I almost forgot to vote yesterday. It’s my fault. I’m a traditionalist and like to register a vote in person at a polling station proper, even if it means braving the (current – at time of going to press) council leader and wife en route and trying to avoid meeting their questioning gaze.
It’s a change, they say, for them to turn the tables on me, and ask me questions. It’s also a change, they add, not to bump into me at Tesco, haunting the vintage wine aisles while they, they claim, look for bin end bargains.
But I missed out on that because I went late, when I finally remembered to vote at all, and after a week of hectoring and lecturing others to do their bit, from first-time voters on the Government and Politics course at Blackpool and The Fylde College, to the bovine near-braindead chav I met while quizzing locals about cut backs to council services and how they felt about it. “Don’t do politics,” she told me. “Boring.”
The fact we were stood outside a family support centre to which she could no longer take her regularly recurring toddlers because it had been closed seemed to be lost on her. I’m not sure she’d appreciate irony unless it came in the form of Irn Bru and accompanied a stiff drink. I sure as heck felt like a stiff drink after a day of quizzing a whole lot of other people with similar lack of views ... but was dissuaded by the thought of bumping into councillors into the wine aisles.
I don’t, in all fairness, think my vote is going to reshape the political map of Blackpool and mean we get more facilities for residents as opposed to bright shiny things for tourists, while locals still pay admission to at least one of the attractions we now support through loans via council tax.
But I’d hate not to try to change the world, or my part of it. I’d hate to think I would stand by and see a field, where I once played as a child, the ponds where I once collected tadpoles now long gone (although generations of frogs descended from the taddies still use my neighbour’s pond), bulldozed into oblivion by whatever developer is attracted by the latest cut price rates.
I’d hate to think the only sign of investment I see locally is a pair of Christmas trees every year furnished from the ward budget. Although at least we haven’t lost our library. It’s currently running from a church – there but for the grace of God knows what could go Boundary Park Library? – until it reopens after refurbishment. Whoopee.
Whether it will stock new e-Books remains to be seen – there’s at least one angry librarian down south campaigning against some techno-nonsense which means new e-Books will self destruct after so many “reads” or borrowings, in order to represent a greater return to publishers. Sounds like Mission Impossible. My vote will self destruct in 10 seconds...