean what you say and thank her for her time. No vote there you are thinking, I’ll have better luck next door.

Seasoned canvassers, from other political parties, will wish you well. They are sincere, they are eying your number twos as they expect you will be knocked out in the first round.

Politics is not the road to sanctity. You were warned.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nuala - well said! I agree with what you wrote and well done for getting into the paper with it. It is indeed a hard road and I really admire anyone who has the energy to campaign and to put up with all the hassle and abuse you get. So I am glad to see you still at the writing - I haven't seen many blogs lately as I haven't done too much myself but I try to keep a few posts going each month.
    All the best Nuala and thanks for telling me about this article on Facebook.


About Me

My photo
GALWAY, Ireland
Born in Gaway City,spent 10years living in Roundstone, Connamara. Passionate about politics, singing and oil painting. Not a great cook but could learn