So much for teaching the children about democracy. I wheeled into our local polling station with three out of four of the boys in tow, two of whom were howling and the third of whom wanted the whole process explained to him before and then started to sulk when we revealed you can't actually vote until you are 18. He was itching to get his hands on the pencil and get down to spoiling a few ballot papers.
Though after hearing his reasoning vis a vis casting votes I think it is perhaps sensible not to allow preschoolers the vote. He was adamant that he wanted to vote for "The ones with the roses". To which I replied "Do you know who they are?". "No, but I think it looks pretty". I hope that by the time he comes of age he will have a more considered approach to casting his vote.
The eldest missed out on the voting jamboree as when offered the chance to come along sneered "No that's boooring". The apathy of youth. But he does at least have a better grip on politics than his little brother. Yesterday he asked who Gordon Brown is. "He's the Prime Minister, he's in charge of the government and they run the country", I reply. "What does he look like?", was the next question so up popped Google images and soon my screen was filled with his gurning mug. "Errrgh. He's ugly", screeched my son.
So I pull up a picture of arch rival David Cameron. "He looks nicer, but what about the other one?", says my boy. Clearly he has enough of a grip on the election to know there are three parties in the running. I am so proud. So I find some photos of Nick Clegg. "Oh he's lovely," coos my little boy. "I would vote for him". It just goes to show how far a pretty face can get you, at least with the primary school crowd.
As a helicopter trailing a banner promoting Channel 4's election coverage hovers above my house and the after work crowd begin to trail into the polling station across the road I, unlike my offspring, am feeling very excited. I would dearly love to stay up all night and watch the swing-o-meter tell of epic victory and defeat. But if there is one sure bet this evening, it is that I will be snoring into my pillow by 11pm whether red, blue or yellow is in the lead.