The Grauniad has a nice interactive tool on the website now, allowing you to check the polls constituency by constituency (click on the link above).
I also like the UK map on there a lot, which is morphed to reflect where most people live. It’s a great antidote to those more strictly territorial maps which make the country look like it’s about 80 per cent Conservative. In this one, the urban Labour seats are given their fair due and you get a much better idea of what colour different regions of the country are. Democracy is about people after all.
I heard one commentator describe this election as “an ugly dog competition”, which is why perhaps the leaders are finding it so hard to make any headway against each other – it’s not such an inviting choice for many, I suspect. The irony is, there is a bigger ideological divide between the parties now than at any time for several decades; there is a very stark choice for what direction Britain’s future will take. This one really matters. But I suppose you need to have switched on to politics to some extent to even realise that much. It seems many haven’t.
But as my fellow Ulsterman Col. Tim Collins said on The World At One today, if some imagine they are sticking two fingers up to the established order by not voting, they are wrong. As he put it, if you want politicians to crap themselves, tell them you’re certain to vote – and actually do it.
In the same World At One panel discussion, comedy god Armando Iannucci pointed out that a candidate rushed for time will visit an old people’s home over a university, because he/she knows proportionately many more will vote there. This carries through into policy choices too, with sometimes inequitable results. Should financially-struggling younger voters really have taken quite as much of the economic pain as they have in recent years, versus better off pensioners? If more young people voted, perhaps generational inequality might have been more challenged. Politicians are supposed to govern fairly, but they are also expected to listen to voters. That’s voters – people who actually cast a vote. (Incidentally, an interesting article from Iannucci on the need for more truth-telling in politics here: http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/04/armando-iannucci-it-s-time-very-british-revolution).
Oh and if by some weird chance you’re reading this in the UK and aren’t registered vote, you need to register today!! Probably worth mentioning, just in case.
Don’t get in touch with me on 8th May, I’ll just warn any potential clients now. I will have had no sleep.