In a small and muddled garden. Dorset. England. Thoughts about gardening and thoughts while gardening. Housework, politics and book reviews too. Esther Montgomery.
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Monday, May 26, 2014

MONDAY MATHS - THE POWER OF ONE

There were five votes between winner and runner-up in our local elections. Five!

* * *
Imagine you'd been sitting around on Thursday afternoon drinking tea, gazing at grey rain dribbling down the window and reckoning your one vote was neither here nor there. Then on Friday afternoon when the votes had been counted - you suddenly realise you do have a place in history; that if you, your husband, your three voting-age children and your mother-in-law could have been bothered to potter up to the polling station, maybe as a minor aside when you took the dog for a walk . . . you could have swung the whole thing. The horror! The pride! You may have failed but it's shown how much you matter.

I voted Green. Green lost. Not by five votes. But 38. So close! Maybe next time. Momentum builds. None the less I'm disconcerted. Nobody I vote for ever gets in whatever kind of election it is - whether political or something silly about singing and dancing on the television - my favourite always loses. Do I make foolish choices? Or jinx whoever I vote for?

Except . . . except . . . it turned out differently in the European elections. The results were announced late, after our children had gone to bed. So I crept to their rooms and whispered "A Green got in!". As any responsible mother would.

"Just one?" asked Worthing, struggling out of sleep. "Wow! That might have been my vote!"
"One Green,"  I said. "Not one vote."

(It's as if we've been voting for Martians!)

It went quiet. What was happening? Thinking or sleeping? It's sometimes hard to tell in the dark. I turned away.
"Imagine!" he whispered. (I don't know why we were whispering. I'd already woken everyone.) "Imagine if it had been by only one vote - everyone who voted Green would think it was their vote which decided it."

Of course we would!
It's an exciting idea.

People died for this.

9 comments:

Chris Petrie said...

The jinx thing reminds of my paranoid conviction that the way to defeat anything in a meeting was for me to speak in favour.

Esther Montgomery said...

Hello Chris. The North East results were given shortly before the South West so I heard them too. It puzzles me the way constituencies are arranged. The NE seems to have three MEPs - is that right? While SW has six. Why are the large areas not divided? (Gibraltar is included in the SW - which is another perplexity!)

About getting people to vote against things by speaking for them - there are several ways in which my opinions have changed so I worry sometimes whether all my ideas will turn out to be wrong so I should abandon them on an automatic principle.

colleen said...

I told my mum that if she didn't vote she was not allowed to moan ever again about all the pictures of the Mayor in East End Life, the council newspaper we are not supposed to have. She voted. Now our trips to Sainsbury, her shopping venue of choice, will consist of conversations deriding said Mayor. Yes, he got in again; and we were the last council to submit our MEP results.

squirrelbasket said...

Well said! And wittily!
I could never NOT vote.
All the best :)

Esther Montgomery said...

Hi Colleen. I think you come under Tower Hamlets in mayoral terms? Tales of corruption, miss-use of council money and interference with voting are so widespread I imagine it must be a politically worrying time. Will there be investigations? And the pictures of the Mayor; I read that Mr Rahman has his photo on the dustcarts. Is that right? Do you get Boris Johnson's image on the buses too?

Thanks Pat (Squirrelbasket). Sometimes it's easy to think one's voice gets lost in the crowd but such narrow majorities bring it home how important we all are in electoral terms as well as in other ways. Were you happy with the results in your area?

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

I love the idea of green party voters all claiming victory was down to them, but it does highlight how important it is. I used to live in Bristol, where apparently the greens got the most votes. I now live in North Wales, which, I have discovered, a very pro UKIP area. I won't move back, but I do find it depressing.

Joanne Noragon said...

Voting is wonderful and powerful, joy or sorrow.

Diana Studer said...

Our Green party was no longer contesting the election this year. Sad.

Donna said...

Go green I say..they never win here either...money talks with elections here and they have the least money...sad

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