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The Ballad of Election Night

In memory of Britain’s anachronistic electoral system, which hopefully died on May 6, the evening of the 2010 General Election.

I.

He did not wear his azure tie,
For blue is calm but sad,
And fired up was his campaign
Having fought with all he had.
Thirty-six hours on the road,
Killed the battlebus clutch pad.

Then there was his rival,
looking unhappy and grey,
A great weight upon his shoulders,
From saving the world, or just the day.
His wife always at his side,
Was he proving he’s not gay?

And there was the other rival,
The king of TV debate.
Cleggstacy had wowed the nation,
Though discovered rather late.
Would it deliver a big breakthrough,
Or leave the LibDems still third rate?

The Sunderland kids had practiced
Passing the ballot box.
The Returning Officer kept both eyes
Glued to his stopclocks.
But the record survived unscathed.
Too many voters used their vox.

But many others were denied,
In the first tragedy of the night.
They waited in the queues,
But in the end lost their right.
Isn’t this the freedom we speak of,
When we send soldiers out to fight?

The night began with an exit,
Instead of an entrance.
Of the prospect of majority,
Polls said none had the chance.
Though when asked about partnering up,
The parties looked at each other askance.

As the results started to come in,
The swingometer got broken.
The swings could not explain,
How the populous had spoken.
Generalizations were swept aside
Analysis found superficial and token.

II.

As the results started to come in
Cameron watched them down the pub.
Whilst Brown took a little nap,
The Tories, his fellow Scots did snub.
Clegg went down to say sorry,
To those excluded from the voter’s club.

Harman and others started to mention
The prospect of legal action.
Apart from their lack of real power,
Electoral Commission promised reaction.
But talk of court fights all faded
As deal-making became the attraction.

Cleggmania just evaporated.
Tories claimed the voters decided.
Labour said “they’ve not picked a winner!”
“These polls say that we’ve tied it!”
The only thing they could agree about
Was the people were all divided.

In the courting of the LibDems,
They argued about who got the first dance.
Labour claimed home-field advantage and the
Constitution promises them first advance.
But Clegg reasoned Tory seats and votes
Needed the smaller enhance.

Smith finally paid for those porno films.
Ulster’s Robinson was disowned.
The Welsh tired of Opik’s cheek.
Clarke reaped what he had sown.
Rantzen barely registered.
But Balls held on to his own.

At the winning of Brown’s seat,
He gave a valedictory.
When Cameron made his speech,
To the Libs he was unconciliatory.
Clegg said how many more votes
Only gave a pyrrhic victory.

Griffin’s fascists made no in-roads.
Plaid and Scots Nats were unspectacular.
UKIP’s performance was stubbornly earthbound,
After Farage fell out the sky the morn before.
But parachuting Lucas into Brighton
Gave the Greens their very first MP score.

III.

Day broke and people saw in new light.
Labour decided they loved PR,
And the progressive left enjoyed
Their best election ever.
Most of all, their own result
Had beat expectations by far.

The Lib Dems were in a gloomy mood.
No political dawn and no breakthrough.
There were big wins and big losses too,
Yet gold looked pale compared to blue.
In the final reckoning they realized
Deal-making might still deliver something new.

The Tories were being tight-lipped
But clearly were thinking very hard.
Not enough seats for a majority?
Even so, No.10 need not be barred.
Found enough in common with the LibDems
To hold them in surprising regard.

Brown looked a rejuvenated man,
Thanked Mandelson for all that he’d done.
Then Mandelson hinted to the press
What he’d meant by ‘stable government’ all along.
It just meant Labour somehow in power,
Even if that requires Brown be gone.

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
And now New Labour is dead.
Some wield the knife themselves,
Some just say the word.
Mandelson did it to benefit Labour,
At the price of making it absurd.

And perhaps short of a dance partner,
Brown should grasp when to bow out.
Even the greatest fighter should know
When it’s time for his last bout.
The dance music keeps playing on,
And everyone turns about.

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