Friday, May 02, 2008


You can feel it in the air. Each time you turn on the tv or the radio, nothing else apart from the election results as they tumble through to their conclusions. There is a myth in the broadcasting industry that suggests that they truly believe that most of us are in the slightest bit interested in the minutiae, the forensic sephology, the microscopic extrapolations, the expert opinions, the laughable graphics and the Ryman League-esque attempts on the part of presenters to try and make it all interesting.
Now, in a former life, I had the odd bit to do with elections - local, national, European - even Parish councils and a couple of things always intrigued me. For example, the almost Victorian `props` used as part of the voting process, including blunt pencils on string in polling booths, tapers and sealing wax to do up the parcels and seal the ballot box at the end of the day.
But it was the attitude of candidates and their supporters on the day that caused some mild amusement. Some of them took on a kind of `superior` officialese both during the voting day itself and at the count afterwards. Others adopted a stance of mild bewilderment and It made me wonder about the motives that compel people to want to serve as elected members on local councils.
Now, of course, there are those who do it out of a genuine conviction and a desire to serve their local community and good luck to them. But I suspect they are in the minority, for there are others who do it just for the kudos, the glory, the probability that it shores up other parts of their failing lives. And then there are those who are talked into doing it without realising what they are letting themselves in for. And, of course, there are those who only do it for what they can get out of it.
Without categorising them - I leave you to do that - it is however a matter of wonder that, on the national scene, our electoral system can throw up such bizarre absurdities as Ed Balls and Yvette Cooper, the Ozzy and Sharon of the Westminster village.
Ozzy and Sharon
At least here in my area, the local council has had the foresight to arrange it so that we only have local elections once every four years and what a relief that is, for whilst I have to live with the current febrile atmosphere pervading the airwaves and the predictable reaction of party hacks to their triumphs and disasters, at least I haven`t had candidates knocking on my door, bits of paper shoved in my letter box, poll cards being delivered and renewed exposure to the sealing wax regime of the cabbages and kings. Small mercies indeed.

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