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These Are the Hidden Heroes of the Election

12/03/2015 17:33 GMT | Updated 12/05/2015 10:59 BST

It's terribly hip to be laconic, cynical and a touch bored. It can also be very cowardly.

In my last post, I outlined five of the main reasons I should never be allowed to be a politician. And as I don't see the prospect coming over the horizon any time soon, I think we can all relax on that score.

I also said - in a somewhat contradictory fashion - that joining a political party appeals to me very much. Here's why.

It's scary to stand up and be counted

I've always been a bit scared of being part of something - really committing to a political cause or organisation.

Yes, that's partly because I'm still unsure of where my own political allegiances lie. But it's more than that. It just seems safer to operate on one's own. Because if you never really commit to anything or anyone, never nail your colours to a mast or put your heart and soul on the line, then you can never be disappointed, right?

I think campaigners for political parties are rather brave, in a way that I am generally not. They're committed and they rely on each other - despite facing failure, criticism (and nippy mutts) again and again.

To comment without living misses the point

These days, it's considered cool to be laconic, cynical and that little bit bored by life. To find others' causes tedious, to comment and analyse and satirise and ridicule in perfect 140 character bites.

I believe there's a place for the political commentariat - in fact a very valuable place. My goodness, we certainly need politicians to be questioned, scrutinised and held to account. But to always be achingly aloof - to opt out of caring or feeling - makes you a tin man.

When a boy I was seeing sneeringly described someone as "just too earnest", I knew we'd have to part company. Sometimes opting out isn't clever, it's just cowardly. There's a risk in spending too much time critiquing, analysing and dissecting other people's beliefs. When I get to my end, I don't want to look back and realise that I spent so much time commenting on others' actions that I took none of my own.

And as I get older, I'm drawn more and more to enthusiasts. Not fanatics, you understand, but real experts in their fields, however niche.

The media can poke fun at trainspotters, birdwatchers, or that bloke who takes pictures of roundabouts, but really, I think they're having the last laugh. They're having a great time, they're putting their hearts and souls into it, and they couldn't give a stuff what anyone thinks.

You become part of a family

But back to political party membership. It seems to me that campaigning for a party gives you the chance to be part of a family you really can choose. And this is where the mid-90s Sandra Bullock in me kicks in.

In the last few days and weeks, my Twitter feed has been full of photos of apple-cheeked people canvassing for their parties, wearing mittens and hats and cheerful grins. In my mind, it takes on a sort of 1930s, James Herriot-esque quality, with people being invited in for tea and biscuits around roaring fires. All the teams look like lovely families, with cuddly aunties called Marjorie and avuncular uncles called Ted.

I will skim over the fact that they're often standing in the pissing rain. And of course, over the dog attacks (I must admit, all over the country people seem to be vaulting picket fences with bits of their trousers missing). But nonetheless, in my mind, it's a happy scene. I think I might like to be part of that.

It's the enthusiasts who will beat the fanatics - if we let them

So many people are looking for a cause to belong to. To really be part of something. Of course, it's always been that way, though the rise of ISIS has thrown the fact into particularly sharp relief.

Sometimes I think elements of our cynical, fragmented, apathetic society make it harder for people to stand up and say "yes. I really believe in this thing. And I'm going to explain why".

But this election, in particular, gives me hope. There has been a great wave of ordinary people standing up for what they believe, and what they want. The Scottish referendum had a huge hand in that, and I very much hope the momentum and engagement will continue.

Because I think there is massive potential for the political parties to persuade people away from fanaticism by showing them that they are valued, that they can be part of something, that they can belong, just in a very different way.

And all over the UK, right now, there are doorstep campaigners who are fighting for something they believe in through reasoned, peaceful, democratic argument. That is a valuable thing, and perhaps we need it more than ever.

So - this is one for the grass-roots campaigners - for the canvassers, the front-liners who never make the headlines. Not the headline-grabbing MPs, but the men and women spending your precious free time trooping up to doorsteps, despite the fact that your party might not get into power in May, or in five years, or even in your lifetime.

I salute you.

Read more of Serena's articles on her blog: Cowdy Calling