Thursday, 6 May 2010

The election and the rhythm of life

Yesterday I quoted a tiny snippet from a song called The Rhythm of Life written by Dorothy Fields. The bit I cited was "the rhythm of life is a powerful beat", the next line of the song is pertinent to the topic of today: "puts a tingle in your fingers and a tingle in your feet".

Today is the day. For ten and a half years the Labour government enjoyed a relatively easy ride, earning praise by spending other peoples money in ever greater quantities to buy shallow popularity and just enough votes to stay in power. Then the ordure hit the circulatory device because the money ran out. The folly of their works was exposed for all to see. Poor Gordon took on the reins of power just before it happened, has been on the brink of being ousted by various collections of his nearest and dearest colleagues and has shown himself to be a vile man and an inadequate leader. Today is the day we have the chance to remove him from the office he has sullied so deeply. That of itself should make today exciting but for me the excitement of this election day will come in two parts, as it does every election day.

Once the polls have closed a form of excitement always exists as the first few results are awaited and then they arrive in torrents in the middle of the night and it's all over for another few years. That is the excitement of the battle. I want to talk about the excitement of the process of voting.

FatBigot Towers is situated in a hard-core Labour constituency. I have never voted Labour and hope I never will, if I do it will be time to haul me off to the Twilight Happy Home for the Perpetually Confused under the care of the chief psychiatrist, Dr Raffia. Whether I vote Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat or UKIP will make no difference to the result, Labour will win anyway. I am sure the total percentage of votes cast for each party has an effect during the period of the next Parliament, so even if my vote makes no difference here it will count in a vague and opaque way. That is not what excites me. What excites me is that I have a vote. However flawed the system, however much power really lies with the EU over most policy and the internal party machines over some policy, however little my vote really counts, at least I have a vote.

Those of us of a certain age probably feel closer to the events of the last War than those in their teens, twenties and possibly even thirties because our parents, uncles, aunts and grand parents were involved. These people are part of far more than our genes and they made huge sacrifices, sacrifices I hope never to be called on to make, to allow themselves and their offspring a vote at each general election.

When I waddle round to the polling station I take with me not just my right to mark a cross on a piece of paper but also the accumulated rights of earlier generations who fought-off threats to that very right. In 2001 it was pretty obvious Labour would win again but my thrill was undiminished because it transcends party politics. By 2005 there was a chance of Labour struggling to gain a majority but my thrill was not magnified. Today it seems likely Labour will be voted out. That will not increase the thrill of the voting process one little bit, although it will make the night's viewing hugely entertaining. I will await that entertainment and look on it as something apart from the voting process itself, that process is the real thrill.

I will have a tingle in my fingers and a tingle in my feet.


Barnacle Bill said...

Mr. FB I hope that tingling continues as the results come in.
When I cast my vote today it is as much for myself as for my grandson's future.

Lightf00t said...

It wouldn't surprise me if Labour won again. After all, who knows how ingrained the corruption really is or just how much vote-rigging is taking place.

If Gordon Brown was to remain, he'd think he was invincible. Then comes hardcore tyranny.

FB - Congratulations on a fine blog.

john miller said...

Well, here we are on Saturday and I bet that, in the circumstances, you're still tingling.

I know I am. It's the anticipation of the look on Brown's face as they prise his fingers from the door frame of Number 10...