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May 04, 2006



When I was at junior school we never got a day off. The polling station was in the community centre just next door. We would arrive at school in the morning and our playground would be decorated with blog black and white signs with arrows to the "POLLING STATION" whatever such a place was, and all day strange grown ups would go wandering through the school playground.

These days of course the polling station is still at the community centre, but now they close the school just in case any of the people walking through the playground to vote are PAEDOPHILES! Burn them! Daily Mail panic, etc, etc...

Chris Brooke

It'd be tremendous if someone could do an opinion poll sometime, asking about attitudes to voting, etc., in order to measure apathy, and then asking at the end whether they used to get the day off school when there was an election going on, and then seeing if there's any kind of correlation.

They used my local primary school for elections all the time, we got the day off, and I'm still broadly in favour of parliamentary (and local) democracy. There may be others out there like me, too.


Actually, that reminds me; this is another reason for making polling day either a public holiday, or just on the weekend. All us poor parents have to find something else to do with our kids while they would normally be in schools.

I think that probably isn't quite as important as increasing turnout, but it's another useful thing.


Chris: I'm sure there is. Maybe it has effects on the way people vote too. I remember being very impressed with the miners at the age of nine when mum told me they'd forced Heath to hold an election. I was even more impressed when Wilson gave us another day off a few months later.

Iain: I think a public holiday might increase turnout, because at least it shows that democracy has a cost that's worth paying, namely a day's lost productivity. The current message is that voting's a kind of minor obligation that has to be squeezed in around your more important obligations to your employer.


Unfortunately, my local polling stations are located next to a Catholic church, in a university lecture hall, and in a brass band's rehearsal room. Or should that be fortunately? At least there's a chance it might prevent some religion from taking place.

And the first one is opposite my local pub.


So what's the chance of it being Alderman Harrowell by this time tomorrow, Alex?


Probably much less than I think. Canvass results have been encouraging, but are notoriously optimistic as most people will be nice to you.


"Alderman Harrowell" - there's a ballad in there (or possibly a Victorian novel)

But will they still let you be noisy and socialistic?
(Oh, Alderman Harrowell, Harrowell, oh...)


" "Alderman Harrowell" - there's a ballad in there"

something involving making shoeless orphans water the workers' beer, before throwing them out into the snow, I think. Sung with a hand cupped over the ear.

Chris Williams

Don't worry, chaps, the orphans get let back in - and plum duff is served all round - when Alderman Harrowell perishes in the mine disaster in verse seven.


"Alderman Harrowell, there's trouble at t'mill."

"Trouble! What trouble?"

"It's t'mill 'ands. They say they've too far to come for work"

"Nay! They've but three fields to cross."

"Aye - Huddersfield, Macclesfield and Sheffield!"

I do like that one...


I read on a blog - probably this one - the world's shortest negotiation. It's in a coal mine, naturally:


Anyway, back to Prescott. Was this diary, which apparently was almost the perfect Tabloid find, verifiably written before she was paid £100k? Who writes that sort of stuff in their diary?


Alex came in fourth according to the Runnymede council website. Not bad but glancing through the history reveals that he was always on a hiding to nothing in this safer than safe Tory seat.


btw I think that the three fields would be Chesterfield, Sheffield and Huddersfield as Macc is really quite a detour for such a journey.

Andrew Duffin

Almost the only thing I ever achieved as a Primary School Governor was getting elections held somewhere else (the village hall, in fact), so that the children didn't need to lose yet another day's schooling (along with all the teacher bunk-off, sorry training, days, any day when it looks as if it might possibly be going to snow anywhere in the UK, etc etc).

Having now seen the quality of the "education" they get at that school, I think on balance they'd learn more playing out in the woods and fields.

Before you tell me, I know they wouldn't do that anyway, they'd just play computer games.

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