National and Local politics from a Liberal Democrat from Gillingham, Kent
Wednesday, 5 December 2012
Getting votes is like getting a date
Excuse me Miss Chalke would you vote for us???
I was casting my mind back to my student days and my abysmal dating history and then got to thinking about canvassing for votes.
Now, some people will resolutely vote for their party whether they performed well in Government or council or whether their policies are any good this time around.
During the 2010 election a colleague of mine was complaining that Labour were awful - Gordon Brown had really screwed up as leader of the country but was still going to vote for Labour because he didn't want the Conservatives to get in.
So - instead of voting in change vote for more of the same.
In some constituencies you could see Hitler get voted in over Jesus just because he was in a certain party rather than past performance or policies. For example Maidstone & the Weald will generally vote Conservative, Rotherham was always going to vote Labour no matter who or what was standing.
The same is true when trying to meet women in a bar. If the girl you are chatting to is into guys in bands and drives a nice car then the spotty Star wars nerd who doesn't drive is going to be out of luck even if he is a better person. It's all about types and people's expectations. I doubt I could convince Sarah Chalke (pictured) to go on a date as I'm sure I'm not her type(!) but could I get her vote?
Then there are those who don't want to be bothered. Many house holders don't like being disturbed during the day (usually because it is a day off work) or evening (because they've just got in from work) and just want to get rid of you - that's even if they open the door to you. The same when chatting up members of the opposite sex - do you really want your night interrupted by some guy you don't even know?
There are also those that are just plain tired of hearing the same tired lines and the same rubbish from people who, lets be honest, only want one thing. These people are jaded so badly that when someone genuine comes along they won't even look twice or pay any interest.
Granted, there are times that you can talk people round to your way of thinking (vote wise!!!) and are willing to listen to you and ask questions. This can be a bit of a rarity but all you can do is to put on your best smile, have the right paperwork in front of you and work the magic at the door. Some people have the gift of the gab as well. When I was at uni, there was a girl I had a crush on, it took me about a year to get a date - my friend Matt chatted to her and with in three hours he had a date! Likewise on the doorstep some people are dull, uninteresting, drone on about their laboured point and others are electric.
There are times where you may enjoy a spell of popularity such as not being the Government dishing out cuts or in dating - you might be captain of the Uni football team that just won the league. Or you could lie to people about how you are different to the other parties and how you are not going to have cuts when you get into power - or you're a footballer in the Chelsea youth team or that you're actually well off BUT popularity can fade and lies get found out.
What you need is longevity, substance behind the chat to win people over in the long term. You can't all be front with no backup.
The other thing is even when you've arranged a date and time to meet or got them to agree to vote for you, you can't force them to the Restaurant or Polling station. In both circumstances the law frowns upon chloroform and tying people up - it is just not cricket. You have to trust that you've done all you can to get their interest.
It is hard to say what to do. After all, I never chatted women up in bars - I never had the nerve to talk to strangers or put myself out there. I was the spotty Star Wars geek who played too many computer games (if such a thing is possible!) and would never get looked at twice. On one occaision I was chatted up and I totally blew it!
A girl walked passed me, accidentally caught her cigarette on my arm. She profusely apologised and offered to kiss it better. I politely reassured her I was fine. "Are you sure? I'll kiss it better" "No, it's ok" I said with a smile. I walked up to the bar ordered a drink and suddenly, with horror realised what had happened. I turned around to see her looking shocked that I had declined but it was too late and I was too embarrassed to do anything.
All you can do, in both scenarios, is go out and try your best and hope that the magic and substance of your party's policies or history in that ward/seat is enough to win you a vote.