N. Ireland Politics

General election 2017: Doorstep dogs bare their teeth

Michael Long's bandaged fingers Image copyright Michael Long
Image caption 'Fangs a lot,' thought Michael Long after he felt the sharp edge of the election campaign

Politics is a dangerous game, they say, but this probably isn't what many have in mind when they think of that phrase...

There's no doubt that the canvass is filled with peril - you can pick up paper cuts from your election leaflets, have doors slammed in your face or end up stumbling over a tricky question from a probing voter.

But Alliance Party councillor and activist Michael Long felt the sharp end of the election campaign at the weekend when he was bitten by a dog.

Mr Long didn't take it too badly, though, saying that given he's a bit of a veteran on the trails down through the years, it was "bound to happen".

"After 25 years of knocking doors, have finally got bitten by a dog out canvassing," he posted on Facebook.

"Off to Casualty - let's hope it is worth it!"

And the treatment did the trick - after a tetanus shot and a handful of antibiotics he was soon back out pounding the pavement.

Campus campaigning, social media-style

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption Social media hustings are one way of increasing students' engagement with politics, according to Fergal McFerran

Forget gathering in town halls on wet Wednesday nights to heckle prospective politicians - here's a type of election debate with a difference.

NUS-USI president Fergal McFerran explained that the thinking behind getting candidates to cross swords on social media was to give more students a chance to raise their issues with the people chasing their votes.

With many up to their ears with exams, it is a "tragedy" that some find it "difficult" to get involved in an election that will shape the next few years of their lives, he said.

"What we've been trying to do in the last few weeks [are] different ways to engage people.

"At the last general election, when we trialled Twitter hustings, it did go down well.

"It's an acknowledgement of the fact that how we do politics needs to change to ensure that it's accessible to everyone.

"Politicians are seen to be accountable to every part of the general public, not just those traditional voters."

Bulldog spirit on show in East Belfast

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionSkateboarding Victor shows BBC News NI's Enda McClafferty that he's a wheelie serious contender

For the past couple of Westminster election campaigns, there's been a bit of a dogfight in East Belfast.

The DUP and the Alliance Party have fought it out, with the seat changing hands between the two.

And it looks like it'll be no different this time, too - you can find out what all the runners had to say in Enda McClafferty's profile of the constituency here.

And while Enda was filming for his report for BBC Newsline, he happened upon the east of the city's top attraction - a four-wheeled friend called Victor.

Watch the video above to see how their encounter went...

In case you missed it...

Image copyright Pacemaker

Elsewhere on the campaign trail on Tuesday...

BBC News NI's Campaign Catch-up will keep you across the general election trail with a daily dose of the main stories, the minor ones and the lighter moments in the run up to polling day on Thursday 8 June.

Hear more on BBC Radio Ulster's Evening Extra at 17:40 each weekday.

More on this story