Thursday, 4 June 2009

Democracy in action

The ladies at the polling station hurriedly put away the cheese and dabbed oatcake crumbs from their lips as the pig "farmer" and entourage swept in.

"Hello, I'd like to decide who gets to stick their snouts in the great trough that is the European Parliament," I should have said. Instead I made light chit-chat about what good weather we've been having, although the ground could do with the rain and so on.

The first polling officer looked at the four of us (me, The Boy, stepson Pat and stepdaughter Amy) and apologised for the fact there was only one booth. Apparently we were an unexpected rush.

As the queue built up behind me, I marched into the booth, trying not to trip over the several feet of yellow sheet that was the ballot paper. For the first time in my life, I hesitated before putting my X in the box. I really wasn't sure.

I was a month too young for the May 1979 election and, as a result, Thatcher got in. I've voted Labour ever since and look where that's got us.

The pencil grew slippery as my palm sweated and I scanned the lists. I dismissed the Jury Team (?), the Christian Party (oh please), the Lib Dems (what do they stand for this week?), UKIP (racist nutters), BNP (racist uber-nutters), Tommy Sheridan's latest ego-trip.

I made up my mind, scrawled an X in the box (don't get cocky Alec, I'm just trying it out) folded the paper into a big yellow dinosaur, put it in the slot and strolled out into the sunshine which was exactly the same as when I went in.

11 comments:

KAZ said...

I voted to give poor Gordon some encouragement (always was a sucker for a loser)
And - as I told Rog earlier - Phil the copper from early doors was in the queue with me.
Yeah.

Rog said...

She's not still going on about it is she...

Don't keep blaming yourself for letting Thatcher in Malc ... it was actually your parent's fault for delaying your arrival.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

One man one vote! Isn't democarcy wonderful? Actually given some of the numbskulls I know I think some of us should have a dozen votes. Tonight I voted Socialist Labour Party - swayed by Ricky Tomlinson. I first voted Labour in the early seventies and haven't voted for anybody else until this evening. I rather liked the SLP's policy that the Orkney Isles will become Europe's official nudist colony - no clothes allowed even in wintertime.

moreidlethoughts said...

If I admitted to a Horrible Truth I am sure I'd be blackballed from ever again reading this rather amusing blog. So...I wont say that I was rather pleased the (oh! bugger! you can't reduce the font in comments.)...rather pleased that a woman had stood up to Barbara Cartland.(Or do I mean Castle?)
Please let the record show that, despite this, I did not vote for Thatcher.

And you think you had a lot of trip-over paper? Come to Australia, chum!

Geoff said...

You just feel so impotent with your little x, don't you?

I, Like The View said...

oh crikey - I forgot. . .

for the first time for 27 years. . .

how did that happen?

Anonymous said...

I live in the USA, and I preach to my kids about their voting rights. If you don't vote, you have no right to gripe. And no matter which way I vote, there are ALWAYS promises broken, rules changed, etc., so I have a lot to gripe about. From local government, to Federal government, ALWAYS something to gripe about.

KAZ said...

(Shouts up to Mr Pudding) - I did that last time.
But, yesterday I thought I'd be there for Gordon.

Beth said...

I was a week too young to vote in 1979 and had always assumed it was all my fault!

There was a very somber mood in the office today. Particularly when the Padiham & Burnley West result came through.

Richard said...

My polling station demonstrated to me how to fold the paper beforehand. They'd been told to do this because the boxes were too small if people just folded them any old way. They had also been provided with a custom built compactor to ram in the slit should the box become too full. Fat chance.

Malc said...

Kaz

Gordon is certainly a king-sized loser. I saw KT Tunstall in a pub in Edinburgh the other week.

Rog

It appears she is.

I suppose mum could have given the old man his birthday treat a month early.

Pud

You think you want that, but believe me you don't - not with the state of my legs.

Idle

Don't be ashamed - I thought it was great when Tony Blair became Prime Minister. Little did I know. . .

Geoff

Indeed - and all when we should feel so important.

ILTV

Easily done. None of the parties have done much in the way of campaigning and I'm ashamed to say I don't know the names of any of the list of six I voted for.

Anon

I hate the 'they're all the same' attitude so many folk have, but then politicians spend so much time and energy proving it right.

Kaz

What? You took all your clothes off in Orkney. How did I miss that?

Beth

OK, it's our fault then. Try not to worry about the BNP - there must be something in the water in Burnley.

Richard

I don't know what the turnout was, but I'll be surprised if it was more than 30 per cent - hardly surprising when you see how lacklustre the campaigning was.