On Saturday 27th Adam Burns and I had the opportunity to shadow Jason McCartney as he campaigned in Slaithwaite, Huddersfield.
Jason was my lecturer during the first year of my PR course for Research and Writing, and my previous blog post about visiting ITV was a trip organised by him as he used to work there. So when it was decided at the Behind the Spin meeting earlier this year that politics would be a subject we would cover, I jumped at the chance to get in touch with Jason and ask about shadowing him during his campaigning.
Jason is the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Colne Valley, an area which covers Lindley, Holmfirth, Meltham, Marsden, Brockholes, Slaithwaite, Honley, Linthwaite, New Mill, Golcar and Netherton. This seat is particularly important as there is only 3% between Labour, who are currently the seat in the area, and the Conservatives. So if just 600 people change their vote the results could swing, which doesn’t seem much as there are over 79,000 people in the area.
Adam and I spend the day follow Jason as he campaigned door to door, visiting the people in her prospective constituency and asking who they currently support, if they had any queries about what was going on in their area or any issues that needed addressing. A full report on the day will be available on Behind the Spin, so i don’t want to give too much away on here!
The biggest eye opener for me, other than the insane amount of walking, was that being sat at home on my PC reading political tweets it’s easy to think that the current election is a ‘social media war’ and that online activity will be the deciding factor in the election. This couldn’t be further from the truth, and after a day out seeing Jason tirelessly go from door to door chatting to the residents made me realise that this election will be won on the door-step, not on Twitter. It may be the last election that this is the case, as predicted by Conservative Youth members on the day, as social media will probably continue its incredible and unstoppable growth, but right now its undeniable that a huge number of voters do not get involved in online debates, will never see the online smear campaigns and will not be swayed by online material – simply because they won’t look. Indeed on Saturday those who were most passionate about politics and had the most feedback for Jason were the older generations, who I can safely say probably won’t have a Twitter account, never mind a politically focused RSS feed.
So overall the day was enjoyable and educational and I will post the link to the Behind the Spin article when it is published. If anyone reading this has read my past politically focused blogs they will probably be confused about which party I really support; one minute I seem Labour focused and the next I’m following around Conservative MP’s. The truth is right now I couldn’t say which party I’ve aligned myself too. I seem to have been drawn into politics quite by accident, but I am enjoying it. I can’t make my mind up yet as to who I will vote for (something the Conservative Youth seemed pretty determined to change!) because I don’t feel that I know enough about this area yet to make up my mind. This will be the first time I’ll vote in a General Election, which I feel is pretty important, at least to me, so I want to make sure I make my vote count! I’m lucky to be surround by so many ‘politically passionate’ people, who I’m actually very envious of – I’d love to know as much about politics as they do!
My pictures from the day can be found here in my Picasa album