So, having done my best to ignore weeks of TV debates and the issue-of-the-day news stories (as we are far too thick to handle more than one issue at once). Weeks spent turning a blind eye to the ever more strident front pages whereby newspaper owners try to convince themselves they are still relevant and that the largest issue facing the nation is a man eating a bacon sandwich (though, frankly, I’d be alarmed about anyone who does look good while eating – it would suggest weeks of practise in front of a mirror and a worrying degree of vanity) have finally come to an end (who says I’m not an optimist).
So, off I toddled to my Polling Station to place the 24th letter of the alphabet against my best guess as to the least idiotic candidate to make some vague pretence of representing my interests (or better yet, my views) on the political stage. Not an easy choice, given that all of the parties appear to have been trying to prove themselves the most idiotic on an hourly basis. Oddly, the non-news output of BBC Radio 4 has probably been the most helpful in making my choice: More or Less, The Vote Now Show and Hugo Rifkind on Campaign Sidebar.
In a case of (presumed) nominative determinism, my Polling Station lies on the corner of Asylum Road. I lie within the constituency named Southampton Test – which makes me wonder if my vote is really going to count at all, presumably those in Southampton Live or Southampton Production will be making the real decision. Still, its nice to know that there is some testing of this whole democracy malarkey going on (if only the same could be said for policies) and I’m glad to do my bit. The station was empty, but I suppose that the hardworking families (which this election has all been about) will be busy working, so only we unwanted, lethargic singletons were available to exercise our franchise.
The list of candidates was surprisingly modest, unlike last time when I could have mummified myself in the voting slip – so extensive was it. The LibDem candidate seemed less than confident as he appeared on both the national and local election lists – and I assume he wouldn’t be able to do both (or perhaps I’m wrong?). As I have lived here for less than two years, I was surprised to be voting for a second time in local elections – were the Chartists more successful than I was taught in O-level History and we now have annual elections?
Given that no-one is willing to form an alliance with the Scots – maybe they should have a word with François Hollande, he could probably do with the help and the Auld Alliance has some historical precedent – I assume we’ll have to go through all of this again before the year is out. I lived through the last example in 1974, and I wasn’t a happy bunny. In those days, children’s television was suspended in the event of a General Election (presumably to get the under 10s out and voting) – so we lost two whole days worth and the first one was on my birthday! I think we may be able to trace my disengagement with politics back to that day: think on E4, think on!