Just how grim can it get up north? (Actually, it's quite nice.) One woman's not-so-lonely journey into the Northern heartlands.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Went along to my friend's count. Intense council officers shuffled, tapped and pegged the ballots; they all had their own style. One liked to lick her finger, turn up a corner and count the ballot papers as if she was counting her own money; another preferred the steadier approach of lifting each paper from one pile and transferring it to a second pile. Whichever style they adopted, my friend still lost. He picked up 790 votes compared to the Liberal Democrat incumbent's 949. Irritatingly close for him. The Labour candidate who would normally have picked up my vote got an astonishing 74. Seventy-four votes - and it could so easily have been 75 had I not been inveigled into voting Tory for the first and last time ever. This same Labour candidate - one Carol Griffiths - did not appear at the count. Or maybe she did and she was so humiliated by the fact Labour only got 74 votes, she could not bear to make herself known when the results were announced? Call me old-fashioned, but if people have done you the courtesy of voting for you, at least turn up at the count to hear the result. Was she unavoidably detained on her way into the sports centre by Gordon Brown calling for consolation? Even the independent candidate (who stood as an independent shortly after not being selected as the Conservative candidate) did better with 258 votes. Why there is a feeling Labour has been taking its support for granted, I just cannot think.
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Silly Conservatives - if they hadn't soured off the Independent, they might have got enough votes to win! Yes, the Labour lass should have been there; be gracious in defeat, my dad always said. London Ken was a shining example of how to behave.
How's your hand this morning? Still the usual color?
There should be a real anger against Labour up here for a generation: they have introduced an expensive change in local government which people did not want and have massively rewarded the outgoing chief executive of the County Council for driving it through. Justifiably, the architects of the change have all either been deselected or not voted in.
But we are left with an unwanted and expensive reorganisation.
So in some ways I'm surprised they got 74 votes.
It totally frustrates me that the Lib Dems always seem to get in round here. Why? They do very little. This area is desperate for progress to happen and now we can almost be assured that it won't.
After graduating from college in the US about 30 years ago, I gave myself a present and flew to Europe for a six-month hiatus. At some point I found myself living with a coal miner's family in Peterlee, south of Durham. My host, Joe, was a hearty, generous soul and even though I only understood every third word we found a commonality in our love of Guiness and got along famously.
Until the day he invited me to the lake shore. At least that's what I thought he said. Joe didn't own a car, and it was much too cold in September to dip my Septic Tank Yank toes in the North Sea, and the Lake District was too far to walk.
On the appointed day we walk to Peterlee's business district, and entered a modest brick building which I recognized as the local coal miner's union headquarters. Up three flights we walked to a modest convention hall.
Where I saw my first leek show.
I'm knee deep in our U.S.elections for President -- or as Wifey refers to it : "an election thingy".
I had thought that our system defied common sense what with the SuperDelegates, Electoral College, etc. One can almost understand the pervasive apathy to it all.
BUT you folks have totally mystified me. I shall have to do some research to know what each party is called, what it stands for, etc. Your system seems to make ours look almost understandable!
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