Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Candidates can't have time for everyone

It might sound awful but I wonder if voters or more particularly those bloggers commenting on the election have unrealistic expectations about what a candidate can and can't do when on a doorstep with them.

Many will doubtless complain about how candidate X doesn't come all the way to their door and debate in detail the key point of aspect of modern life that is doubtless very important to them as a voter. It is not the case that the candidate whoever they may be feels that your issue is unimportant rather the fact that there are literally ten of thousands doors to call on and only so much time in which to do it.

To hammer home my point let's do some exciting maths! Say a candidate spends 5 minutes at each door. That would be 12 doors maximum per hour. Of course you need to allow the candidate some time to walk between the door of one house and the door of another, it might only be 20 secs but for 30 houses that would be ten minutes and for 300 houses it would be an hour and a half. So that's the micro level what about all the houses?

Taking one example I have reasonable knowledge of there are somewhere in the region of 28,000 houses in Dublin North Central. At 5 minutes expended per door, that works out at 140,000 minutes in total (ignore the 20 sec walk time per house) which is just a bit over 2300 hours. That means it would take just under 100 days going at it 24 hours per day, 7 days per week to spend just 5 minutes at each door.

Now we need to consider the needs of those the candidate is calling on. People do not like someone coming to their door before 10am or after 9pm, and you have to allow an hour during the course of the day to get some grub, a bit of rest and to empty the tanks. Also factor in that people are generally none too keen on anyone coming to call after 7pm on a Saturday or at any time on a Sunday and the available hours are reduced even further. So given a more realistic time of 1o hours per day, you would be looking at closer to 300 days to cover all those doors. And yet they have 25 or so days in which to do it.

Truth is the serious candidates will have called to your door before the election was ever called and that would have afforded people the time and the freedom to raise an issue and have a reasonable expectation of it being looked at. Asking candidate X just 2 weeks before polling day to get something in particular done when they have ten of thousands of doors to call on is just plain nuts. And that goes for advocate organisations emailing requests to candidates too especially if said organisation has no means to publicise if the candidate has gotten back to them or not.

The wrong house

I was quite surprised to see a house other than that of the Taoiseach in the Sunday Times reporting of the story about the Taoiseach's recent difficulties. You can tell it isn't the Taoiseach's house because there isn't a Garda hut in front of it.

As you can see the house at the centre of this image. The hut is to the front, or to the right in this image, of the house. and the image used by the Sunday Times had no such hut. And you can also make out the fact there doesn't appear to be a swimming pool or massive gazebo present that might have cost a large sum of money in 90s terms.

I don't think I'm likely to be facilitating terrorists by linking to it. After all the address is being widely reported in the press.

Withdrawl now for the PDs is like ...

a young gentleman considering it as a contraceptive option shortly before the child's baptism.

Actually hasn't it been about 9 months since Bertiegate 1?

Monday, May 07, 2007

"I have no evidence but I think...."

the Taoiseach is guilty of leaking information to draw attention away from FF's disastrous period in government and also he has locked a number of small illegally imported antelopes in his attic. A pretty outrageous thing to suggest in the middle of an election I suspect you would agree. After all I have no evidence to support my allegation, but I like to think I can say it anyway, now where can I find a national news program to say it on?

Truth is I've not saying that at all.

Actually, it was Noel Ahern, brother of the Taoiseach, who made such an allegation against "someone senior in FG" on the main evening news while admitting he has no evidence. Isn't a large part of the basis for FF's protestations and general indignation at the rumours swirling around the Taoiseach that people are judging the Taoiseach in the absence of real evidence? Yet, it is AOK for members of FF to be making allegations while having no evidence at all !