Economics and similar, for the sleep-deprived

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Update: seemingly not

Update: Oh yeah!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

My Election Diary

(note: everything below is "morally true", by which I mean that much of it is a pack of lies, but it all ought to be true as it reflects deeper insights into electoral psychology. I daresay I will cough up the literal truth if bullied assiduously enough in comments)

1845 Knock off work, having realised that the polls stay open until 2200 and I don't have to vote at lunchtime, thanks to a helpful commenter on my original Commentisfree piece.

1850 While riding the Tube home, I suddenly get horrible pangs of guilt at protest voting. Can't stop thinking about the old Onion joke "at last, our long dark night of competent local administration is over". Camden is an odd place, and rather too keen on chucking ASBOs about, but it does basically work in the sort of way that Lambeth doesn't. It would be pretty hard luck on the users of council services if they ended up being mismanaged because of protest voters.

1900 Arrive home, having rationalised the decision. Most of the services are managed by contractors anyway and most of the rest are staff jobs. All the actual council does is "set policy", which as far as I can tell from the Camden New Journal they regularly fuck up in the most grandiose way possible and the sky does not fall in. So protest it is then.

1905 Missus goes off to vote. Rationalisation process now working apace. Anyway, if the council is hung, New Labour will have to be nicer to us to win it back. This will be good for the working class of the borough as it means that Milliband will have to cough up that �300m worth of housing stock improvements that he is currently withholding as a bribe to make the council tenants vote to transfer their stock to a housing association. I personally think that the tenants are being a bit bloody minded in their refusal to consider a housing association, but they keep voting to turn down the plan, so it is a bit rough to deprive them of their improvements. Ah yes, protest voting is the right and even the moral thing to do.

1935 Missus comes back. My turn to vote. Stomach now churning at the thought of voting out Pat Callaghan, popular local Labour councillor, who I like.

1936 Fortitude, Davies. You knifed Frank Dobson despite him sorting out that parking ticket and you can do this now. Pro-test! Pro-test!

1940 Arrive at polling station. Small kerfuffle relating to the can of lager I am sipping from, resolved amicably.

1941 I am apparently at the wrong polling station. I heard "the school" and went to my son's school. Apparently that is in a different ward and my polling station is the posh school up the road. Small kerfuffle related to this, also resolved amicably.

1942 Receive friendly admonishment from Labour teller about the "Street Drinking Prevention Zone" which I will have to walk through to get to the polling place. Fuck New Labour. Fuck them. Filled with petty anarchistic rage.

1944 Doubts recur. I actually think that the no-drinking zone is probably a good idea given the state of the Market these days, and most of the ASBOs Camden has handed out have also done quite a bit of good by chucking the crack dealers out (presumably onto some other poor bugger's patch, but such is the way of the world). Slight concern about all the posters up saying "164 drug arrests were made in this area last month", "Our sniffer dogs can find minute traces of ecstasy", "Zero tolerance for cannabis" etc � the local economy is on its uppers already without frightening off the tourist trade. But I suspect that this was the idea of the Met rather than LBC.

1945 Arrive at correct polling station. Small kerfuffle about the can of lager I am sipping from, resolved amicably. Oh look, we use the old-fashioned metal ballot boxes, how cute!

1946 Hell is this? Apparently I get three votes. Every time I get the hang of democracy, they bring out a new version with a more complicated interface. It's a bit like Microsoft Flight Simulator. I am damned if I'm voting again.

1947 Well, isn't that neat? I cast a vote for Pat, and then for two randomly selected Lib Dems. Bad news for Jake Sumner, who seemed like a nice enough lad on the one occasion I met him, but a) not nice enough to overcome the urge to protest vote and b) I am probably doing him a favour by dissuading him from a career in New Labour politics.

1948 Democracy served for another year. Back to drinks and telly. Consider painting my index finger purple as a meaningless gesture of solidarity with democrats everywhere, but then realise that it would actually be a(genuinely, as nobody would understand it) meaningless gesture of taking the piss out of some of my weblog enemies.

Epilogue: And as you can see, I was not just blowing smoke about being the median voter �the ward of Camden Town with Primrose Hill returned � Pat Callaghan and two random Lib Dems! My middle class guilt is also largely assuaged, since I don't think that the fall of Camden to NOC can credibly be blamed on the likes of me. Gospel Oak, which is two-thirds council housing, returned three Tories (almost certainly an opportunistic piece of electioneering over the housing transfer thing). Kilburn did three Lib Dems and so did Cantelowes, while Kentish Town did two. Labour did not hold onto the working class vote at all well as far as I can see.
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