Hands in the sink as usual.
“Well son, I expect you’re excited about voting for the first time – your chance to tell the government what you think, to have a say in the running of the country?”
Teen2 was standing in the doorway looking at something on his phone, his thumb expertly tip-tapping the screen. He didn’t look up. I couldn’t be sure that he’d heard me.
“You’ve seen your polling card has been delivered – with your name and unique voting number?”
Whatever was on the screen was clearly a matter of some importance. The tip-tapping didn’t stop.
“And the candidates? You’ve noticed a few placards going up in people’s front gardens and in the windows of houses? And it won’t be long before they start canvassing door to door I expect. Less than a month to go!”
My voice rose at the end of the sentence in a slightly alarming manner – due to a particularly greasy pan that I was wrestling with in the sink, coupled with the madness induced by failing to connect to someone who was actually communicating energetically with someone else.
“In Ashford we have Mr Green who’s been our MP since..”
“1997 Dad. I know Dad.” He had looked up, taking me by surprise. “So what’s the point in voting? He has a majority of nearly 20,000?”
Signs of life after all. Teenagers have an alarming habit of sounding like they know it all. They can’t know it all can they? Not at their age. I mean can they??? I chose to stall. “Well.. You never can tell.”
“Oh I think you can Dad. Ashford has been a conservative constituency since 1929. The only other occasion when the election was anywhere near close was in 1906..”
The energy that had been directed through the thumb and the iPhone was now it seemed directed at me. Teen2 was tip-tapping at my brain. Stall. Stall. Stall. He cannot know all the answers. I gave the colander in the sink a bit of a loving flourish. “Well… You could perhaps give some encouragement to the other candidates, help one of them get back their deposit?
“What’s the point in that?”
My eyes gazed down into the dirty washing up water. Somewhere in there I thought I could see a smiling Damian Green and people with blue rosettes clapping and cheering. At the bottom of the bowl, as always, there was a single teaspoon. I grabbed it. “Well… It sends out a message that you agree with those particular policies so that your chosen party will realise they have support and that they will keep plugging away…”
“Keep plugging away? What’s the use of that?”
Teen2 returned to his screen and was again tip tapping away. In his world. All resistance was indeed quite probably futile.
Time to run the taps again…
- This is a work of fiction written to highlight the plight of those voting for the first time in constituencies where there isn’t really a contest. The character Teen2 is purely imaginary and any resemblance to people living or dead is merely accidental.