As this week’s Mid Ulster Mail [print version] is dated May 5, which is of course voting day for the Assembly elections, we have a moratorium on statements from the candidates to avoid any perceived prejudice.
Deep sighs of relief.... but to be honest, this has been one of the quietest election campaigns I can remember and statements of any import have been few and far between. Even the BBC’s The View election debate special from Castledawson, failed to really ignite any meaningful debate here in Mid Ulster.
As I cannot get into anything specific, I will turn my attention to the election posters and the various tactics used by the parties.
Despite the underwhelming and insipid election campaigns, lamp posts in Cookstown, Magherafelt and every other Mid Ulster town are creaking under the weight of these colourful and ambitious declarations - demanding you place the numeral 1 beside the featured candidate’s name on the ballot paper, assuming you will actually turn up to vote.
I wonder if party activists set out to place their placards as high up lampposts as possible, in an attempt to portray dominance over another rival.
With the sun still quite low in the sky, I mostly have my sun visor lowered in the car and only ever glimpse the chins of these high-flying wholesome smiles.
Apathy? No, of course not. The sun was in my eyes.
Or could it be that the poster nearer to the ground, will be read first by passing motorists as it is closer to eye level, though more vulnerable to vandals liable to draw comical moustaches or those anti-democratic election poster collectors?
It’s a tough balancing act, but not comparable to the task faced by local media who are scrutinised with narrowing eyes over the number of lines of newsprint given to each party during the election run-in.
Those smaller posters from one party, placed not-so-randomly along rural roads, are much more effective. They only have a few bemused sheep as competition for your attention, as you navigate the pot-hole riven roads of Mid Ulster.
As I was saying, it has been a quiet election campaign.
Just to be clear - bemused sheep - is not a metaphor for members of the public and I am in no way saying that political parties round up their voters, in the same way a farmer does for market day.