An election campaign is thrusting Cumbria into national headlines – and Cumbria, it seems to me, is being reluctantly thrust.

The by-election for Copeland’s new MP never was going to be as ring-a-ding- bling as that other bigly poll across the water. That much we all knew because we’re an unassuming lot here and outside of a recognisable gang of the politically excited, we tend to show little more than a passing interest in what we suspect will deliver much of the same as we’ve always known.

Even the quitting MP is, to all intents and purposes, going back to where he came from. Jamie Reed will return to Sellafield on a perfectly completed circular route.

Someone else will take his place in the Commons and, after much leafleting and arguing, principally about the NHS, jobs and the nuclear industry – as was always the case – life will settle into one of familiar, comfortable complaint.

Elsewhere though, where national headlines are written, we’re a big deal here in Cumbria. Clued-up observers of the minutiae of politics – real and imagined – are watching closely and getting their knickers in a twist about balance of power; the vote for Jeremy Corbyn or Theresa May; an electoral snapshot of a divided country in turmoil; judgment (another one) on Brexit; promises fulfilled or otherwise by nuclear… along with other big picture issues. If they only knew what we were really like.

Anne Pickles Next month Copeland voters will be expected to deliver answers to all of those and many more impossible questions. How humiliating will it be if, in the end, too few can be bothered to turn out to offer anything much at all?

I’ve had to give up reading and listening to the assumed wisdom of self-appointed experts, as they muse on the nits and picks of this by-election. Most sketch a picture of a Cumbria I don’t know and ponder the motivations of people I can’t easily recognise.

They talk of contrived power-grabs and Westminster plots, of in-fighting and a constituency deliberately left in the lurch in order to unhinge the existing national order – Labour’s anyway.

Knickers are too tightly twisted, in my opinion. The nuclear industry has delivered on its promise – to Jamie, at least – and what people here, distant in every conceivable way from the London media bubble, want now is an MP who will work with them and for them to rescue their health services and look out for their futures.

It’s not a lot to ask, to be honest. And it is deliverable.

If God can stop the rain when Donald Trump stands up to speak – and we know He did, because The Donald said so – God can motivate enough west Cumbrians to cast a vote to choose their parliamentary representative.

Simple. No ring-a-ding-bling required. Just make up your mind and vote for your favoured candidate; the one you believe will best serve your community. Nothing much else matters. It’s only the voting that counts.

And if the outcome flies against all that has been so grandly predicted, be glad. It can be a lot of fun watching pundits and commentators with swingometers untwist their knickers.