|Image: Peter Greenberg|
Voting Day has arrived. The political parties have ceased their rounds, the leaders have returned home, the television has returned to normal (they aren’t allowed to run political reports on voting day because of impartiality rules) and the polls have opened. Everything that happens from this point on will be decided by the public, probably the only moment in any western democracy when real democracy is actually achieved.
My experience and memories of previous general election campaigns have all been pretty much the same: apathy and boredom during the campaign, a buzz while voting, then a touch of excitement watching the seat winners being announced at night.
But this time it’s different. This time it’s more intense and relevant, and with so many permutations between three leading parties still so close in the polls, it promises to be a fascinating day and night ahead.
More of the nation seems to have been engaged in the whole process and for for very different reasons, whether through Clegg Mania, Brown’s Bluffs or Cameron’s Challenge, and that can only be a good thing. I suspect the normal 40% turn out rate will be much higher this time round, and it will be fascinating to see what the final figure is. To put it in perspective, there are teenagers who want to vote today but are unable to because they are not old enough yet!
I’ll cast my vote later this morning. Our polling station is in a different location this year so I’ve a bit further to walk but I always enjoy doing it. It’s not like it’s anything spectacular: walk in, show your card, take your ballot paper and pull the curtain, make a cross then stick it folded in the big black box. It’s just the fact of knowing that I took part and got involved, and that the freedom I have to even do such a simple, yet magnificent thing, is not a freedom afforded to many other millions of people around the world. It’s one of the benefits of being a British Subject living in the United Kingdom and I urge everyone to do the same no matter how little you feel involved.
Yesterday was a cracker. I left Waverly on the 11:35 train to Perth and had a most relaxing journey north. I always enjoy going over the Forth Rail Bridge (scene of my abseil a couple of years ago) and the countryside of Fife looked beautiful as I passed through it in the sun.
My sister picked me up from the station. We bought sandwiches and coffee and sat in a park by the River Tay and next to the car, inside which my niece, baby Charlotte, snored peacefully away. From there we headed back to my sister’s home on the outskirts of the town and spent the afternoon playing with Charlotte on her swing, rocking horse, sand pit and slide in the back garden while catching up. It’s been a while since I spent time with Fiona, the older of my two younger sisters, so we had much to talk about and it was a fantastic afternoon.
I gave Charlotte a copy of SILLY POEMS FOR WEE PEOPLE VOL.2 as a gift, which for those of you who already own one will now realise who the book is dedicated to. Then after she went to bed, Fiona made a delicious home-made north Indian classic curry for dinner, which was followed up by home-grown rhubarb and ice-cream. All in all a delicious meal and a truly great day.
Back at Perth station I jumped on the almost deserted 21:02 train back to Edinburgh and read my book all the way home, finally stepping back in the door around half past ten, tired and with a pink head thanks to an afternoon spent playing in a sunny garden. Within an hour I was glowing and had to go to bed lathered in After Sun lotion!
To today then and the one thing not to forget is to vote. Other than that, the weather isn’t too hot (probably just as well where my napper is concerned) then I have some errands to run, chores to do, and then it’s back to the page.
Have a free, great and democracy laden day. Peace and out!