Virginia Barton

27 April 2015: Electionitis and British Phlegm

 

27 April 2015

 

A few of us (those who aspire to government and those who fear losing the opportunity to govern) are crazed with excitement at the prospect of the General Election on May 7th. The majority find it a great yawn that spoils the TV schedules, costs a shed-load, and interrupts the even tenor of the running of the country.

Signpost, political partiesBH and I have postal votes as becomes our age. We solemnly filled in our ballot papers and sent them off smartish. We voted tactically — by secret ballot of course.

It’s an interesting Election because, according to the Polls, it’s a neck-and-neck affair. You would have thought that the much-lauded success of managing the economy would guarantee the Tories a return to office,  but it seems not.

Elections alas, bring out a nasty streak. They tend to highlight the haves and have nots, the posh and the plebs, and worst of all, those of a different race, colour or creed. This arouses cries of:

“They have taken what is mine by right… my house, my job, my kid’s place at school, my hospital appointment, my place in the queue…”

I dare say it was much the same in the 17th century when the Huguenots arrived in their tens of thousands; French-speaking Calvinists “who ran the hazards of the sea” to seek a safe haven in Protestant England. Or after the second War when thousands of Poles, our only Allies in 1939, were given the chance to settle here.

Yes the economy will be a factor for those that vote, as will immigration and that vast sacred cow, the National Health Service. The promises made by all parties on these and every subject under the sun make one gasp and stretch one’s eyes!

The phlegmatic British are loathe to admit to Election Fever. Personally, I look forward hugely to a sleepless night counting in the new MPs, holding my breath over each degree of swing, and heaving sighs of relief or groans of disgust.

It’s fascinating stuff and cosying up to the wireless is the best way to follow every move. You can listen in a darkened room, in a warm bed, and shut your eyes when they get sore — which is pretty pointless in front of the telly. Apart from that, politicians are not normally photogenic….

So May 8th will be a write-off, a day for popping corks or drowning sorrows. Either way, you can be sure that some sort of liquid will be involved.

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