It's election time again, Yaay! Local Elections that is, those wonderful opportunities to lean against your hall door jamb and tantalise the poor eejit who is dipping his toe in the electoral waters for the first time. Silkily batting him with a dainty verbal paw, knowing that you'll either
- not vote for him because he's not with YOUR Party;
- Promise him a second preference vote which is totally useless to the poor gombeen unless it comes after giving your first preference vote to a guaranteed returnee;
- Tell him you'll look after him and vote 1-10 in order of your preference, right along party lines, giving him the #10 vote;
- Set the dog on him;
- Send Junior [aged 9] out to tell him "Mammy's not home - are you Mammy?" - this last roared back up the hall as you lurk behind the kitchen door.
This year will be fun; recession! What, you ask acidly is he going to do about it, you fume at him after venting your spleen on Party Politics, The Government, Jobs for the Boys, Expenses, YOUR negative equity - and all this before the poor lúdramán can get a word in edgeways to remind you that this is a LOCAL election, not a GENERAL election.
Oh! Boy, has he ever been so way off the mark reminding you of that fact - so what about that footpath across the road that the Council have promised to fix since the last time? Huh? AND what about affordable housing, a new playing pitch for Dunuttin Rovers eh? while we're at it. He promised you faithfully four years ago you'd have "all dat 'n' more be deh next elekshun". Here he squeaks valiantly, that this is his first time out. "Ah go away then," you tell him, your beady eye already having spotted sitting Cllr. Murty O'Smugpuss coming down the road on the other side.
You have been waiting for him, nay lying in wait and now watch him squirm out of your Panzer attack, which, naturally you have honed and perfected in front of the bathroom mirror. Still, when you've finished with him you'll toss him your first preference, sure didn't he get your brother Matty's young one a house two year ago an' she with six childer?
I remember a couple of local elections ago, I had come home to visit my Mother. The door bell rang and she shuddered "Oh God, not another canvasser - you answer the door pet". I opened the hall door, and there, huffing and wheezing, scarlet faced with imminent heart attack was the Corpulent Candidate. I bid him a civil good afternoon, after all, he'd found the house.
"Whay hoff duh bheetin thraaak, gasp, here" he wheezed at me, pushing himself upright off the door jamb to shake my hand with a sweaty paw. "I'm your local undependent can-i-date and I'm looking for your vote".
Feral gleam entering my eye, I solemnly perused his bright, picture filled, almost totally wordless campaign literature and, settling myself on the door jamb I began...
"So, what are your major priorities for the next four years and what have you achieved since you were previously elected".
He wasn't getting any plus points for knocking on the door, because on that occasion I had been in a neighbours house on the corner of our lane when I heard him tell his canvass team "we won't bother going up there" - which cost him upward of 9 votes. After he paused for breath in a eulogy of self praise, I smiled sweetly at him, told him I wasn't on the register here, and slowly closed the door on his incredulous face.
I'm eagerly awaiting his visit on this campaign!