May 9, 2011

WoWoWOW ~ What a crazy 3 weeks!

The chanting, the organised chaos, the tacky neon green and pink t-shirts, the “US vs.THEM” debating and the comforts of “Shazza” (the taxi) and “Betty” (The campaign bus) is all over; the NO2AV campaign has sadly come to an end.
I hopped on board the bus and joined the campaign trail with three weeks to go. At first I couldn’t understand everyone’s obsession, exhaustion and sheer willingness to win this campaign, but what did I know? The rest of the team had done nothing but eat, sleep and breath NO2AV for the last 3 months.
Yet three weeks later I found myself debating just as feverishly, nodding in approval with everyone around me (having heard the arguments a million times) and hearing “one person, one vote!!”  taunt me in my dreams. 
My job was to travel around with the team who were organizing press Ops for the local media, to raise awareness of the campaign through the local MPs who were supporting us. This consisted of blowing up a giant “NO” in the city centre (or near a famous landmark) and taking photos of everyone smiling happily (Though cringing at the horrific colour of the shirt they were forced to wear) I snapped a few photos and that was it. During the last week we drove “Betty” the open-top campaign bus around the cities with MPs and various local people to the broadcasting houses, where they did a little spiel on the campaign. We made it to Wimbledon, Kent, Newbury, Birmingham, Christ Church and Bristol, to name a few. The boys (who had been doing it for 6 weeks by the time I came) drove over 3,500 miles around the country!
We won the campaign with a landslide victory and I felt slightly guilty for being congratulated for my efforts. If only everyone knew how much fun I had and that my ‘efforts’ consisted of travelling around the country with a great, interesting bunch of guys, listening to music, taking photos, meeting new people everyday and learning more about British politics than I ever have sitting in a classroom.

To sum up the kind of people I was around was aptly described by one of the Senior team members at NO2AV at the official campaign goodbye party : ” This campaign was unique because it brought together Tories, Labour, young and old … to fight for something we all believed in. It didn’t matter so much what party you support or where you’re from. We became friends with people wouldn’t have met otherwise…I believe this group of people, this unique mix, will form the backbone and workings of future politics.”

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