Tuesday, 6 May 2008

The end of the beginning.

I do rather like elections. It’s not just the winning though. I’m partial so obviously don’t treat both impostors even-handedly but still find the whole thing enthralling.

The build up to the day, savouring every minute of the walk to the polling booth after work, waiting until 22.00 hrs when the polls close and then watching the story unfolding over the course of the night. General Elections will always find me taking the Friday off as a days holiday to allow a little respite after the all nighter. The lack of sleep and occasional over indulgence does not really render one fit for work the following day. Locals, and foreign elections don’t really warrant a days leave of absence although they are still usually pretty late nights.

And what probably makes the whole thing rather sad is that I have done this since 1979 as a then slightly more politically literate than average 11 year old.

Trying and failing to explain to ones friends that a swingometer is not a game with a couple of bats, a pole and a tennis ball on a string is not always a happy place to be.

Indeed during a spelling test in first form (secondary) English I was instructed to spell Parliament. I think I missed the ‘A’ out. Probably a common error at that age. Nevertheless the Master bellowed

‘You can’t expect to go there Grendel if you can’t spell it’

‘Yes Sir, sorry Sir’ sotto voce ‘cause if I did ever get there you’d be sorry’.

'What was that?’

‘Nothing Sir, sorry Sir’.

I was at Mrs G’s brother’s birthday party on Friday night but still had secreted away my personal radio so I could follow when the results in London were going to be announced. I don’t live in London but I didn’t want to miss out. I got home in time for the declaration and stayed up for several hours afterwards revelling in the result.

Further adding to the interest was this years Local Elections were the first that I watched / followed entirely on the Interweb. No Jeremy Vine cowboy suits for me. Oh no, it was more a case of listening to Radio 5 whilst having about eight different web pages open at the same time, flicking between them and playing about with the calculative models on ‘Electorial Calculus’.

At the aforementioned party I was discussing this with a friend. She said that she would understand it more if I were politically active but then added that perhaps it just the same as my liking for sport, all competition, stats, winning and losing margins, probabilities etc. And of course the penny dropped. That’s it and I’m surprised it had never occurred to me before.

Of course the great issues of the day and who governs are the most important issues but it suddenly occurred to me that I rather like the competitive element for its own sake too. Run rate / Swing / goal difference!. Watching Broon getting a kicking watching the Aussies losing by an innings. Well OK the chances of the latter….etc.

And it’s probably why I watched 1997 from top to tail. It’s a bit like watching the odd occasions when Spurs beat Arsenal. Agonising, but you still don’t want to miss a moment. It is a new twat is it not?

Mind you I’m rather looking forward to the reverse fixture in 2010.


Crushed said...

Oh God, yes.

I watch every election, just to see how my predictions pan out.

Watch out for the Crewe and Nantwich by-election.

Easy pickings for Cameron, and the first Tory by-election victory from Labour since 1982.

That will be a much needed morale boost for him.

Julie said...

I always watch them religiously - don't know why, exactly.

Crushed said...

PS- UK Polling Report gives bettr notional results than Electoral Calculus.

Grendel said...

Crushed - re second comment, duly noted. Thanks. G