The (first?) 2010 general election was a serious matter, but it was also great fun. For the first time since 1997 I've found myself excited about voting. While I was registered in South Derbyshire (Conservative gain from Labour), I've been closely following the Brighton Pavilion race and hoping to see the election of the first Green MP.
I started last night at a birthday party in Leicester. Things were winding down at three thirty so I headed across a quiet city to the bus station. I phoned Glue Gun 91's party head-quarters for news (they had a 6am license at the Victory). No updates on the Brighton counts, but it sounded like a successful event.
The bus journey was slow and dull. The book I had was irritating me so I snoozed, occasionally vibrated awake by texts from Mr. Pashley with the latest results.
Just after dawn I reached East Midlands Airport. I found the pre-paid taxi booth where I was amazed to be quoted £13 for the 4 mile journey (£4 for the first mile, and £1.80 a mile after that, apparently). I've definitely changed since my recent holiday. I found a taxi and haggled over the price. It was still expensive, but I had enough of a reduction to salve my ego. All those early morning negotiations with auto-rickshaw drivers have come in useful!
Back in my rural hideout I followed the election with digital radio and my dodgy GPRS connection. I applauded the empty room when I heard Caroline Lucas give her acceptance speech. It's been a long and often contentious campaign, but I think the results will be remembered long after the petty smears are forgotten. (What do you expect from a candidate who can't even throw a birthday party for a horse?) Too excited to go to bed, I hiked to the next village to watch events on my parents' TV. I stayed up until the BBC called a Hung Parliament then crawled off to sleep in their spare room.
The next few days look like being confusing, fascinating and exciting. I'm looking forward to seeing what changes a Green MP makes. And I'm actually looking forward to another election. I think I want to be more involved in this one.