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Monday, 30 April 2012

The Men Who Stare At Ballot Papers

Devoted readers will recall that I previously used this blog to announce to the world that I had voted by post (for the Liberal Democrats) in the 2012 London Mayoral and Assembly Election. In an exciting development, I can now inform you all (several days on) that I have actually now posted my ballot papers, rather than leaving them sat, completed, in an envelope on a chair in the drawing room of my flat.

As a committed student of political science, I know enough about elections to know that postal ballots do actually have to be posted back if they are to be counted towards the result of an election. I think that merely thinking positive thoughts about a candidate should count as having voted for the candidate concerned - it gives a whole new meaning to the expression 'secret ballot' (http://m.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2007/apr/26/comment.comment?cat=commentisfree&type=article).

Anyway, I yesterday posted the requisite envelope into a pillar box on the East Barnet Road; given that the Postmaster General is currently a Coalition Liberal Democrat (meaning that the Royal Mail is, now more than ever, running like clockwork), I am confident that it will reach Barnet Council by 10pm on Thursday (and if not, then I shall expect PM and DPM to summon the Postmaster General for an interview without coffee).

One Labour personage of my acquaintance told me, by the way, that s/he is not voting for Ken Livingstone in this election; s/he wondered if Mr Livingstone would even escape coming third, as s/he cannot imagine Labour people being able to bear the thought of voting for him. Nobody would be more pleased than would I if Ken Livingstone came third, assuming that Brian Paddick thus came second. The system used for mayoral elections (with first and second preferences) means that, if Brian came second on first preferences, then (when the second preferences were counted), Brian would probably be elected...Obviously, I have myself cast a vote for my second preference for London Mayor (having given my first preference to Brian Paddick). In Lib Dem circles, it is not cricket to reveal to whom one has or has not given one's second preference. I therefore have absolutely nothing to say to anyone who might suggest that I voted first for Brian Paddick, second for Boris Johnson. Absolutely nothing at all.

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