Putting the “X” in Four X

I was reminded today that there are elections rapidly approaching. In part I was reminded by reading Carol’s blog where she blogged about it, but the main nudge was when my ballot papers dropped through the letter box. For some reason which I can’t now remember, I registered for a postal vote and now I have to come to grips with a whole new area of technology.

I take elections pretty seriously, and with one exception, always vote. Since, at one time, anyone whose first name wasn’t “Lord” wasn’t allowed to vote*, it seems only fair that I should take advantage of the opportunity now I’ve got it. Also, in spite of having successfully survived forty summers**, voting is about the only thing I do that makes me feel grown up.

At the last General Election, the Hospital Radio station I belong to asked me to go along to the local Guildhall to report on the count. It was incredibly serious – the two technicians and I all had to sign a pile of forms, agreeing that if we breathed a word of what we saw while we were in there, the Returning Officer could rip our insides out and throw them on a brazier***. Then when I arrived, I couldn’t park within half a mile of the Guildhall as a precaution against car bombs. Odd that they then let me walk in carrying half a ton of broadcasting equipment without giving any of it a second glance.

It was pretty interesting really, and I got some nice human interest interviews out of most of the candidates (I’d decided to go for the lightweight approach, asking them what they did for relaxation during a busy election campaign, that sort of thing). The exception was one candidate – I think he was from the Real Labour Left Wing Alliance Who Want To be Just Labour But Hate Tony Blair Party – who managed to include the fact that he was a taxi driver in the answer to every question.

I thought it was odd that I appeared to be the nearest thing to a real journalist covering the event, until I found the “Press Reception Room” (which I had a pass to get into, but my two techies didn’t…heh heh), where I found two reporters from the local rag, a couple of TV crews, and a table which had once been a laden buffet, and was now a table with a couple of sausage rolls on it.

For some strange reason I’ve not been invited to elections since.

*And even Lords could only vote for the King, anyway.

**I first typed “forty winters”. You’d be amazed how hard I found it to calculate that I’ve actually survived forty-one winters, but only (so far) forty summers.

***May not be 100% accurate

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