The level of interest in this General Election is unprecedented – in my lifetime, at least. All over the country there have been long queues with some people turning up two or three times before they could get in to cast their vote – and hundreds were turned away when the polling stations closed at 10.00pm. Nobody seemed to have any idea what to do, but surely it makes a mockery of democracy if people are denied their right to vote when they’re registered electors?
It’s particularly noticable how engaged first-time voters are, a welcome contrast to their apathy in previous contests. My kids (16 and 19) wanted to have an election sleepover and stay up through the night.
I’m old enough to remember the night Thatcher first came to power in 1979, which I watched from the Junior Common Room at university in York. And I’ve very clear memories of getting up (on holiday in Pembrokeshire, as it happens) to hear in astonishment that no less a figure than Michael Portillo had lost his seat overnight and we had a Labour government.
But right now, all I can think about is the anger of those people denied their votes…the lack of forethought on the part of the Electoral Commission is truly shameful.