I haven’t graced the Mearns Leader office for over two weeks, at the time of writing this opinion piece, having enjoyed some time off.
The plan was to take the last week of April off, the first week of May and then slide back into work with enthusiasm having recharged my depleted batteries.
I promised myself I wouldn’t look at one General Election themed newspaper, article or opinion piece that was trying to explain why A was bad and that you should vote for B. I broke my promise faster than Jim Murhpy would sign a sponsorship deal with Irn Bru. It took one tweet, to pull me into an article about an up and coming Leaders debate - I forget which one because, like the days of annual leave, the debates all rolled into one. I was hooked.
I tried to process every snippet of information I got, to figure out what it meant for me and the wider impact it may have on communities further afield.
In-between a trip to Loch Lomond and a good friend’s stag party in Manchester, I was glued to the telly and social media. I found myself watching a debate in three separate ways. Recorded, live and via social media. All three have their merits and pitfalls. I enjoyed the recorded aspect as I got to skip a politician or two that lost my attention. Watching a debate via social media definitely has it’s highlights. Real people, real reactions and the odd meme or two that gave a chuckle. The shortfall of course is that following all walks of life on Twitter, the spin machine is on a prewash before going for a full cycle when the debate’s finished.
None of the debates mattered once polling day arrived. I voted and then proceeded to enjoy my annual leave once again before heading to the AECC for the count with two colleagues to find out who were the new MP’s for Banff and Buchan, Gordon and West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine. From national journalists that I spoke to, no one foresaw what was to unfold over the small hours Friday morning. The exit poll was met with caution as politicians began spouting, not quite ‘I’ll eat my hat talk’ but more ‘wildly optimistic’. Talk centred around the idea of potential stories coming forward in coming days about possible deals that maybe struck to allow either Labour or the Conservatives to form Her Majesty’s next government. Talk of a majority wasn’t spoken of among the assembled media. With the expectation for a hung parliament, no one saw a majority forming, under the one system that was designed to produce majority governments...Let me know what you though of #GE2015 predictable or unpredictable? firstname.lastname@example.org