Nicola Ross is the Conservative Parliamentary candidate for Dundee West. In this blog, Nicola, who has Cerebral Palsy, gives us an insight in to recent week’s worth of campaigning activity.
I attended training for the candidates and election agents. The training covered nominations and elections expenses. This week is when the nominations open for parliamentary candidates and nomination forms need to be filled in correctly to ensure my candidacy is made official. Afterwards I met with my election agent to fill in the nomination forms. Ten registered voters in the constituency need to sign the nomination form which seems simple enough but they have to give their electoral registration number. How many people know their electoral registration number? Luckily enough my election agent volunteered to take on the task of getting the nomination form completed.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party’s general election campaign launch at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh. This gave me the opportunity to catch up with other candidates and to find out how their campaigns are progressing. This was topped off by a speech by Ruth Davidson as well as a photo call for the press.
I did some telephone canvassing. It is good to be canvassing in the comfort of a soft chair without having to negotiate masses of uneven pavement and stairs. I then joined the One in Five campaign for their launch at the Scottish Parliament. There are many barriers to disabled people participating in politics but some of these barriers have slowly been removed over time. Access to the democratic process is essential to producing a more equal society.
I submitted my nomination form for the General Election; I was now the official Conservative parliamentary candidate for Dundee West. In the evening I attended a party association meeting. At the meeting we marked off the areas that had already been leafleted. There was still a lot of ground still to be covered. Arrangements were made about where to leaflet. Thursday I took the day off from election campaigning, it can be difficult to juggle your campaigning efforts with other life commitments. In the evening, I watched the national leaders debate on telly. I thought David Cameron came out of the debate as well as I hoped. While Nick Clegg came off the worst trying to take credit for the popular policy and distance himself away from other policies, like student tuitions fees in England.
I was out leafleting in the constituency. Leafleting can be difficult for someone that has a disability that affects their balance. Houses that have stairs with no railings are impossible for me, this is where I rely on the help of volunteers to leaflet in the houses that I would not be able to do myself. The area I was leafleting today was primarily made up of modern housing that are easier to leaflet, older houses tend to have numerous steps. I also received a request to take part in an interview on Radio Scotland for the following week.
Leafleting again in the morning and trying to catch up with e-mails in the afternoon. As a candidate, you receive numerous e-mails on a range of topics, although many are from internet generated sites which send standard e-mails. This means that you have an inbox full of e-mails that are all exactly the same. I am sure that the next few weeks will become more demanding as the campaign progresses. Despite this I would encourage people with a disability to take part in the democratic process as any barriers can be removed with the right support and determination.