Election day in the jungle
Welovelocalgovernment has built up a network of contributors from around the country. It was therefore no surprise when one of our local government friends sent us a transcript from a local election campaign headquarters.
The following briefing allegedly took place in the campaign headquarters of Simba the Lion in his campaign to win the local ward of Jungle East. The other voice in this transcript is that of his advisor Nyoka the snake.
S: Nyoka, what’s the update? Am I going to manage another term looking after the vines and managing the gradual decline of the forest due to logging decisions made nationally that strip my resources?
N: Wow, you’re in a cynical mood this morning
S: Must just be election blues; I’ll be alright in the morning. So how’s it going?
N: We’re right on track Mr S; as always the main concern on election day is getting out the vote. As usual I’m having a little trouble persuading the campaign volunteers to just talk to people they know are going to vote for us.
S: Ah Nyoka, now who is the cynic? Part of the joy of politics is the debate about issues with people who disagree with you. Should we be relaxed about tourists coming to gawp at us? Should we support limited destruction of our habitat if the rest is better protected? Should we be stricter about the local residents who throw their own faeces at passing animals and then hide in trees? What is my position on birds being given equal rights to animals? And what about the insects? These are the debates that matter and why people come out and vote.
N: On the contrary sir, those are the debates that matter in the weeks preceding the vote. Today, only turnout matters. We want our voters to show up and we want the Chuwi (Simba’s main opponent) supporters to stay at home.
S: Go on then; how is our get out the vote effort going?
N: Well, it’s the classic problem; we have pledges but I have no idea whether the animals were telling the truth. We’re particularly strong in the eastern section of the ward where the monkey vote looks firmly in your camp. However, you know the monkey’s; young, free-spirited and not particularly interested in politics. As always, we’re really concerned that they won’t turnout. However, we’ve got some really enthusiastic young female monkeys on staff and they’ve pledged to spend the whole day in the trees persuading them to come to the polls.
S: What about some of the hard to reach communities within the jungle?
N: A classic problem. I suppose there are two theories. Take the leopards for example; one is that we’ve just done a really bad job at reaching out to them but on the other hand maybe they just don’t really care about politics at all and don’t want to be reached. We’ve tried a bit this election but when push comes to shove we’re going to focus on the community that turns out.
S: So, how are we going with the tortoises?
N: Well, as you know we could manage nearly 100% turnout from the tortoises. For some reason the elderly members of the junlge have always had good turnout rates. My campaign volunteers are out there offering them lifts to the polls as we speak.
N: It’s best you don’t know the details sir but it involves monkeys, vines and tree trunks.
S: Erm, ok… So tell me; how did we do with the community leaders?
N: Well sir as you know we’ve had quite a robust community campaign; focusing on those individuals who are influential within their community. In particular we’ve focused on the elephants this year.
S: Always a success; they can be very hierarchical.
N: Well, it does seem to be shifting a little. The younger bulls are less likely to simply follow the advice of their seniors. We’re still trying but we might need to reach out to the whole community in the future.
S: Good advice Nyoka, we shall make a real effort on that in future years. So what about the bird community?
N: Well, your twitter account has been very successful at reaching out to them. (Boom boom!)
S: So, what do you think are my chances? Am I going to be returned as the councillor for Jungle East?
N: As always this will probably depend on the turnout of the small mammals; they are the classic swing voters and tend to vote for the candidate they think is going to win. Which is confusing as we never know who that is going to be. Nonetheless, we both know that Chuwi offended the antelopes with his ‘all look the same to me’ comments so I think we should be ok.
S: So, let’s move to the more important question. Will I get a cabinet position on the jungle council?
N: I’m working on it….
(Nyoka winked at his master and slithered out of the HQ.)
S: (whispered) Plausible deniability…
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