Thursday, 19 May 2011

what's not to love about losing?

I think I’m getting the hang of losing elections.

I counted it backwards and I’m pretty sure that I’ve been running for something or managing someone else’s campaign since 2004. I’d almost forgotten what not being on a war footing felt like. Since the polls closed on the 5th of May, I’ve carried with me a sense of overwhelming liberation.

I look back on the campaign just passed I’m not really gripped by a sense of having been cheated of victory or of hard work gone to waste. Instead I find myself mired in serenity and when I think about the election I seem just to recall those little slices of campaign ephemera which when retold, I can scarcely believe myself.

Knocking something like 14,000 doors over 9 months, you see a lot of snapshots of a lot of lives:

The Spanish gentleman who answered the door in an apron and a thong and insisted on conducting our conversation while he continued his exercise routine of lunges and bending over to touch his toes (repeatedly, and at the worst possible angle);

The lady who insisted I come in and eat some of her fried tofu (which was delicious but led me to leave greasy finger prints all over my canvassing returns)

Or the woman 4 doors down from the tofu lady who was in labour (the condition, not the party) and was more than a little annoyed that I was not the duty midwife. Believe me when I tell you that, when you find yourself being asked to go look for hot water and towels your pre-prepared patter goes out the window.

It’s this interaction with humanity which makes running for elections something I know I’ll keep doing. But for now I’m going to enjoy being peacetime ACH and reacquainting myself with the non political pastimes and people of life beyond politics.

Tomorrow I head to Wales to stand upwind of my Grandfather as we scatter his ashes over the Brecon Beacons. It will be a bit of a C-H family jamboree and probably just what I need. As a brother, son, cousin and nephew (even as a husband and father) I have been pretty dreadful in recent months. My long suffering wife is used to the campaign lifestyle, but my little boy was too young to understand why I had to be absent so often. Since my apparent return to his daylight life, he has taken up residence as my shadow, my clothes are caked in three year old grime and I am teaching him to draw circles, lines and velociraptors. What’s not to love about losing elections.


  1. Velociraptors are cool!

    Enjoy the peacetime Alex, I'm sure the appel à la guerre will be here soon enough.

  2. Well said Alex. For assorted reasons the recent campaign largely passed the Carruthers/Dale household bye. Don't think I can keep this political sabbatical going for much longer.