21st May, 2010

Conventions are the source of huge worry and stress for politicians. Worries normally split into 3 different areas.

Firstly, will there be a contest? Secondly, if there is a contest who will win it. By far these tend to be the most exacting and worrying of problems. Most people outside of political parties tend not to appreciate the scale of these events. In many of our constituencies a Fine Gael convention could attract between 1,500 and 2,000 people. All voting and all campaigning for their candidate.

My own convention took place this week. The answer to the first two questions turned out to be straight forward enough. Nobody else contested the convention. However a new question took it’s place. Would anybody bother to turn up? After all, why bother attending if there is no vote. This question took a particularly stressful turn when I was informed that the party leader would be attending.

On a personal level everything got a bit fraught this week for me. On Saturday, while relaxing with a newspaper, my dear son jumped up on my neck. This pulled a muscle in my back that left me in real trouble for the week. A visit to the doctor resulted in pain killers that numbed the back pain a bit.

All in all, not a great way to approach a really important night. The meeting was in the Half Way House on the Navan Road. The portents were not good. Rain. No contest. Back pain. An exuberant, as always, Enda.

But I knew form when I turned up that things were going to be ok. In fact, better than that.

There were tons of people at the door when I turned up. The room was packed and the atmosphere great. I won’t write about the meeting itself as we have the entire thing recorded so it should be appearing here and on Youtube soon.

At the end of it all I felt the familiar sense of responsibility. I’m flying the party flag in a constituency that we simply must win. I have to do it the next time. We win this then we are on the way to Government. We don’t and it’s 3 elections where the party has failed to take a seat.

But, none of these thoughts really worry me. Game on. Just can’t wait for the frey to heat up.