Euro Polling Day: the view at 0540hrs

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"Do you vote for Ernie Bevin in every election?"

OK – so it’s stupid-o-clock in the morning, I’ve already been up for a fair while, and I’m possibly the only person in any member state to be getting nervy about the European elections.

It’s very obvious that this election is going to be odd – there will barely be a thought of Europe in either the parties’ bids for votes, or the voters’ consideration of how they cast them.

Be it expenses, or leadership, or Gurkhas, or Smears (yes, I’d forgotten that as well, but it was only 6 weeks ago), it’s not looking good for the Party of the Workers. As I’ve said before, if we come third, it will be the first time since the advent of universal suffrage that Labour hasn’t either won or been runner-up in vote-share terms.

But I’ve always believed that the Labour Party has a great institutional strength, which will see it through the worst. I’m spending polling day in my patch of outer-inner London – we’ve got every single ward in a marginal Labour seat covered by a full GOTV operation.

We’ve got committee rooms, we’ve got leaflets, we’ve got number-takers, and we’ve got knockers. People almost literally come out of the woodwork as the election gets closer. We’re even using a new-fangled computerized version of the old, paper-based Reading Pad system invented by Ian Mikardo in the 1940s.

Whatever happens – and it looks like anything could happen in the next few days – the best thing for us to do is to keep calm, carry on, and do what we always do.

Also – my special tip for polling day – take a spare pair of socks. It makes a difference, believe me.

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