Well my week-long voyage of discovery has come to an end. In actual fact, I decided early this week which party I would vote for. I wasn’t sure whether I would actually go along to vote though.
In the end, I decided to go along to the polling station. I fancied a walk and a bit of fresh air. Besides, my parents dropped in to vote on the way to a meal at glamorous Wetherspoons, so I would have gone hungry if I didn’t go with them.
Having reached the polling station without being bumped off, and decided which party I preferred, the costs of voting seemed very small even considering the minuscule benefits. So I went in, queued behind my parents, and cast my vote.
When I first went in, the polling station seemed quite quiet — there was only one person casting her vote. But by the time I left, I had seen at least another four people come in. I was expecting it to be proper tumbleweed stuff, but it seemed steady, even if it was quite slow.
Plus, one of the other voters was someone I recognised as being in my year at school, which perhaps bodes well for the youth turnout. Though to be fair, it is probably more likely to be a totally meaningless coincidence.
Anyway, even if the European Parliamentary election is ostensibly not the most interesting, the week in politics leading up to it has been fascinating. For one thing, I have enjoyed getting stuck into the issues and the parties.
I haven’t really done this sort of blogging for a couple of years at least now, so it felt a bit unnatural. But it was worth experimenting, and it certainly increased my awareness of the salient issues leading into this election. This sharpening of the brain has always been one of my favourite aspects of blogging.
Then there has been this whole issue with the Labour government in Westminster disintegrating in front of the world’s eyes. It would have been perfectly normal for this all to have happened after the election. But for this to happen in the run-up to an election seems incredible. It is an amazing piece of self-flagellation, demonstrating a lack of discipline and self-control. Either that, or things simply became so bad within the government that this actually was the least worst option.
Now the internet is abuzz about what will happen at 2201, when the media can again report freely on politics. It’ll be fascinating to watch this situation unfold.
I have to say, even though I despise their policies, I feel kind of sorry for Labour candidates and activists who had to try and make something out of this mess today. They’ve really been shat on by Gordon Brown’s ineptitude and cabinet in-fighting that is completely beyond the control of the activists on the front line. Makes me glad I’m not a politico.
The other incredible story of the day has been the tale of Ukip voters’ frustration at… wait for it… being unable to unfold a ballot paper properly! Unbelievable. Shows you the class of person that Ukip attracts.
There is a valid point to be made about the order parties or candidates appear on the ballot paper. It’s well known that the SNP exploited the alphabetical system to good effect by temporarily renaming their party “Alex Salmond for First Minister” during the 2007 Scottish Parliamentary elections, a stunt that possibly explained a lot of the confusion that voters experienced.
In the twenty-first century, you would expect something a bit more sophisticated than alphabetical order. Surely it can’t be difficult to have the parties and candidates displayed in random order, printing an equal number of each iteration of the ballot paper? But with so many things wrong with the political system in this country that no-one in power seems bothered to fix, this is small beer and it’s no wonder this situation has been allowed to unfold.
Anyway, in the end I decided to vote for the Liberal Democrats. This isn’t really a huge surprise. I have voted for them (as my first choice) in every election since I got the vote. It is true that I have become a bit jaded with them recently, but in fairness that is mostly because of their so-so performance in the Scottish Parliament.
Ideologically, they are easily the party I’m closest to. In fact, they are probably more or less the only party I could bring myself to vote for. The deal was sealed when I read their election leaflet, and was impressed by the tone and the positive content about the Lib Dems’ role in Europe.
If I had a second choice, I may well have ended up casting it for Jury Team. Despite my general scepticism about the anti-party rhetoric, I like the main thrust of their message. I was also quite impressed by their number 1 candidate Alan Wallace, who has a blog where the message is quite measured. Today he also added me on Twitter and replied to one of my tweets, so I appreciated the effort to reach me.
Now I just have to wait and find out if I cast a pivotal vote that got the Lib Dems and extra seat. I somehow doubt it. And I have to wait until Sunday to find out. Gah. Just as well something interesting will probably happen tonight anyway then!