At the Midlothian election night count

21,480 votes later

Making it to Blythe Hill with Christian and Erica!
Making it to Blythe Hill with Christian and Erica!

This is a blog post in three parts, starting with my final pre-election week in London (which already feels like a lifetime ago!) before I headed up to Midlothian. Monday kicked off with Andrew and some very sweet strawberry cider after work, over which we marvelled at the looming scale of the likely Conservative defeat.

The next evening I was thrilled to welcome Christian, Erica and their two kids to our local area and enjoy a meal outdoors at the Perry Hill pub. Christian is Catherine’s brother and we’d never actually met in person before, so in addition to all the stimulating conversation it was great fun to listen to someone with a very similar sibling version of Catherine’s voice. Also, despite this visit coming at the end of a long trip, Christian was still game to push a double buggy up Blythe Hill so that we could all enjoy the view before sunset.

Later that evening I popped over to see Angela’s new flat, and the following night I spent a wonderful couple of hours with Bill in the pub at King’s Cross before his train home. I felt a little bad because I had saved up about seven years’ worth of questions to put to Bill for our next 1-1 conversation, so it may have felt more like an interview than a relaxed after work chat, but it was lovely to see him and I learnt a lot on all sorts of topics – from the SDP to LLMs by way of Wittgenstein.

On Friday night it was my turn to catch a train from King’s Cross, as I headed to Scotland to help out with Labour’s campaign for Midlothian in the final week before the general election. This was a pretty intense period of all-day door knocking as we tried to speak to as many voters as possible about Kirsty, although one of the most rewarding things was the number of people who said “I’m voting for Kirsty!” before we’d even had a chance to speak! This is all thanks to the incredible campaign which Kirsty, Randi and an amazing volunteer team have been running for the past year or more, and it was gratifying to see it pay off.

Other highlights included Feargal Sharkey’s visit to the constituency to lend his support to the campaign (OK, not particularly exciting for me personally, but others were very enthused to see him!) and then a very long shift leading a team of canvassers on polling day. But the best part, of course, was having the privilege of attending the count itself. As someone who has always loved politics, especially the drama and traditions of a British election night, it was obviously exciting to be there in person, taking part in sampling and looking out for any stray votes in the wrong pile. It was also a reminder of how lucky we are to have a functioning democracy, which – in the end – comes down to anonymous ballot papers, treated equally seriously no matter who cast them or for which candidate.

Around 3.30am we had the official declaration – although the result was clear from early on – and I know everyone in our team was incredibly proud to watch Kirsty give her acceptance speech. This also meant we could finally relax and celebrate the national picture which we’d all seen from the moment the exit poll was released at 10pm!

At the Midlothian election night count
At the Midlothian election night count
The Labour team on the night
The Labour team on the night

Thankfully Randi and I could take it easy the next day and barely left the sofa, with Katie making an impromptu visit around lunchtime with some freshly made baps. Finally, on Saturday we headed back down south to King’s Lynn for the third part of this post: Cat and Brian’s wedding!

Randi repairs the crazy golf course after an aggressive swing
Randi repairs the crazy golf course after an aggressive swing

Happily, we had booked into the same hotel as Josh, Anna and Cora for Saturday night so got to enjoy a meal together (and prove to Cora that Randi is still a real person) before getting a full night’s sleep and then heading to Pentney Abbey for the wedding on Sunday. It’s a truly beautiful venue, with all the history which travelling Americans deserve if they’re going to be forced to visit the UK, and after a wonderful ceremony – first time I’ve seen a poem read at a wedding by its actual published author – we basked in the sun playing lawn games before dinner. (Well, strictly speaking, we watched as Randi and Christa challenged each other on the wedding-themed crazy golf.)

Pentney Abbey
Pentney Abbey
(Not our wedding, but we liked our name tags)
(Not our wedding, but we liked our name tags)
Cat and Brian's first dance
Cat and Brian’s first dance
The Highbury flat lives forever
The Highbury flat lives forever
Glamping
Glamping

After an evening of roasts and rainbows, plus plenty of dancing, we retired to our fancy tent on the campsite. The whole day was perfect, and I’m so grateful that Cat and Brian were able to include us and co-ordinate the scheduling of their wedding with Rishi Sunak to avoid an unpleasant election clash. Thank you guys!

Finally, on Sunday we shared the train journey back to London with Amy and Craig – and reminiscing about Groupon days gone by – before Randi finally got back home after six weeks in Scotland. In some ways, we’re both sad that the campaign is over as we both got to work with some truly inspiring people. But thanks to their hard work, there’s now a hell of a lot more for the country to look forward to. Onwards!

The wedding campsite under a Norfolk sky
The wedding campsite under a Norfolk sky

« |

One Comment on :
21,480 votes later

  1. Beth Dubowe-Lawrence says:

    Wow, what a month and what a year!!! Congrats Randi and Dom!!! Only great things ahead! Love the pics, glamping looked gorgeous, what a beautiful sky. Congrats Cat and Brian.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.