Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

A huge swing in Screenwriter South and Clarke Valley.

This world comprises two sets of people: those who stay up all night during elections and those who are not welcome round my house this week. British general elections offer particular pleasures you won’t get from their American or Irish …

Wed, May 5, 2010, 20:56

   
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This world comprises two sets of people: those who stay up all night during elections and those who are not welcome round my house this week. British general elections offer particular pleasures you won’t get from their American or Irish counterparts. Whereas our own PR system leads to — enjoyable in their own way — protracted elections counts, the UK’s scandalously undemocratic first-past-the-post mechanism allows MPs to be unveiled relatively rapidly. Whereas American general elections (or the counts at least) allow the candidates to stay a safe distance from the criminally insane, the British equivalent (and ours, for that matter) asks even the most powerful politician to turn up at the recreation centre and share oxygen with any eccentric mad enough to fork out a deposit.

I remember, during the 1987 election, watching aghast in North London as my local MP stood uncomfortably beside a good half-dozen certifiable lunatics. My favourite was a gentleman who, because he had a huge bucket on his head, named himself Lord Buckethead. Why were there so many nutters in that particular constituency? Well, the MP was someone called Margaret Hilda Thatcher. Expect a similar gang of muddle-heads at Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath early on Friday morning.

So, I’ll be there with my charts and my whiskey and my big bag of crisps. Will Sunderland South once again manage to be the first constituency to declare? Will Jeremy Vine make a fool of himself? What colour will Andrew Neil’s “hair” be? I can’t wait. My mad prediction is that The Tories will secure an overall majority of less than 20 seats.

Anyway, as this is a film “blog”, thoughts turn to great movies about British elections. We search in vain. Never mind. There’s always the durable, powerful — sadly not very prescient — Channel 4 series A Very British Coup.

Here’s a trivia question for you. Why, when reading this post, might you have already (quite specifically) pondered the author of the source novel?

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