Thursday, May 06, 2010

Brave new worlds

This morning, in the queue to vote, I got caught up in some electoral confusion as the ballot officials managed to get their numbers confused (how do those people get those jobs? any security / criminal checks? Who's in charge of dispensing the boxes? I digress...). As I stood there, watching the three of them recite a list of arbitrary numbers to one another, I said to the chap behind me, "We need that electoral reform, eh?", he nodded, said,"Yeah..." and that was that.

Elections are funny things. This was my second, but the first of much significance. I remember my Dad refusing to tell me who he voted for in the 1997 Labour landslide and I invested a lot of meaning in this, this sacred act of voting meant that even my own Dad wouldn't, or as I viewed it, couldn't, tell me who he had voted for.

Now, everyone bangs on endlessly about why you must vote Labour or Lib Dems, but just not Tories, for all kinds of reasons, in openly public arenas such as Twitter and Facebook. Yet, place people in a box, with a piece of paper and a pen(cil), and all the online posturing goes out the window. I imagine a lot of people may vote very differently from how they act/talk in public, where they are acting in an effort to keep up of appearances with, or an unwillingness to disagree with, the views and ideals their chosen social networks / friendship groups talk about and promote.

The Americans must find out one month sprint election process very odd, when set against their eight month effort which begins with primaries in various states for leadership choices within their own parities, before moving on to the epic cross country traversing they must endure between NY and San Fran.

Imagine, DC (Cameron, not Washington), might have to travel, at most, between say, Plymouth and Newcastle. Barely a stone's throw in the US. Such a small country.

Whatever happens tonight and into tomorrow, there was a definite sense today that, even if only seen through the highly distorted leftist view of Twitter, people realised today was a day that could shape all our lives for the next four or five years time. Especially for those, like me, who will be going through some (potentially) highly transformative years in our lives, as we move out of post student years, and on towards our 30s, and the ideas of mortgages, housing, children, schools, education (x3) and all the other trappings of the endless momentum of time.

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