So I’ve been to the polling station to cast my vote and, no, I didn’t vote BNP. I was thinking about this voting malarkey and it seems that although I’ve had the vote for 15 years I can only remember actually doing it 3 times before today. Doubtless there have been more than 3 elections since late 1993 and my lack of voting was largely due to total apathy and/or not bothering to put myself on the electoral roll. Hey, I was young. Since I never had any idea of who to vote for I always used to put down Lib Dem as it seemed suitably fence-sitterish to me. And, in the General Election that brought Tony Blair to power at least, it was pretty much a wasted vote. Oh well.
Out of interest does anyone else remember the Spitting Image character of Tony Blair when he first came to prominence? He was depicted as a small child with a high pitched voice who uttered the immortal line “Mrs Beckett! Mrs Beckett! You’re a tampon!” Genius. Sadly I can’t find this on YouTube but I assure you I didn’t imagine it.
When I went to vote today I couldn’t quite believe the size of the ballot paper. It was absolutely enormous. Neither could I believe exactly how many different parties were represented. All in alphabetical order with BNP at the top, worryingly. I hadn’t heard of quite a few of the parties and this is probably because every time some election related crap…I mean literature…came through the door I bunged it straight in the bin without reading it. Even the stuff that was addressed directly to me. In fact, I took umbrage at the ones addressed to me, I don’t remember ticking a box that said “please send me loads of crap”. Just because I’m on the electoral roll doesn’t mean you can use my address. Grrrrr. Don’t get me wrong, I have read these election leaflets in the past. Well, maybe one. It said “Vote for me, I’ve got a beard. I pledge better rights for other people with beards. Proper beards, not goatees and definitely not handlebar moustaches.” Well, it was something like that, and probably just as relevant.
I have seen quite a few “party election broadcasts” as they call them now in the run up to today. Some of them are hilarious. I wonder if they were meant to be? The Conservatives had David Cameron being all dynamic and doing some kind of roadshow where Joe Public, absolutely none of whom were Young Conservatives *ahem* were asking him really difficult questions, and he won them ALL over. Wow, what a guy. The Lib Dems’ offering was more of the same, Nick Clegg saying something like the expenses scandal would never have happened on their watch. I don’t know, I stopped listening after the first 30 seconds. Labour cunningly didn’t have Gordon Brown addressing the nation at all in theirs. If they had, the masses would be crowding outside Downing Street with torches and pitchforks baying for his blood. No, they used Eddie Izzard, cos he’s all hip and cool and it went something like ‘I was brought up by wolves (Vote Labour) and I’m wearing jam trousers. Vote Labour, I’m covered in bees….Jam…” Yes, that’s right, they used subliminal messaging.
Of course, it wasn’t just the main parties producing these broadcasts, some of the lesser and downright obscure ones had them too. I saw one with Ricky “I was a political prisoner don’t you know” Tomlinson for the Socialist Labour Party (do you see what they did there?) that only seemed to have one message: “GET OUT OF EUROPE”. They said it about 100 times in 4 minutes, I don’t think they gave any reasons, just kept saying it, like Bart and Lisa Simpson do until Homer gives in. I was a bit worried too when I saw the Green Party one and thought “Ooooh, really? You make an interesting point there. And I don’t HAVE to agree that climate change is going to make the world go pop even though we’re just coming out of an ice age?” And then I realised I don’t have any clothes made of hemp and regained control of my senses. Phew. My absolute favourite broadcast, however, was for UKIP, a party famous only for the fact that the delightful Robert Kilroy-Silk used to be their foremost and most racist member. There were some lovely wooden performances from various of their number, telling us in a stilted fashion how they’re not racist at all. No, honestly, we LOVE ethnic minorities. AND women. But this wasn’t the best bit. No, that happened when a young spotty chap was talking and managed to let out the biggest bit of flob I’ve ever seen unintentionally leave someone’s mouth. I wasn’t sure if my eyes had deceived me at first so I rewound the telly to check. Sure enough, there it was. Did they like the flob enough not to do a retake? Apparently so. It should have finished with “Vote UKIP, we’re not racist, honest. We’ve got flob.”