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Election letters 2019 / Spare a thought for the canvassers

Boris Johnson may be unaware that calling an election for the second week of December means candidates and their canvassers in Shetland and Orkney will be in the dark after about 3pm.

As most of us have to work during the day, we’re only available to knock on doors and meet voters in the evenings and weekends.

Folk understandably don’t welcome canvassers ringing their doorbells in the cold dark night, so most parties (including us in the Shetland SNP) will avoid canvassing in the evening in winter.

The effect of a winter election is to reduce campaign contact time with voters by about half. This is convenient for the Tories, because the more things people find out about Boris Johnson & Co, the less likely they are to support them.

Some voters will welcome reduced opportunities for door-knocking, saying they’re “sick of politics”.

Spare a thought though, for the unpaid, volunteering canvassers who give up their leisure time for a month, trying to persuade fellow citizens to vote for their chosen party. You might disagree with them, but if knocking on doors in Shetland at this time of year doesn’t a sincerely-held political belief, I’m not sure what does.

In parts of Shetland we’ve had four elections in a year (European Parliament, a Scottish Parliament by-election, council by-elections and now a General Election). Even the keenest campaigners suffer leaflet fatigue.

But its part of the process and has to be done, or we’ll continue to be ruled by a clique of millionaire private schoolboys chosen by the UK’s undemocratic ‘first past the post’ voting system. Or we may get something even worse.

There are many countries in the world handing out a leaflet criticising the government would land you in jail. Let’s not go there.

So please bear with us, do take the time to read that leaflet and exhausted as we all are, please do drag yourself out to vote on 12 December.

Better still, vote by post. There’s still time to register for a postal or proxy vote. You’ve got till 5pn on 26 November, either at the electoral registration office or online at: https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

Thank you for you’re time and I might see you out there yet!

Neil Leask
Branch organiser
Shetland SNP