With only 24 hours left of the 2010 general election campaign, UCUNF Mid-Ulster candidate Sandra Overend looks back over the past few weeks activity. After May 06, she’s looking forward to a new Conservative government… and being able to help the kids again with their homework.
By Sandra Overend
The election in Mid-Ulster has not been all wolf-whistles and garden gnomes.
We started the campaign off on a positive note by being the first team out putting up our posters across Mid-Ulster – I felt that this symbolised the fact that the Ulster Conservatives & Unionists mean business at this election. However, we have not swamped Mid-Ulster with posters as we realise that the number of posters does not actually translate into votes.
Instead our focus has been talking to the Mid-Ulster people. Mid-Ulster comprises two major towns, Cookstown and Magherafelt as well as numerous smaller towns and villages. Being such a rural area, it is difficult to talk to every individual but we feel we have covered the constituency fairly well at this stage.
We have had a great canvassing team out, knocking doors and talking to the electorate. This is the part of the campaign that I really enjoy – the media spin often means that the people are not receiving the right messages from the candidates and this is our opportunity to listen to the real concerns of the people in the constituency as well as explain clearly what we are all about.
Delivering leaflets through letterboxes is not good enough for me – we are talking and providing real information on the Ulster Unionist Party’s vision for Northern Ireland and how our link with the Conservatives in this election will mean that Northern Ireland will be better represented at Westminster and will be a more integral part of the union.
The feeling on the doorstep has been generally very positive toward the Conservatives and Unionists. There is a swell of dissatisfaction in Mid-Ulster with those who have been the lead unionist party in Mid-Ulster and I am hearing that there are a lot of unionists who are transferring their votes this time.
The main issues on the doorstep for those still willing to come out and vote are jobs and the economy. They just want a fair return for a hard day’s work, and the fact that we will be directly involved in making government policy relating to numerous issues including for example the plans to consider a Fair Fuel Stabilizer, is being received very well.
I’ve had people stop in their car to speak to me and shake my hand – couples have been discussing the election and have decided to vote for me, it’s amazing! First time voters have contacted me and said they’ve been talking about the issues among their friends at school and they’ve decided to vote for me! And now they are torturing their teachers, canvassing them to support the Conservatives and Unionists.
Younger people have been more engaging at this election – I have had numerous people my age or younger who have reached their hand out to me, happy to meet me and delighted that someone just like them has come forward to try to represent their concerns at this election.
With one week to go until election day I spent some time today completing paperwork in preparation for Polling Day and the Count, but was out canvassing late in the day in Cookstown.
I am looking forward to attending a few events this weekend and being able to bring my children out with me and give them some time and some entertainment. It’s been a difficult few weeks for them, without me being there to help them with their homeworks every day among many other things.
The campaign so far has been really positive and really enjoyable; we’re not stopping now.