THE assorted 108 candidates standing for Westminster have now less than a week to convince us all that they and their parties are the ones to represent the 1.7m+ inhabitants of this ‘wee country’.
The election broadcasts are all but over (thank goodness!) and candidates are now girding their loins for a final flurry of knocking on doors and chasing down each and every media opportunity that is going.
But who are the real targets for the candidates. On the unionist side are the DUP seeking to hold off the TUV and Conservatives and Unionists to shore up their vote. Within the nationalist community is it a straight tussle between Sinn Féin and the SDLP to see who can gain/lose in a particular constituency? Does the Alliance Party want to stave off Green Party challenges to core votes?
The real task ahead for all the Northern Ireland parties is to win over, not the floating voter, but the apathetic constituent who has no plans to vote.
The televised debates in the UK have by the nature of their prime time status inflated voter interest, but will it be enough here in Northern Ireland to increase turn-out.
While next week we’ll be looking at who wins what and where, everyone should be keeping a wary eye on turn-out. That may give a true indication of the level of interest in politics here.