Monday, September 07, 2009

Save election night because it's fun

One of the last comedy shows Bob Monkhouse took part in was I Think I've Got a Problem. In it he played the psychiatrist of a man who had a whole jazz band in his head. His patient was played by Suggs, who also wrote the songs. The programme lasted three series, though Suggs seemed to have run out of musical ideas by the end.

I fear that many of my fellow Lib Dem bloggers have an entire Royal Commission in their heads.

This morning Mark Pack wrote a post on Liberal Democrat Voice about moves among local authority returning officers to postpone Westminster election counts until Friday rather than count overnight. (These are largely down to the increase in postal voting that has been allowed in a doomed attempt to increase the turnout. People will queue all day to vote if they are motivated.)

I agree with Mark. Election night is the nearest thing we get to a carnival of democracy in Britain. I enjoy it and I suspect all political activists enjoy it. It is one of the rituals that give meaning to what we do.

But when Lib Dem bloggers came to write on the matter today their inner Royal Commissions took over. It was the retired permanent secretary, the female trade union leader, the successful migrant businesswoman and the headmaster of a leading public school who dictated what was written.

I don't want to pick on individual bloggers, so go to the LibDemBlogs aggregator to get a feeling for the debate. There is little sense anywhere of the enjoyment we get from elections or of election night as a celebration of democracy. It is all terribly, terribly serious.

Unfortunately Bob Monkhouse is no longer with us - come to think of it, Suggs showed no signs of getting better either - but there must be someone who can help you guys.

Later. Jonathan Isaby on Conservative HOME has a well-argued post in favour of maintaining the current counting arrangements. He also links to a Facebook group. I don't do Facebook, but I wish it well.


crewegwyn said...

Totally agree.

We should also be doing all possible to retain polling day as a collective act of civic responsibility - not a dribble of postal votes being returned along with the credit card payments etc.

Lavengro said...

n Spain elections are on Sundays, polls close at 20.00, and by midnight we know the result and everyone's gone home. For the procedure see:

Then it takes a few weeks to form a government. No removal vans outside the Moncloa on Monday morning.

Anonymous said...

Agreed with both of you, and not just because of my feelings on postal votes either, which is a whole different kettle of hornets. Even without being the kind of major-league psephological geek that I am, there's something unifying about staying up deep into the night to see whether or not, say, Engelbert Humperdinck will gain Barrow from Ann Haydon-Jones and her husband Pip - as the Portillo moment in 1997 proved. Ah, hindsight...