Virginia Barton

8 June 2017: The Insomniac – Polling Day


8 June 2017


If you actually join a political party, as I did as soon as the General Election was called a few weeks ago, you must expect an onslaught of propaganda. Why? My chosen Party knows that I joined and paid my bit to become a member – isn’t that enough? Do they think I will change my mind and vote for another candidate when Polling Day comes?

Possibly. Because in no time my Inbox was awash with daily messages, and the postman brought stacks of literature. Thank the Lord I ticked the box that said “would you prefer not to be contacted by telephone”.

dogs-at-polling-stations-962082Mind you, all the Parties did the same, the recycle sack was stuffed. Suddenly you are the most popular person on the block: all manner of invitations arrive for events near and far. It’s enough to make you change your mind several times. But I joined this party for a single reason. They are the only ones who promise a re-run of the disastrous Brexit Referendum.

Picture the Sad Remainer: clutching at straws.

To crown it all I was told I was not allowed to stick up my jolly orange poster! – it’s against the terms of the Lease we read and signed ages ago.


The intention is to go to sleep after the Straw Poll (unscientific, but usually pretty accurate) which takes place as soon as the polling stations close. Having slept for perhaps 3 hours or so, you wake up when half the results are in. Smart thinking.

As far as I’m concerned, this never happens. Personally, I get so caught up in the excitement of the night that sleep departs with the daylight and I find myself creeping in and out of the kitchen, mug in hand, making interminable cups of tea and munching ginger nuts. Hollow-eyed and chilly I follow the fortunes of Penrith and the Borders, North and South; Richmond, Croydon, Nuneaton and Tooting. In the last six elections Houghton and Sunderland have been the first to declare a result. Remote outreaches in Scotland and Northern Ireland come in next day, rather like my race horses. Turnout and majority become words of great import; as do tactical voting and spoiled ballots.


Two invitations to sit up all night with the TV have been politely declined. Bed is the best place to follow the results of an election: in the dark, with a wireless. You disturb no-one, your disappointment or whoops of pleasure are smothered in the pillows, and provided you don’t spill hot tea thanks to dozing off while some boring pundit drones on, you will come to in the morning full of beans. Even if your party is way behind.

BH sleeps throughout, and if you ask him how he voted he will reply “by secret ballot.” Sensible fellow.






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