The leftward and other blatherings of Span (now with Snaps!)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

where was i?

Election Day Delay Post. Originally finished at 1.19pm.

The election days I recall properly:

1993 - too young to vote, but very very interested. Had a crush on a boy who was going to vote National for reasons which escape me. He was also a punk (complete with mohawk), a vegetarian, and verging on violently opposed to vivisection. But he did have nice eyes.

1996 - my first year of full-on political activism. Fresh from a 9 day occupation of the UOA Registry, I proudly cast my first election votes leftward at my old Primary School, then went to a party with fellow student activists in Grey Lynn. I remember that we had at some point in the campaign stolen several boxes of Act propaganda (copies of Prebble's first book, left behind after an Act stall in the quad). We burnt these out the back with great gusto. It was very exciting for me, to have worked so hard on the student campaign and then watch the results with my comrades. Of course we didn't know on the night that Winston would go with National, and we were all thrilled, except for one Deborah Manning (Pollard as she was then) whose enjoyment was dented by the fact that close family friend Chris Carter lots his seat and thus her mum lost her job as his electorate secretary.

1999 - by now I felt like an old hand, with four years of campaigning under my belt. Besides the student campaign I'd also helped out the Epsom Alliance candidate, Mark O'Brien, who I knew from AUSA. On the night a small group of AUSAers flitted between the Alliance do at Tradeshall and a friend's 21st out in Glen Innes - she was mightily pissed when Shipley announced the election date, as most of her milestone birthdays had been marred by coinciding with election night. Although she was a leftie much of her family wasn't. There were screens at the 21st with the results, off to the side, but no sound. Incredibly frustrating.

2002 - my first time as a candidate, and of course a crucial election for the Alliance. I was quite ill at the time and had exacerbated this by having a car crash the day before the election date was announced. This meant I was stuck in Howick for most of the campaign, a long way from my friends and family, feeling crap and in pain from the accident. I tried to do what I could in Waitakere and on the Alliance's party vote campaign, mostly electronically. On election night I feared I wouldn't be able to stand the emotional rollercoaster of the Alliance event out in Waitakere, so I spent it with my family on the North Shore. This turned out to be a mistake - as the night went on I discovered that EVERY SINGLE MEMBER of my immediate family had cast at least one of their votes for United. I valiantly managed not to say "I told you so" in the following weeks as they found out what they had voted for.

2005 - Well today I'm pottering around the house, cleaning up the inevitable mess from having both members of the household up to their ears in election stuff. There is literally a mountain of laundry, and papers scattered all over the four rooms we use the most. I've been unwell again throughout this campaign, so tonight I am staying in and having a few friends around to watch the results. I'll distract myself for the rest of the day with tidying and cooking nibbles for them all to consume, and if I get time I'll try to work out how to hook the laptop up to Jetstream in the lounge so we don't have to go back and forth to the spare room for the PC. I'm off to vote as soon as I've finished this, but to be honest this is the most surreal election day I've ever experienced. I feel like either the last nine months hasn't happened, or they happened years ago. I'm looking forward to having proper spare time again, and an end to the rows in the staffroom at work, not to mention quality time with The Man In The Comfy Chair. But I feel oddly removed from the whole event, like it is happening to someone else's country. Perhaps it's best I feel that way for a while yet.

PS: And just as I was finishing this post off, going back and bolding bits, the phone rang. It was Graham from Phil Goff's office just reminding me to vote. I think I may have falsely given him the impression I would be voting for his boss - he said seeing my occupation on the list he was sure I would be voting the right way and I replied with a cheery yes. Oops.

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