It was utterly delightful to enjoy a British General Election without having to cover it - and it was smashing to watch the results come in - in daylight, for a change!
The occasional “For God’s Sake” from David Dimbleby’s open mic in the BBC’s coverage was fun at this distance. But I felt for former colleagues dealing with that. I had a hard job myself getting him out of the presenter’s chair, at the 2004 Bush/Kerry Presidential results show in Washington.
His curmudgeonly wit gets a bit wearing after a while - especially by 5am.
And, visiting Hanoi, where there is no choice of party to select, I felt a touch of pride about the voting process, which I haven’t felt for a long time.
There was always a touch of village fete amidst the testosterone in the many counts I’ve covered…
…and seeing a line up of the occasional swine outnumbered by mostly well-meaning maths teachers and lunatics on the stage, as the returning officer speaks, restores the faith a little.
I’ve become sceptical about the value of marking one cross, on one ballot paper, once every five years…
However watching these relatively ordinary people, standing in a far from glamorous setting, waiting to see their fate, decided by other ordinary people, votes counted by volunteers stoked up on tea and biscuits - and watching it from abroad, alongside Vietnamese people, has been enheartening.
“You have a choice!” said our hotel receptionist, full of enthusiasm.
“We will make this happen here someday” she said - and her 20 year old colleague agreed.
“Yeah - we’re going to change the world!”