Brand journalist and copywriter Daniel James Coll, running as a candidate of election coalition Hääled in Tallinn's Lasnamäe district, would like the city to pay more attention to road quality and safety—and to be able to make a contribution to healing the divide between local Estonians and Russians.
ERR News: There are virtually thousands of EU expatriates in Tallinn, but only few of them take an active interest in Estonian politics. How much do you follow it?
Daniel James Coll: Not enough, but what is enough? I have made an active effort to get to know the parties and their stances, as well as the promises of their election campaigns this time around.
What made you decide to stand for election here in Tallinn?
It was very last minute, but I’d been wanting to get involved in some way for a while as Hääled asked me just at the right time.
Were you active in politics back home in the UK?
Not active, but an avid follower, and still am. Being involved with journalism and PR got me hooked many years ago.
What do you personally think are the most important issues in this year's elections?
Public transport as always, the promenade, it’s fairly divisive and needs to be monitored. For me though, and central to my personal involvement, the allocation of money to areas like Lasnamäe and Mustamäe, with more attention to the road quality in these areas too. Peterburi tee is an embarrassment and looks like deliberate spite to Lasnamäe. Laagna and the bridges are plain dangerous, with little or no road marking and missing signage. And, the ongoing divide between Estonians and Russian Estonians is something that I want to have some small part in trying to heal.
Your coalition has candidates in several districts of Tallinn. How much of an organised effort has the campaign been?
For the time frame we’ve had the organisation of policies and our social media presence has been satisfactory, but we will need to step things up in the long term. Much of the organisation has been through Slack, we run the party like a startup and it seems to be working. We have our minimum viable product and we’ve gone to market as soon as we could!
Have you had any reactions from voters?
I’ve had a few personal messages of encouragement, along with some very strong individual support, the party as a whole have struggled with “the establishment” not taking us seriously, but we are barely a month old, it takes time.
What were the conditions you had to meet to register as a candidate, and how much time did it take?
Be a resident, and be willing to digitally sign and fill in a few forms. It was as easy as most official things here are. Commendable.
How well do you think you’ll do?
For us it’s more about making the start, getting our party known and recruiting people for the next time around. Any support we get will be very gratefully received, and if in the event any one of us was to do phenomenally well—seemingly unlikely at this stage—we certainly have the foundations to form solid and workable policies at fairly short notice.
Thank you for the interview!
Daniel James Coll is a British copywriter and brand journalist. He lives in Lasnamäe.
Editor: Dario Cavegn