Polling Stations!

It was nearly a century ago, in 1923, the last time a General Election was held in December

My Canadian brother and I enjoy reminding our brother, who lives in Philadelphia, about the quick and efficient 6 week general election campaigns held in Canada (the most recent one 11th September to 21st October, 2019, since you ask) and here, as compared to the American 18 month marathon which, though already well underway over there, will not be resolved until early November 2020. Even so, it’s often felt, over the past months, that today would never arrive! And, of course, it’s worth mentioning again that this is the fourth polling event this year, something of a record in and of itself.

Paul Mingard writes in with a cheerful anecdote from Allendale’s own history, to wit:

“Larry did you know that 125 years ago on 17th December 1894 Allendale elected what were probably the first females to take office in the UK. In the first ever elections to Parish Councils, Allendale had two successful women win through. There may have been other parish councils electing women that day, if so they share this unique achievement with ourselves.  So, we were 25 years ahead of Parliament.

The two women were Mrs Allison and Miss Henderson. You might already know more about them. Isn’t there a Henderson on the Village Hall stone inscription?”  

I imagine that from the first bongs at 10pm this evening on the BBC, the election will be called from the exit polls. Then again, I’ve read that a mere 41,000 voters in some 50 marginal seats may hold the key to the election results. If that’s so, and the race is too tight to call in these seats, perhaps the commentators will keep their predictive powder dry until the results are actually read out by the Returning Officers in each seat. But I’d bet that we’ll have a pretty good idea of the state of central government by the late news, just as the polling stations close.

How the result will affect Allendale, and the East and West Allen valleys, will be a source of some bemusement over the next months, of course. With only a couple and a half more weeks to go of this year, there probably won’t be much immediate change here no matter what transpires. But we shall see — it’s hard enough to figure out the wood for the trees of the present, let alone predict the shape of this rural idyll a year or so down the road!

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