We didn’t expect it and we didn’t encourage it, but from the day of the first televised political debate, the one with the seven party leaders, my daughter was hooked on the election.
My girl is only 9, yet she was genuinely interested. She watched TV, she listened to the radio, she asked questions. And she absorbed information like a sponge.
Every day, she grew to understand politics a little bit more. She found out for herself what the main parties stood for. She knew all the leaders. She learned about first past the post and proportional representation. She knew that only seats, not votes, counted for the final result. She knew that the winning party would need a majority for the leader to become prime minister – or they’d have to strike an agreement with another party to form a coalition.
She looked at the signs around town and understood we weren’t voting for David Cameron, Nick Clegg or Ed Milliband. Bit by bit, she formed her own opinions. She decided she would like to vote Lib-Dem, which was, until Friday morning, the way of the South-West.
She was far better informed, with far clearer opinions, than many people in their 20s and 30s. People who have the vote. Adults who blindly voted UKIP or wondered why David Cameron and ‘that nice Scottish lady’ weren’t on their ballot slip (this really happens!).
My daughter had her Royal Ballet audition on the day of the election. Did she talk about ballet on the way there? No. She talked about the election. Non-stop. She set the TV to record the overnight coverage. On two channels. She didn’t want to miss a thing.
If all goes to plan, her biggest brother will vote in the election. His decision at the moment is at odds with his family’s and is based on no research whatsoever. I hope he follow his little sister’s lead and put more thought into it before his time comes.
I’m so proud of my daughter for showing an interest in politics and the election, for researching it and and forming her own opinions. Who knew she could be a political animal at the age of just 9?