Wednesday, 5 May 2010

In which no one quite knows what happens next

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

Voting by Getty images

I keep trawling around the internet, looking for more politics. I am sated with politics, and yet I still can't get enough. It's like some kind of psephological disease.

My friend P calls. He is an old leftish small-L liberal like me. We both slightly despair of Labour, and want it to go away and find itself again. 'Maybe with those nice Milibands,' I say, hopefully. We have both given up tribalism, and are willing to open our minds to a change.

We talk of the party leaders. P says something very, very unfashionable. 'I think,' he says, 'that they are three decent men who want to do something good for the country.'

There is a pause. 'I think you are right,' I say. I can be unfashionable too.

How the scoffers and mockers and cynics and sceptics would laugh and howl if they could hear that conversation.

Whatever else, it has been fascinating. There has been the shock of Mrs Duffy, the amazing rise of Mr Clegg, the slightly bizarre appearance of Mr Blair's astonishing tan, the extraordinary glide, from microphone to microphone, of Lord Mandelson of Foy.

I regret the almost total lack of any front line women. I felt uncomfortable about the political wives having to get a little Stepfordish for the press, but I think they have all comported themselves with marvellous poise and grace in what must have felt an entirely artificial role. The sight of all the pundits scrambling to reconfigure their prognostications when faced with the resurgence of the Liberal Democrats was highly diverting. The blogs have done yeoman's work.

My biggest prize goes jointly to Jon Sopel and Andrew Neil, for The Campaign Show and The Daily Politics, which were so consistently informative, entertaining and educational that they must have had Lord Reith dancing a tango in the great Broadcasting House in the sky. The BBC as a whole has been magnificent. Over at Newsnight, the glorious silver fox that is Paxo has thrilled me nightly.

Anything could now happen. The Tories could get a fragile majority. The young people could turn up for Clegg. The old Labour vote could collapse altogether, or make one final rally. There could be a Lib-Lab coalition, a minority government, or a Tory-Lib pact. There could even be another election in six weeks' time.

Best news of all: more people have registered to vote than ever before. So much for the gloomy apathy warnings before the campaign began.

Whatever you think of it all, do VOTE. Suffragists demonstrated, tied themselves to railings, suffered the Cat and Mouse Act, and even died so women could vote. In China and Burma and Cuba they dream of a proper democratic vote. Even if you live in a safe seat or think the whole lot of them a bunch of showers, put a cross in the box. It is part of what makes you a citizen. It gives you your right to complain. It is your moment to stand up and be counted. Vote, baby, vote.

Thank you so much for putting up with all my endless political rants during this election season. The next month will be a much, much calmer thing.

PS.  Best quote, just now, from a lady in Leeds, interviewed on the PM programme: 'It will probably be a hung parliament. It will be FUN.'

That's the spirit.


  1. I'm with the lady from Leeds - I'm watching to see what happens and looking forward to something that's hopefully a bit different.

    Roll on Thursday night and staying up all night to watch the BBC coverage.

  2. I confess I am going to miss the campaign too. Whilst the prospect of a Tory govt depresses me deeply I am hoping for some high constitutional drama on Friday and in the weeks that follow.

  3. I have a knot in my stomach- I don't really know what will happen and I don't really know what I want to happen actually. I suspect a sleepless night and lots of coffee is to follow tomorrow. Will it be a new world of a hung parliament- more of the same but with a new Brown, invigorated by a real mandate not a hand me down one, or the cold steel of the tories


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