IT seems political strategists try to invent a new approach or idea for every election. I suppose it’s one way to keep them in a job – tell their clients they’ve found a new way to make a politician appear popular and able to win votes.

New technology has been embraced with varying degrees of success with online doorstep canvassing, an increasing use (and sometimes reliance) on social media and of course the old favourites of advertising (press and billboards).

However, I have to give the Prime Minister some credit for her new approach. This is the first time that I can think of where any party leader deployed the tactic of “hide and seek” to win an election. The Prime Minister who is calling for a strong and stable government is holding invite-only events to selected, hand-picked audiences and even barring local press in case they haven’t followed the precise script (and no-questions-allowed policy) sent out by the Conservative Party.

Last weekend Scotland was “treated” to a visit from a Prime Minister who chose to book her campaign appearance under the guise of a children’s party, in a small community hall in the private estate belonging to a Tory MSP. It now appears this is a breach of election rules but who would be holding their breath for the Tories to be concerned about a simple thing like that? After all there is the suspicion that the snap General Election has been called to give the Tories a bigger majority in case some of their two dozen or so MPs facing police enquiries over the last election end up losing their seats. And let’s not forget the £70,000 fine the Electoral Commission handed out to the Tories for numerous failures in reporting election expenses. For a party that professes to be on the side of law and order, the Tories are very flexible when it comes to election legislation.

The other strange thing about the photo stunt by Theresa May was the reaction of the people around her. Normally spin doctors would make sure there were smiling happy faces, applauding every comment made by the Prime Minister, yet look again at the majority of the people in the photo. The glum looks certainly add some credence to the claims that many of those present were tenants of the estate who were instructed to attend. If there is a suspicion of truth about this maybe the local council should be checking their duties under landlord registration rules, and any landlord found guilty of such practices should be removed from the register and not be allowed to collect any rents.

It seems the hide-and-seek approach of the Prime Minister is set to continue, with reports about journalists being locked in a room while she toured a factory. Of course, the people of Aberdeenshire got their own back of Theresa May as she tried a bit of canvassing, when not one person would open their door to her! Maybe this hide-and-seek method can work both ways!

With the announcement of the General Election I’ve now had the added incentive of starting my own campaign as well as winding up my constituency office. This means that I am no longer an MP and cannot take on any new constituency cases, although my office is still dealing with existing cases. This allows me to shift my focus on to my election campaign for the next few weeks.

This is in contrast to a number of my councillor colleagues who were still working for their constituents right up to the day of the council election. These councillors have had to balance their own campaigns to get re-elected with the demands of current constituents who are needing their support and assistance. Whenever I can I’ve been out helping my council candidates, particularly with some canvassing.

It’s been refreshing to be back out on the streets again chatting to voters about their aspirations for their local area. It’s important for anyone wanting to represent their local area to be able to interact and communicate with the residents they wish to represent, whether that is in council chambers or in Parliament. That is the part of the campaign I look forward to the most. There is no point standing up in Parliament making speeches if I’m not fully aware of the concerns, hopes and fears of my constituents.

With the General Election campaign starting to gear up – increasingly so now the council election counts have taken place – there will be more opportunities for politicians of all parties to get out and about to meet their constituents. However, that also means that there will be more chances for many politicians to make gaffes in front of the media.