It’s starting to feel real now. In quick succession I have received written confirmation from the Returning Officer that the election will be uncontested, and a form to complete declaring my campaign expenses. A dozen or so pages to meticulously capture all expenses associated with an election that will not take place. I re-read page 1 to make sure I’m not missing something; I’m not. A declaration is to be made even if no expenses have been incurred.
My initial enquiries with Cambridge Analytica about how I could ruthlessly target my electorate did not reach the stage of contractual engagement, and plans for my multi-platform, mixed-media assault on the Parish never really made it off the drawing board (and I feel the need to clarify that no drawing board was purchased either). Despite eying up the eldest dog’s Agility Rosettes, no modifications had yet been made, nor pritt-stick expended (other non-toxic, mild adhesives are available). I’m sure my brother will propose expensing his flights for this weekend’s visit on the grounds of ‘miscellaneous consultancy’, but I don’t think that kind of thing will pass scrutiny.
As I complete my zero return, I consider the mischief to be had by claiming for the postage costs for mailing the claim form. However, the practicalities of not actually knowing if my 12-page form constitutes a large latter or small parcel, and therefore how much postage will be, means I rapidly lose interest. I’m sure there will be ample opportunity to enjoy procedural bureaucracy over the coming months.
For the record; it was a large letter less than 100g, so £1.06. I’ll happily pay that out of my own pocket.
As the ‘Young Blood’ I feel I should ready myself to bring some new innovative ideas to my first Council meeting. The blind copying continues, so there seems to be a general acceptance that email is the way forward; although the meeting I attended earlier in the year seemed to suggest we were a long way from going paper free. Duplicate hard copies of everything, and not a laptop or projector in sight – I feel this could be one area for improvement. If I can rustle up a projector and screen from work, I could make quite an entrance – or equally scare a couple of them off.
Quite possibly a step too far would be a facebook page. The wife is quite adept at navigating the social media scene (where as I typically steer well clear of it – blog notwithstanding), so it could be a way for her to make a valuable contribution. That said, the very minimalist website they have in place to satisfy the essential regulatory requirements would suggest content would be sparse, and followers likewise. I will float the idea, and assuming I don’t have to explain the entire concept of Social Media to the other Councillors, it may get some traction – watch this space.
As a final piece of house keeping, the blog itself. The test phase is over. I have posted, updated, and generally found my way around the platform; all seems to be working and I have a couple of followers – you are very welcome. The available analytics are truly fascinating; revealing viewing activity across the globe, including the USA, Netherlands, India, Malaysia, and of course the UK. A big hello and welcome to my international followers and netbots alike.
For those that partake in such things, you will also see sharing options within the posts; allowing you to connect with the Twattersphere and have your personal data harvested by the market leading social media platforms.
Not long now until formal appointment, at which point I very much look forward to writing to you from insidetheparish.