Pints & Politics, for the unaware is a monthly event organized with the intention of bringing political discourse to the most appropriate location imaginable, the bar. Held at Winks Bar, off the Richmond Row the April 9th Pints & Politics was titled Supporting Your Candidates. With the London municipal elections looming this is a decidedly important subject.
During the election season signs, pamphlets and buttons seems to grow out of nowhere. For a brief and unexpected period the curtain of obscurity is pulled back and the electorate is once again confronted with their candidates on a daily basis. But this time of exposition is not unmanned. Behind every campaign poster is a volunteer pinning it up. Or rather in front of it. These volunteers are potentially the most valuable people involved in a campaign and absolutely no one knows how to become one. This was the issue being addressed on that warm evening in a busy, wood paneled bar.
To that effect the floor, opened to the crowd at every possible moment was awash with discussions of what makes a good campaigner , how to become a campaigner and slew of political jokes I didn’t get. These discussions seemed to come with some authority as the latter half of the event saw the part that interested me the most. The microphone was handily moved around the room to actual candidates in attendance that night. Nearly all the candidates were running for City Council positions, some for the same seat. In particular there was much interest around the seat for Ward 2, evidently the current councilor of that ward has been ill-attentive. More jokes I don’t get, I suppose.
In all honestly most of the candidates, in speaking their piece seemed to approximate one another . Most called for a more responsible city council and claimed they wanted to ‘get involved’, in what exactly, I’m not sure. Not all those speaking fell prey to this facsimilation, of course. My attention was most definitely piqued when Josh Morgan, candidate for Ward 7 announced his intention to allow the citizenry to use social media to generate a portion of his platform. As well, I almost swooned when Jesse Helmer (Ward 4) announced his intentions to fix the LTC. Any bus dependants, like myself can most certainly understand the need for some transit reform in London.
It was in the middle of someone’s self deprecating joke that I realized something. The question of involvement in local politics was no longer a question for me. Here I was, sitting in a room of hopeful candidates and judging platforms that I had no idea existed hours before. When the room was asked why don’t people support their candidates many hit upon the fact they simply didn’t know their candidates. Well, if knowledge is the first step towards effective action the crew of Pints & Politics has certainly done their job. With me, at least.