The polls are closed and the waiting has begun.
This is my second general election. During my first – 2005 – I voted by post. I was at university in St Andrews, and I voted in advance (for the Labour Party, if you’re interested), which I think kind of spoils the fun of it all really. You send off your vote, but there are still days to go and anything could happen But it’s too late, you’ve cast your vote and you just have to deal with it.
Also, when it actually comes to the election day you don’t get the fun of going to vote.
But today I did. Joy.
Apparently, people have actually been queuing to vote, which is encouraging to see. It was pretty quiet when I went, and so I popped in, got my ballot papers, went in to a booth, made my mark (for the Conservative Party this time) with the pencil provided (how high-tech), posted the papers in the boxes and left. No queue, no fuss.
Now just sitting here, watching the BBC coverage and waiting for the early results to come in (first just came, Houghton & Sunderland, Lab. win).
I feel more interested this time. I’ve made more of an effort to find out information. I watched a debate, I visited websites and I read leaflets.
My constituency is more interesting this time too. Our MP (Eric Martlew, Lab.) has been the MP for nearly 20 years, but retired, and so it feels more of an open field situation this time.
But also, I live in the north of England (perceived as racist-by-default by the rest of the country) and the BNP have been trying to represent themselves as a reasonable option. Even if I cared about nothing else I would have voted today just to keep them out of power – and assure them that they’re idiotic to assume that northerner = racist.
So, we’ve a while to wait until all the votes are counted. And at the moment it’s looking like it’s going to be a hung parliament – which presumably just means we’ll have to wait even longer for a proper decision. But it’s still all just so very exciting.
In other news: Youth Alpha was cancelled today (because the church rooms that we usually use were full of people voting) so we went bowling instead. I got a strike. And broke a nail.
In summary: appreciative of the right to vote. And hoping my guy wins.