I would walk 500 miles…

Bagging politicians is a national past time. They never get it right, they never do enough and they’re only in it for themselves.

So, putting your hand up to become a politician takes a special kind of madness. Which is how I ended up spending five months campaigning for my election candidate husband.

We’re both communications professionals, and well known on home turf, but we didn’t know what we didn’t know so let me share some of what I learnt.

Nothing beats face-to-face. You can spend all the money in the world on advertising but it’s the market stalls and front door conversations that convince people to vote for you.

Stick to your beliefs. Even if people don’t agree, they often respect that you’ve taken a stance instead of safely sitting on the fence.

Don’t expect help. Not many people are interested in politics, even fewer will spend any precious time on it. You’ve got to be prepared to put in every waking hour and most likely all your dream time too.

It’s expensive. Really expensive. Democracy has a price tag and we sold our home to cover it. Between advertising, printing, clothes, signs and fridge magnets, the invoices pile up.

You can’t do it alone. Before you kiss your first baby, sign up a team of reliable, skilled advisors. Electioneering is a unique experience and you can’t win if you don’t know what you’re getting into.

Would we do it again? Not likely. But it’s given me rare insight behind the scenes and sharpened my political sense.

Besides, there’s only one way to learn and that’s by having a go.

– Barbara Cox

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