"So it is a fifteen-times-in-a lifetime event – and there are not many of those! Perhaps in these anti-political or post-political times, we still think that somehow it matters..."“Were you up for Portillo?” became a sort of catchphrase in the aftermath of the 1997 Election. Those who could say ‘yes’ were deemed to be those who really cared. Hah! The Enfield result was declared at 2.41 a.m. Barely past bedtime.
My son was up for Portillo – and he was five at the time! “Were you up for Freeman?” (Kettering; Friday, 1.37 p.m.) is a much more real benchmark. Only at this point could the committed really consider turning in (expect for those in Northern Ireland, whose vigil still had some way to run).
Why do it? Personally, I was convinced that if I went to bed at any time on 1st/2nd May, 1997, I would wake to find that I had dreamt up the whole thing. Perhaps elections still have a rarity value? I calculate that the average British adult may get to vote in about fifteen General Elections.
So it is a fifteen-times-in-a lifetime event – and there are not many of those! Perhaps in these anti-political or post-political times, we still think that somehow it matters.
We may be deeply disillusioned about what we get but we may still reckon that it’s important, even if we are not quite sure how and why. Perhaps, we just like the human drama or the catharsis that comes when the mighty are fallen. “Were you up for Cameron?”
That’s one that would really make you pinch yourself!
Professor Christopher Pierson