Friday, May 8, 2015

The General Election 2015.....zzzzzzzzz

By the time this blog goes out the election will be over. We might not have a new government but at least the endless avalanche of  cr…leaflets through the door will cease. I shred them, mulch them and make bricks for the wood burning stove.
There is something intensely satisfying about putting the shiny face of a politician through the teeth of a shredder, slowly.

      Douglas Alexander, The Shadow Foreign Secretary (or maybe not by now)

Our constituency has a leading Labour man as our long term Member of Parliament, a career politician.  Standing against him is the SNP ( Scottish Nationalist) candidate. She is twenty, studying politics at Glasgow Uni. Twenty.  I told the canvasser who came to the door that I couldn’t vote for anybody of that age.  And that I had underwear older than her.
Nothing personal. Just an experience of life issue.
                                                      Mhairi Black

So on a lighter note I came across this article about what you cannot do in a polling station.


There's nothing illegal about taking a selfie, but the Electoral Commission very strongly disapproves. It’s all about the secrecy of the ballot. It is illegal to reveal how someone else has voted as might happen with a badly posed selfie. The ballot paper number might be visible and it could easily affect the integrity of the poll and that is a human right very much guarded by the law in this country.  Any information obtained, incidentally by ‘selfie’ would be against the rules.
You can selfie outside the polling station as much as you want but there will now be signs up – no photography from this point onwards.
At the European elections there was a fine of £5,000 or six months in prison if a selfie revealed how someone else voted, even accidentally. But in practice they would simply ask you to delete the picture if it seemed innocent. Photographing someone else making their mark on the ballot paper is deemed as criminal intent.

Not in the polling station but outside you can tweet your little budgie brains out ….but only about how you voted. It is a criminal offence to say how anybody else voted ( without their permission)  or to try and influence somebody else to change their vote if they are inside the station.  It is also an offence to reveal a ballot number through social media

They are not allowed to vote but they can watch you vote as long as they are only in an accompanying capacity and not trying to influence you in any way.  If you bring two or more dogs, or there are already other dogs in the station, or you have a dog like mine who would create an international incident, then a member of polling staff will hold the dogs outside while you vote. In outlying constituencies, horses and ponies can be tied up outside. Pot bellied pigs, ferrets, rabbits, tarantulas are not specifically mentioned but presumably the above rules apply.

     A cute pony, just to balance this blog.

People shouldn't wear party political clothing, only candidates can do that.  Fancy dress is allowed though. T shirts with political slogans are not allowed as it may intimidate other voters, but a political figure is ok … as long as they are far removed from the current campaign. So Che Guvara  would be ok, as would Churchill the bulldog.
The joker might be more applicable to this election.
A spokesman said ‘The onus is on encouraging people to vote. But a line has to be drawn somewhere. Pyjamas are allowed. A topless man is okay. But a topless woman would be too distracting.’
I suppose that depends on the woman.  Or the man.


Covering the face.
You can vote wearing a hoodie etc but you will be asked a  few more formal question to ensure that one person does not vote twice using  two identities.
A biggie in Scotland!  Seemingly you cannot be refused your democratic vote just because you are bramered.  If you are bramered and argumentative, you will be told to go away, sober up  and come back when you can behave.

Want to sport a giant rosette?
Well you canny!  Only candidates and their polling agents can wear a rosette. It must be plain and not refer to the candidate or bear a slogan and it should be "three to four inches" in width. I wonder what would happen if you ride your pony to the polling station after it has just one first place in  cutest pony class.

Can you talk in the station.
Yes, but not about politics.
If I was to marry Prince Harry…
I could still vote. Technically the Queen can vote but chooses not to as it would ‘be considered unconstitutional not to remain politically neutral.’ 
Those who are medically insane and members of the House of Lords are not allowed to vote.
Politicians who are medically insane seem to get voted into positions of high power.

        The not so magnificent seven...

You will be asked to remove headphones while being processed by polling station staff.  You will be asked to leave if you have a loud mobile phone conversation or of your personal music can be heard by others.

Do you have to use the wee pencil on the string?
You can use a pen, or your own pencil.  It is tradition to make a cross but you can tick if you wish. The crucial thing is that your intention is clear.  Any other mark will be put aside at the vote and officials will make a judgement on it.
Seemingly people make a mistake and mark the wrong person ( if they are that easily confused, should they be voting at all!!). As long as the paper hasn’t been posted in the box then they can be given another paper to try again. The original ballot paper will be cancelled and the voter will be issued with a new paper.

You can take a friend with you into the polling station as long as they  too are eligible to vote there. But they are not allowed to go into the booth with you. The disabled or blind are allowed to take in assistance.

Kids are allowed in as it is seen to aid good voting behaviour in the future. The same rules apply to children as apply to the dogs above. But the child is not allowed to mark the X on the paper. You are the voter- not the offspring.

You may write a message for your candidate on the paper but it means the vote will not count. In more polite times it was  proper to write NONE OF THE ABOVE on the paper as that meant you did not consider any of them worthy of your vote. These votes are counted and termed ‘rejected votes.’

 You can sign your ballot paper if you want but if the signature is recognisable,  your vote will not count, I will have no problem there- my signature looks like a demented spider has walked through an ink pot.

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.... no... Dumb, Dumber and Dumbest....or
Shifty, Untrustworthy and  Dodgy
Glakitt, Numpty and Bawheid...
Ok you get the picture.... 

Caro Ramsay   08/05/2015


  1. Well it is all over! And the result was 'remarkable', according to the man on the TV. I got up very early to comment on this page. The SNP gained 49 seats....including the twenty year old student who is now my MP. They won all but three sears in Scotland. Overall it looks like the Tories will get in with a small majority,but an overall majority.
    The Labour vote collapsed. Three of their senior ministers have gone.
    But in a weird way, the status quo remains - England to the right, Scotland to the left (under a different colour!).
    Interesting times ahead....

  2. So what Chinese antagonist cursed the UK, Caro?

    What happens if you take a tablet computer into your voting station, with headphones attached, and someone has a Skype connection to you and they tell you how to vote?

    Just when I think they can only go so far in trying to protect idiots from cheaters and abusers, they shift into high gear and shove the pedal through the floorboards...

  3. Wow, a trip to the polling place and a zoo all in one, Caro. Just be careful where you place your gerbils, folks. Poor placement may result in the little critters scratching out tiny crosses on your votes.

    Hmmm, perhaps that explains yesterday's surprising outcome? Who would have thunk that Conservatives blamed for years of hated austerity would not only cling to power, but win so (relatively) resoundingly.

    It's just the opposite of what happened in Greece.

    Double hmmm. Could it possibly be that the three-month road show playing across Europe featuring Greece's newly empowred leftists actually trying to run a government rather than tossing rocks (figuratively, of course) at the governing party may have subtly led UK voters to reconsider the consequences of casting a vote in frustration when serious issues are at stake?

    Just a thought.

    Hmmm, ponder #3. I wonder if Prime Minister Cameron has now added Greece's Prime Mininster Tsipras and Finance Minister Varoufakis (he's the tie-less one in a leather jacket featured in photos with Cameron outside 10 Downing Street) to his Christmas card list?

  4. This is very funny, first-rate satire! I'd like to see the faces at the polling booth if I rode up on a horse in our town. But what I really want to know is the recipe for paper bricks for a wood stove. We shred a lot of paper and pay dearly for firewood for our woodstove.

  5. Jeff,
    Actually the election results weren't that surprising (although I got it wrong like everyone else). What happened is that the SNP wiped out Labour in Scotland and the Conservatives (and the SNP) wiped out the Liberals. So Cameron's "impressive victory" was actually nothing more than taking seats from his own coalition partner. He got a small increase in percentage vote (less than Labour's increase) but a lot more seats. The electoral arithmetic worked for him and for the SNP, but devastated Labour, Liberals and UKIP (thank heavens).
    The electorate seemed to plum for stability. Like a referendum on the EU membership, which would lead to a referendum on independence for Scotland (again), which would lead to...etc.

    1. Aha! Thanks, Michael. Up until your explanation it was all Greek to me.

  6. I haven't had a prayer of understanding the British election. In fact, I have a dreadful time trying to tell the British pols apart. Viz, the photos of them above. Do the men actually all go to the same tailor? But, you dear Caro, can make me laugh out loud about their antics.

    Is anyone but me struck by the fact that we are supposed to be writing about fiction and criminals, yet we spend a great deal of time writing and discussing politics?

  7. Replies
    1. Okay, Michael, I will prove that I have a firm grasp of the obvious: politicians are enormous sources of fiction and crime. Fortunately, we MIEers have one another to provide solace and laughs. But I doubt our Greek--now that he is back on Mykonos--is finding the situation there amusing. We will see.

  8. Well I feel safe to comment now as it is Sunday lunchtime and I think everybody has resigned that is going to resign.
    Yesterday at work was interesting. Nobody I spoke to voted SNP! But there was shock - a hard working local MP for twenty years (labour) ousted by a SNP candidate who only joined the SNP as a party member after the referendum (six months ago). And a man with the intellect of Douglas Alexander toppled by somebody who is twenty, not yet sat her finals at Uni, and is known to have sent sectarian tweets ... well I have to explain and rationalise that in some way. The Tories ( or was in Rupert Murdoch??) set about a campaign that frightened a lot of Scottish people into voting SNP - angering us by scaremongering etc. Result, the Scots voted SNP, kicked Labour out of Scotland and that decreased number of Labour MPs in Westminster therefore giving the Conservatives a clear majority! Clever eh?
    The ideal result for the SNP ( and I think what they hoped for) was a minority gvt so that Nicola Surgeon would have the power to side with left or right - and hold the balance of power. But that did not happen. In some ways it remains the same - Westminster to the right, Scotland to the left ( but a different colour of left).
    There are three interesting points ; Salmond (more right than Sturgeon) will be party leader at Westminster and Sturgeon has well and truly walked out from under his shadow. The party now has the old Tartan Tory membership and the new as left as Karl Marx membership.. and Sturgeon will need every bit of charisma to keep them together and she knows she has a fight on her hands to keep control...
    How effective can an MP be when they don't have a political background?
    Or as one patient said to me, amongst the youth-it is simply fashionable to be a nationalist ( it was Greenpeace in my day), so we will see what five years brings. Interesting times ahead.
    I hope that clears up the fact that we are all confused by it......
    Barbara? Stove still burning on election piffle logs. I'll email you the link !