Some folk rely on surveys and focus groups and others rely on the views of commentators and pundits but I always like to hear what real ordinary folk think about issues of the day and there is only one way to do that - get out and talk to them.
Over the past few weeks I have attended a lot of community events and they have been a great opportunity to chat to people about a wide range of political events. Normally I do not do much shopping but over the last few days I have been 'coerced' into the shops by my wife and here again people stop to talk about political matters.
Some were concerned about Europe, with the general view that we would be better out of the EU altogether, while others were concerned about local issues. Not surprisingly the behaviour of the Belfast Lord Mayor was raised by quite a number of people. In general they are not the sort of people who go to protests and they do not join groups on Facebook. However they have their opinions and their views on Niall O Donnghaile are absolutely clear.
They thought that his behaviour was appalling, especially as it was directed towards a young girl, and they can't wait to see his year over. They also said that unionist councillors were absolutely right not to accept his first half-hearted attempt at an apology. They said that their unionist councillors were right to hold the line and force Sinn Fein into a proper apology, with a public commitment that this would never happen again.
We are often told that it is good to talk and talking to the people in our constituencies, especially the people who vote for us, is fundamental to politics.