By now I am sure most of you are consumed with election fever. I certainly am.
But it's even more exciting to discover that today is this blog's 10th birthday.
It all began with the election in 2005. Then editor of the Westmorland Gazette, Mike Glover, asked if I would like to do a blog about the forthcoming general election. "I know nothing of politics and hate politicians," I said. "Perfect," he replied, "the deadline is Friday."
10 years on and here we are again. My warped idea of election coverage kicks off on the Gazette site next Monday. Meanwhile, here is the very first blog:
Date: 2005-04-08 16:37:16 +0100
Topic: Election looming
The announcement of the election earlier this week came as a complete shock. I was convinced Tony Blair was teasing, getting the other parties excited and then putting the election off for a year. My excuse for being caught off guard is that I was still mourning the loss of a major world figure - namely Christopher Eccleston abandoning the role of Dr Who.
Some cartoonists are intensely political animals. They rage against politicians and are determined that their spindly drawings will change the world. It never works. Politicians enjoy the attention and the more you attack them the more they want to buy the original artwork. This is why so many cartoonists take to drink in their later years . I'm afraid I'm more a political legume than animal. My usual idea of political activism is defacing the candidate's photos in their election literature. But this election is going to be different. I've been lured by the promise of fame and glory into keeping an election weblog. This is a considerable blow - I was planning to hide the radio and unplug the tv for the next month but now I'm going to have to pay attention.
I began last night and at first it sounded promising; I caught the newsreader saying "we acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness". At last, the Conservatives were making a clean start by atoning for the Thatcher years. But no, it turned out to be advance details of the royal wedding service.
Time for some insightful political analysis. Locally, it looks like being the battle of the Tims. So far, in my view, Tim Farron is winning. He's first off the printer's block with a glossy leaflet full of pictures showing him annoying a broad range of locals. Three days in and Tim Collins's cheery face has yet to thrust itself through my letterbox.
Turning to the Tim-o-Meter, Tim Farron is again in the lead: The last LibDem newsletter mentions his name 42 times, whereas Tim Collins's newsletter only managed to drop TC's name a paltry 34 times.
In the interest of balance, I have to tell you that there are two other parties campaigning locally but neither candidate is called Tim.