Did an election really take place yesterday????

I have been involved in elections for the last few years as a member of a local party campaign team and an election agent. This year I have not been and it feels strange, it feels as though an election did not take place.


The very small campaign team was set up late and not at the end of last year or early weeks of this. It appears to have had limited ambitions and has done what normally happens fail to engage with members properly and encourage them to help out. It has delivered leaflets that appear to have been put together at the last minute and “are rubbish” according to some neighbours of mine. They failed to engage.

Again as usual there was no canvassing done. I know the pandemic made it difficult but there was telephone canvassing the could be done. It was only done by one person in the local party on one afternoon. Yes other people were canvassed by phone but not by members of the local party – those outside did some for the Regional Campaign. When doorstep canvassing was allowed, none was done. I know this as I’m the admin person for our data sets and I checked every day to see if I needed to process stuff. There was nothing. A missed opportunity to gather data to help win a Council seat next year. It just makes it harder to do so.

The local party have a website and bulk email system. Neither were used prior to the campaign. As the admin for this area i was not asked to help update the site or send anything out though I did offer back in February, an offer that was not taken up until end of April. I was then sent two articles for East Lothian and 2 for Midlothian North & Musselburgh (MN&M). This despite the fact the local paper was posting weekly articles, written by the candidates, for about 4/5 weeks prior to polling day. I published all 4 articles and noticed our website had a four-fold increase in hits as a result. I also sent out all articles by email to the respective groups and only 4 people – people who had nothing from us for over 6 months – unsubscribed.

I also posted all 4 articles onto our local party Facebook page. It is noticeable that the two of them had better reactions than the others. Those were the two for MN&M especially the one with the candidate planting a tree. This suggest the power of a decent photograph drawing people’s attention.

There was nothing done in the final week that I’m aware of. Hence my question at the start of this.

It feels strange not being involved. I could have been more involved in Regional stuff but I don’t have private transport anymore and that made things difficult to pick up leaflets that I could have used and canvassed locally myself separately from the main stuff. It might have helped me feel more engaged. Accordingly it is highly unlikely I will be involved in any more campaigns going forward. It would depend very much on the candidate and whether I felt I could work with them. I’m the admin for several systems we use, I can give people access and advice on how to use them but, I need to be asked. I am not going to offer otherwise.

About Stuart Smith

Live on the East Coast of Scotland with views of the Isle of May and Bass Rock out my window. Retired and giving up political activity gradually as no-one locally is interested.
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