Agent’s Training 11 – Polling Day is not an academic exercise!

Polling day is all about making sure you win, not watching the opposition win!

Agents, let’s face it, are not designed to be popular, that’s the job of the candidate.  It’s the agent’s job to make sure that an election campaign is delivered successfully.

This takes a range of skills from enthusing, encouraging, negotiating, arguing, urging and at times telling.

It was a long time ago, in the 1995 local council elections, when I arrived after chasing between South East Cornwall committee rooms back at the main office in Liskeard.

I arrived from very busy committee rooms back to serene silence.  The constituency secretary was sitting at a computer putting in data whilst pristine sheets of hand written shuttleworths sat untouched on long trestle tables around the room.

After the activity that others had been showing elsewhere I was momentarily stumped.  After a moment I asked the perennial question, ‘how’s it going?’  I received the response, ‘we’re doing ok in North but we appear to be losing in South. 

I then asked the question that received an even worse answer, ‘how many people are out knocking up.’ 

‘Nobody,’ came the reply.

As I could feel the red mist rising I asked what was going on with having a computer and the paper shuttleworths at the same time.  I was told it was easier to see how things were going by having the computer and paperwork too.

I walked swiftly over the computer, unplugged it and then walked over to the shuttleworths ripped off the three longest roads and sent the secretary on to the streets of Liskeard.

We won by 12 votes in Liskeard South and doubled our councillors that year on the local council.

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