When a general election is called, a chill runs through most politicians and their teams, as they know what it means for the coming weeks and months ahead. Having been elected in a by-election in 2016, I was certainly plunged in at the deep end of the political pool and had to learn to swim pretty quickly.
Without much of a political background to speak of, and new to campaigning 16 hours per day, I had a Labour team of experts directing my moves and supporting me through going from being a local A&E doctor and double-buggy driver, to being catapulted into the national spotlight.
Though comments like “you’ve come in at an interesting time” were a regular occurrence, nothing quite prepared me for the shock of the 2017 snap election being called, and now with the upcoming election on 12 December, I am becoming something of a professional at fighting elections with only a few weeks’ notice. Three elections in three years is not how I thought it would be, but in all honesty, I am not sure even the most seasoned politicians could have predicted the events of the last three years.
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Termed the “Brexit election”, it remains to be seen if 12 December will offer an opportunity for the country to heal, or if it will be the prelude to further discourse, frustration and division?
With millions of young voters feeling as though they were robbed of a vote in the EU referendum and wanting their say, will their voice now make a difference? How will the issues of the NHS, violent crime, the environment and tuition fees play out? Needless to say, the answers to these questions are hard to predict but will present themselves sooner than many expected.
Many people now feel disengaged with politics, especially as Brexit has dominated discussion for the past three years, and indeed most people would struggle to gain insight into the reality of daily life for an MP. It really is more important than ever for people to register to vote, no matter how disengaged they may feel – you have until Tuesday 26 November. Over the next few weeks, I shall provide a snapshot of what really happens during an election campaign and seek to bring readers along on the journey.