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I used to know Eric Joyce a bit. Not well, but a bit. He was funny and charming. An incorrigible flirt, mind.
We lost touch several years ago. But I felt sorry for him last year when he first got a bit “fighty”. I worried that his response was not that of someone who recognised he had a problem. The way he normalised his violent behaviour and the drinking that led to his loss of control was something that should have been taken up by friends and concerned colleagues. But having lost the whip, I wonder how many of those Eric still had.
I’ve just been to the bookies.
It’s not something I do very often. In fact it’s something I’ve only ever done once before, betting on the result of the AV referendum (as sure a thing as I can imagine). Usually, my gambling lends itself more to online poker than the shabby insides of a betting shop.
But this week, a little flutter on a slightly more outside bet seemed appropriate. I’ve just been paid and can spare the £20 (though £20 more would be pushing it). So I’ve had a punt on Labour winning the Eastleigh by election.
Now I know this is a long shot – that’s why I got such good odds (though these have been shortening). But sometimes politics – and betting – is about taking a punt.
In the French General Election last week, turnout was an estimated 82%. At our last General Election it was 65%. In the closest election we’d had for 18 years. And that was up a mighty 4 points on the 2005 election.
This is a problem. Decisions are made by those who show up, but increasingly decisions are made to favour those who turn up. The very crude and simple reason that young people have been hammered by cuts that have largely left the elderly alone is that young people are significantly less likely to vote.