Cllr Tony Sharp: Your job is the campaign, not the election period
Tony is a Wellingborough Borough Councillor and author of the Waendel Journal.
Make Election Day and the count that follows an enjoyable and successful one by extending your campaign from one month to four years.
It sounds like a marketing pitch, but there is a deeper meaning to these words. Although I was only elected at the first attempt in May this year, being the son of a former long-serving County and Borough Councillor I have been involved in election campaigns as far back as I can remember. Experience has shown that a lot of Councillors and candidates see winning an election as an end in itself. But to me that is not a true campaign.
Too many Councillors and candidates rely on a single month of intense leafleting and canvassing in the hope of winning a seat. Too many are losing sight of what a great and humbling honour it is to be elected to serve. And too many, regardless of their political stripe, fail to recognise that simply trying to win an election does not in itself constitute a true campaign.
A true campaign sees a candidate going out of their way to listen carefully to the residents in the ward, understanding the issues that are important to residents and then pledging to address the issues they have some degree of control over to the best of their ability. That is proper representation. Any Councillor who is serious about achieving that outcome – that is supposed to be all Councillors – should be walking the ward, knocking on doors and going out of their way to speak with residents in an effort to stay in touch with local concerns and individual problems. By definition that is campaigning and it should be happening all year round, not just for one month, one April in four.
Being a Councillor can sometimes be frustrating. It can also be time consuming. But there is no denying that when you get to match your policies to the concerns of local people and improve things for them, it is incredibly rewarding and satisfying. Diligence, through listening to residents and engaging with them all year round, actually helps you to build the Conservative support base necessary to earn a mandate to continue that good work after the next election. So why leave it to April? If you are a new candidate or a Councillor seeking re-election and have not done so already, start your campaign today.