Friday, May 7, 2010

General Election - British Style

So I voted. It's 6.08 PM on election day as I write and, by the time you read this, the UK will have a new, or maybe the same, Prime Minister.

It's quite good voting in a country like this one. First thing this morning I dug out my electoral register voting slip thing and peered at the map on it to try and figure out where my polling station was. Off I went. Winnie the Pooh would have enjoyed the sun and blue sky and hummed a little ditty, something along the lines of

"Dum dum di dum di dum"

I'm not a fucking talking bear so I didn't. I just did my usual thing; walked and tried to look cool in a not trying to look cool way. The polling station was the local library and as British as chicken tikka masala; quiet, calm and understated.

There wasn't the slightest feeling of impending violence, no white vans lurked suspiciously and things were generally quieter than on one of the library's normal working days. As I walked towards the entrance a sweet old woman asked for my polling card number and made a note of it, they do that to look at turnout I think, and then I went in and did my thing.

X marked the spot and I had two votes, one for the Parliamentary election and another for the local council election. I read the instructions on the wall of my booth, trying to convey that air of knowing what I was doing, as if I was glancing at the wall with disinterest rather than reading the instructions before my maiden parachute jump.

Then I jumped. Well, I bunged a few Xs in the appropriate places, hardly a parachute jump to be honest.

As I left I was accosted by the chap at the front, the one who'd watched to make sure I put the ballot paper in the box properly. It sounds easy but you'd be surprised at how nervous I was about doing it correctly.

"Excuse me, can I ask you a question" the chap said.

I baulked that little bit, thinking that it was inappropriate for one of these official fellows to ask who I'd voted for.

"Have you got a brother?" he continued.

"Erm yes" I said. Cleverly. Not that either of their names is actually "Cleverly", like Beverley, which seems to be a name strangely popular among Sri Lankan men. Why is this? I've never met a white man called Beverley but have known three Sri Lankan males with the B moniker.

Turns out that the chap went to school at my old school and was a classmate of Music Biz bro. We had a little catch up talk and then parted.

And that was it. On the way out the sweet old woman asked me the same question as she had on the way in, then realised her mistake and apologised profusely.

Off I went with a total lack of ink marks applied to any of my fingers, or even those of my grandmother.

As I write this the country has been enveloped by a certain eerie calmness. Campaigning is over and I guess many people are still to vote. It's three or four hours until the post election results programmes begin on all the TV channels and each of them attempts to parade the most eye catching technology and the best analysis.

Once the counts start to come in all hell will break loose. Every expert in the country will be predicting all sorts of things and swingometers will be swinging more than King Louie out of Jungle Book on a banana hunt.

But one thing I reckon is a certainty.

Tomorrow, or today, whatever the result, whoever we decide we want in charge of the country, and it will be our decision, the loser won't be arrested and charged with, well, unknown charges.

Hmmm....democracy. I think I like it, though I prefer string hoppers.

10 comments:

OzCuz said...

I would like to contest the second sentence. When I read this post it was/is unknown who the PM in the Hung Parliament will be :P

Chavie said...

Dude, you guys don't get your pinky inked? :O That sucks!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Ozcuz - Sorry about that, I hadn't thought about you antipodeans. I'll be more careful, thoughtful and generally caring next time.

Chavie - No, they rely on the crude method of ticking things on paper here!

Darwin said...

voting here in the UK is such a refreshing change to the absolute circus that is a sri lankan election!

aufidius said...

Voting was absolutely brilliant!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

And now we all sit and wait to see what will happen.....

Anonymous said...

I like your writing. You can make the mundane seem interesting.

Charlene said...

I've not paid attention to the UK elections before this year. When I saw you were having televised debates, I started. It sounds like the results are just as shaky as they were here in 2000.

We get little stickers on our shirts that say "I voted". I always feel so cool sporting that.

Gallicissa said...

Hey RD!
Nobody gets arrested for losing elections here. Had that been true, Ranil would have been doing life.

Jeev said...

The U.K. would perhaps like to borrow our (U.S.) Supreme Court. They like deciding elections. Your satisfaction is NOT guaranteed :O