I was on the canvass again last night and despite the time commitment over the last two, it has really been rewarding. I thought last night that if I didn’t do things like this, I’d be so cynical about politics I’d just drive myself mad.
We started about 630pm and it became obvious very quickly that this is not a well organised canvass – kind of “seat of the pants” really – but that’s ok. As I have said here before, I like to know what’s coming next. I can let go honestly. We started out on the southside of Ranelagh’s main street and did a few small parks but it was in the side streets off Marlborough Road that I rediscovered one of the joys of canvassing: finding those places that defy the main street image of the area. Ranelagh has many neighbourhoods. Smith’s Cottages and Bushfield Terrace are just two. They are beautiful and very human communities usually built around green spaces and where the houses are ramshackle, well appointed and lived in. Others are just plain wealthy.
The wealth in some of the newly renovated houses is spectacular. You know those flats under the main stairs of the house’s door? Massive apartments on their own with flat screens, island kitchens, the usual. Not my style but it becomes clear very quickly that this is the face of private wealth in Ireland – largely hidden from the public sphere and only occasionally appearing in Image magazine or, whisper it, the Irish Times weekend magazine.
The canvass went well and only a few nutters on the steps. One guy wanted to know why the Green Party doesn’t support the privatisation of Dublin Bus. According to this voter, competition would drive prices down and ensure that public services would run efficiently. Yes but it would also mean that drivers would hate their jobs more and passengers would eventually lose out on less lucrative routes.
That’s it for the weekend I think. Hopefully there’ll be time for beating the mean streets of Dublin south east again some weekday night next week.