Thursday, 6 May 2010
The previous time I voted I was literally the first person into the polling station. I hadn't planned it, but I was there before they opened and once inside decided to hurry through the voting process to guarantee to be first to put my vote into the ballot box.
Not so this time, as I popped into the polling station between two telephone meetings. I'd just finished talking to someone in Rome and my next call was with Belgium, but I had just enough time in between to cast my votes.
As I arrived at the polling station, all was relatively quiet and I was able to go straight to the desk, pick up the papers and add my crosses. I'd been asked for my voter number on the way in by an agent with a conspicuous rosette. He was the only political agent present at that time.
For one of the votes I only had a choice of two candidates, with no Labour representation in my local Ward.
As I left, a visually impaired woman had found the number gathering agent and was asking him where he stood on 'shared spaces' - the road systems which don't delineate road and pavement and remove signage thus requiring new forms of driver discipline. It was a great question from the woman who had just been guided by another into the voting area. The initial well-intended but content free preamble to a response lasted from my exit until I was out of earshot.
At which point my attention was diverted to the interesting driving technique of a people carrier which had somehow driven across a flower bed and now seemed to be somehow balanced on three wheels. This was quite exciting as there was a solid flow of cars into and out of the polling station car park which were now all part of a miniature grid lock. My mind strayed back to the shared spaces and driver discipline question, which was still continuing in the background of a scene of mechanical mayhem.
Quietly, in an adjacent car, I could see another agent with a smaller and different coloured rosette talking into his cellphone.
Maybe his shift on the number counting was about to start, with all of this activity eventually feeding back into the giant television swingometers we'll all be able to watch later this evening.