Weeks ago, in the early days of the election campaign, English politics seemed to share a predicament with this country’s cricket. Earnestly, passionately pursued and debated by some, it went unregarded by most. Its constituents were older and more comfortably off than the country at large. While it had some youthful devotees, that interest marked them out, because generally it failed to excite and engage the young.
This parallel between two complex, potentially rewarding pursuits, that struggled to convince people of their relevance, was the first I detected. As the campaign progressed, more emerged.
Opponents locked in battle for weeks, committing their all, yet producing an indeterminate outcome.
The prominence of voices – accents – that aren’t English English. New Zealand, South African, Welsh and Scottish.
Of course, there’s Scotland. One of the nations of the United Kingdom, making its case for autonomy and international recognition. Politics here, cricket there.
Finally, as what seemed irrelevant, gets some traction, conversations about staying up all night to catch the action, like we did to see Portillo, Pietersen; Blair and Vaughan – oh, haven’t they disappointed since.
Earlier this evening, these two parallel pursuits briefly converge. It’s happened before: John Major vacated No.10 Downing Street after his defeat in 1997 and went straight to the Oval to watch cricket. In my case, I went to cast my vote at my cricket club.