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The icon is for my dad

(1) First things first. A very happy birthday to loosehorses, and best wishes for a wonderful new year.

Also, I missed lore's birthday on Sunday. I hope you had a lovely day too.

(2) I understand some of you have a thing today, and it's sort of important.

Well, enjoy yourselves. Don't think about the fate of the world hanging on your every chad and stuff.

Yeah, yeah, I wasn't going to talk about politics. I wasn't going to have the banoffee pie at the pub last night either. Cope.

I was interested to see that all the portents and omens point to John Kerry. In 140 years, the shorter candidate has only won twice. There was the whole Washington Redskins losing and the Red Sox winning at the time of the blood-red eclipse. But psephology thus far would seem to point to a Bush victory. It's very intriguing.



We almost ran a book on it at work but no one could work out the permutations of the electoral college for the sweepstake, because surely there are some permutations that can't happen because few states split the vote? Anyway, we were too stupid to work it out and besides, we couldn't be arsed to do that much work for a teensy bit of gambling.

Also there was the possibility that the sweepstake wouldn't pay out until, say, January. (Ba-dum-tshhhhh. Never let it be said that I missed a cheap shot. Or indeed a crap one. *g*)

Everyone at work is strutting and fretting their hour upon the stage and the important people are being Very Important Indeed. (Yeah, yeah, it's a tale told by an idiot. I provide me own heckles here) For the people I like at work, who have no power whatsoever, it's not so exciting. I expect we'll turn off the election momentarily if there's Champions League footie tonight but otherwise we're going to be full-on, eighteen-hour, all-screens coverage. Oy. They should give us maps that we can colour in as the states declare.

It's very confusing to watch US election coverage in Britain because the US colours its states the opposite way to how we colour our constituencies: blue = rightwing and red = leftwing here, whereas in the US red = rightwing and blue = less rightwing. Oh all right then, liberal.

It messes with our heads. Well, it more specifically messes with my head, because I am an 80s child, trained in Pavlovian politics where red=yay and blue=boo.

Mr Blair, our very own little neocon, is struggling to paint the outcome of the election as a win-win situation for him: if Mr Bush wins, it's all steady as she goes and if Mr Kerry wins, it's like Labour's natural partner has been restored to power. However, the fact that they're talking about a snap election in February proves that they're feeling very antsy.

A February general election would mean surfing the wave from a successful Iraqi elections while getting in the poll before the downturn in the housing market really has a chance to bite. The UK independence party is in disarray because of a certain Tosspot Former Chat Show Host, which is a plus for Labour because of their nominal pro-European stance, and the Tories are coming off their worst byelection defeat in decades and are nowhere near ready.

Because you can call an election and have it done from soup to nuts in 28 days, it would be the short, sharp shock vote. Turnout will be low and Blair will get in again but with a much reduced majority, and continue to think that he pisses champagne, farts in strawberry flavours and outshines the bathroom light every time he takes his underpants off.

I'm voting LibDem, which strains my very DNA, but I can't in all conscience vote for Labour while Mr Blair remains captain of the boat.

For those of you who are Republican, if your candidate wins tonight, I imagine you will be mightily relieved. As I said, it'll be steady as she goes.

For those of you who are Democrat in affiliation, if your candidate wins tonight, well, I wish I could be there. As nostalgia_lj was saying, there's hardly a feeling like it in the world. When you're on the powerless side of a stark political divide, reversing that powerlessness is an adrenalising feeling.

We had the Tories for 18 years, from May 1979 to May 1997, and I loathed them with every fibre of my being from the moment any sort of political consciousness awoke. When Thatcher resigned in all that lovely ignominy in November 1990, people where I was *danced in the streets*.

I was working at the Sheffield Star at the time of the 1997 election and I was picked for the overnight shift because I was fast, eager and technically adept with things like tables and formatting. We were reasonably certain that Labour was going to win, but a lot of us had thought that in 1992 as well and the disappointment when the discredited, disreputable and corrupt Tory administration won another term was like ashes in our mouths. So we believed that it was possible but couldn't quite allow ourselves to hope.

Returns start coming in at about 11pm usually. Exits before that but the first results at about 11pm, the first marginals about an hour later. One by one, we watched the map of constituencies turn red and it became obvious that the swing was huge and unprecedented. Then there were those glorious moments in the early hours of Friday morning where David Mellor and then Michael Portillo had to stand and look stony-faced as their political careers were flushed down the toilets. It was a beautiful sight to see. So beautiful that one of the best books about the 1997 election is called Were you up for Portilllo?

We finished reporting work at about 6am and went downstairs to watch the early election edition roll off the presses, took a copy where the ink had barely dried and just looked at it in happy awe because we'd managed to use all those newspaper words that really you shouldn't get to trot out very often like "unprecedented" and "once in a lifetime".. Then we went to a hotel and had a champagne breakfast and got completely pissed within about five minutes because we'd been working all night on adrenalin and prawn cocktail crisps. That morning dawned bright and sunny and it seemed as though in those 24 hours the entire country had been transformed.

Of course, some of those new MPs turned out to be rogues and charlatans and some of them turned out to be Tories in red ties, but at least you get a few months' grace before you allow yourself to realise once again that they're all lying bastards.

Whichever way your preferences lie, best of luck.

(3) My parents retired this weekend, thank the lord. Of course, they're going to end up going out to get part-time jobs so that they can see less of each other, but they no longer run their own business with all the 24/7 headaches that implies because they've sold it to some poor sucker a bright and able entrepreneur. I cannot tell you how happy this makes me.

(4) They've decided to buy a new car too, and they're giving me their old one. I tried to offer money but my dad told me to bugger off. I quote.

You really don't need a car in London, but my god, it's nice to have one. Now if only my insurance were not the same as tithing my entire wage...

(5) I finished Going Postal by Terry Pratchett, and I still enjoyed it very much but I wish he'd been either (a) more explicit in his critique of the politics of privatisation or (b) totally inexplicit. The coy half'n'half approach was distracting. I'd like a book about the witches next though please, unless he's going to do what I suspect and kill off Granny Weatherwax, in which case I'd rather have another one about the Watch.

(6) xsabx, would you mind terribly giving me your email address? You don't have one listed in your info.

(7) I have a six-day weekend coming up, to make up for having worked 12 in the past 14. I have all manner of lovely plans, including visits and new carpet in my new bedroom. I know that's not interesting to the rest of you, but I just like reminding myself. Mmmmm. Wooooool carpet.

(8) I owe post and email. That's also going to get done this weekend. Would anyone like a Christmas/holidays card this year? I sense a movement in the force which may lead to the timely sending out of cards. Either that or it's the beans I had last night

(9) I am sort of kind of doing nanowrimo, in the sense that I have made a commitment to write every day but not on just one big thing. I need to get back in practice.

Yesterday's totals:
859 words on the first line/last line thingie
927 words on the thingie that's been in my head since summer.
0 words on the crack-addled Whitby project as yet, but we'll see.

(10) Even numbers is better.

All the best to you all,

K.

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
xsabx
Nov. 2nd, 2004 12:21 pm (UTC)
D'oh!
Try

xsabx [at] mac [dot] com

That should work... :D
ropo
Nov. 2nd, 2004 12:32 pm (UTC)
Yay for your parents' retiring! And the CAR! Whoooot!

Go you with the writing this month! I haven't started anything but I have the same plan. To try to write something, namely.
loosehorses
Nov. 2nd, 2004 12:49 pm (UTC)
Well, enjoy yourselves. Don't think about the fate of the world hanging on your every chad and stuff.

LOL I'll try not to forget. I voted two weeks ago, so I've done my bit for King and Country.

Thanks for the birthday wishes, K. I'm hoping for John Kerry for my birthday, but I know a lot of people would have to go in on it. ;-)

With any luck I might be seeing you this year, as well, which would be quite nice.
vivwiley
Nov. 2nd, 2004 01:44 pm (UTC)
Great icon! Liked your story about election night in 1997 - there is this amazing sense of power when you realize that your vote helped change things. I get completely crazy about our incredibly low voter turn-out rates here. Here's hoping that we really do get good turnout today and that this marks some renewed civic engagement. (I know, hopelessly idealistic, but I have to hope!).
qowf
Nov. 2nd, 2004 02:33 pm (UTC)
I wish you were here today. I really don't have adequate words to tell you how much.

I voted. So did a lot of other people. And this was at 6 a.m.

It's going to be a very long day.

minnow1212
Nov. 2nd, 2004 03:32 pm (UTC)
Yay car! Yay writing!

>prawn cocktail crisps<

:tilts head to side: Huh. I don't think we have these here. I think that's a shame.
thinkum
Nov. 2nd, 2004 03:35 pm (UTC)
It's very confusing to watch US election coverage in Britain because the US colours its states the opposite way to how we colour our constituencies: blue = rightwing and red = leftwing here, whereas in the US red = rightwing and blue = less rightwing. Oh all right then, liberal. ... It messes with our heads. Well, it more specifically messes with my head, because I am an 80s child, trained in Pavlovian politics where red=yay and blue=boo.

Odd that you mention this - the color scheme been driving me nuts for the past several months, despite my being American. In my brain, for whatever reason, red = liberal and blue = conservative. Seeing all the charts set up the opposite way is bizarre. I keep wondering when they (whoever "they" are) set that standard, because it's just Not Right, and I can't believe I've never noticed it before.
se_parsons
Nov. 2nd, 2004 04:37 pm (UTC)
Wish you were Here
But then I always do.

I would very much like a holiday card. You'll be getting one from me as well.

All or write of you need encouragement or a good smacking on the Nanowrimo, as I'm right there with you.
lilydale
Nov. 2nd, 2004 05:05 pm (UTC)
(3) Good news indeed! Is part of their retirement fun going to be reading LJ and/or making icons or is the icon more in honor of your dad for fun even though he won't ever see it? ;-)

(4) A car! Now you can go buy large and heavy things with which to decorate your home and yard!

(7) New bedroom? Are you moving to the other one? Or do you just mean newly decorated? I like your big room!

(8) If you're sending cards, I would love one. If I get my act together, I will have one to send you too. Also, I'm asking so many questions (I'm so demanding!) that you may want to move this over to email.

(9) YAY! (But what is the crack-addled Whitby project? Is this something I might've seen in Whitby? Also, ::nostalgic Whitby sigh:: I miss Dracula, casino arcades, those candy sticks, and the company.)
infinitemonkeys
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:52 am (UTC)
(3) In honour of my dad who collects the cartoon books that Granny is from. And because the sentiment expressed would make him harrumph *g*

(7) I am moving rooms. The back bedroom will have only wardrobes, bed and books and will be the quiet room. The front room will have computers, stereos etc and will be the fun room.

(8) I have things to discuss also. Email would be a plan. Mainly it's a transport thing.

(9) You're the only one who knows what the crack-addled Whitby project is *g*

Also, don't forget who took you to Pleasureland. :P
lilydale
Nov. 4th, 2004 04:29 pm (UTC)
(8) Weekend email is on the horizon, I imagine.

(9) Knowing what it is, I must disagree that it is crack-addled. *g*

I can't believe you brought up taking me to Pleasureland! Of course I don't forget. :P
cofax7
Nov. 2nd, 2004 05:31 pm (UTC)
::hugs K::

Love the story about 1997. I might, as qowf says, dance in the streets. We'll see.

That's excellent news about your folks. What a relief. And a car! yay! Even if parking it is a pain, at least you have more options, and you don't have to cab home at 3 am.
(Deleted comment)
raincitygirl
Nov. 2nd, 2004 07:40 pm (UTC)
Ooh, free car!

Your 1997 story made me all misty.
lore
Nov. 2nd, 2004 10:17 pm (UTC)
Congratulations on your parent's retirement and the new car! It's nice to read good news today....

I am also doing a personal writing challenge this month. At least NaNoWriMo is inspiring, even to those of us who can't imagine writing 50k words.

And thank you for remembering me. :)

love, lore
(Deleted comment)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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