Had my first visit to Whitley Park schools since election day yesterday. It was great to see the progress they are making on becoming a single school, and the great ethos that the school has. I always think it’s hard to put your finger on what makes a school a positive place but what ever it is Whitley Park has it. Great credit must go to the head and the excellent governing body.
My previous memory of the school was sitting out side the polling station with my red rosette on, I love polling stations, I always have even before I got involved in politics (yes there was a time!). Part of it is the ‘polling station’ signs that look like they have been used since before universal suffrage, so I feel a link to the great campaigns of the past – I always think of Millicent Fawcett and Nelson Mandela when I go to vote.
Part of it is the general feeling of the power of civilisation and goodness. It is surely a cause of optimism that in so many parts of the world that we are willing to determine who rules us not by who has the most guns but by a social convention involving people putting marks on a piece of paper. There were short queues this year at Whitley Park polling station and despite many people having deep anxieties about the likely result of the election, there was a really cheerful atmosphere.
My favourite 2 incidents from that day was a young man who brought every member of his family (and some friends) to vote over the course of several hours, including his 80 year old grandmother who had never been to vote before, or so she told me. The other was a resident who I had met a number of times, but had never ‘canvassed’ coming to the polling station with his postal vote saying ‘I didn’t get round to sending this but I had to make sure that I supported you’. He then took his girlfriend who lives in another part of the ward to her polling station after they found she couldn’t vote at that one!