Well. I did it: I went to the polling place and I put my cross in the box… for the LibDem candidate. It’s a very odd feeling, you know, not to vote Labour. The only time I’ve done it before, I think, was in the first London Mayoral election, when Ken Livingsone was an independent.
I think I might actually have given my first vote to the Greens then, and only my second to Ken (knowing that the first vote would be discarded after the first count, of course). And I think I also distributed my London Assembly votes between Green and Labour.
Some of the above suggests that I shouldn’t really describe myself as ‘a lifelong Labour voter’, which I tend to; but it’s always been Labour at general elections — until yesterday. And of course, as I expected, the Labour candidate won. I’m quite pleased with the overall result, though. It’s a pity the Tories weren’t squashed like bugs, and the LibDems didn’t do as well as we might have hoped; but at least with Blair’s reduced majority, we might see some reigning in of their madder civil liberties attacks.
And I have Meg Hillier’s email address now, which might come in handy.
The polling place was my daughter’s nursery class — four years ago it was my son’s. I took them both along with me yesterday evening. I usually like to vote first thing in the morning, but I had an early start yesterday, because I was collecting the kids in the evening.
They, of course, had a great time being at school out of hours. I had to wait for ages after voting while they climbed trees.
Then we sat up and watched the results. Well, fell asleep on the sofa from about 12:30 to 3:00, and then watched until 5:00 or so. It’s been a long time since I went to bed while it was getting light. And on a school night, too.
Update: Jonathan Freedland’s Guardian blog entry on the ritual of voting says it all for me.