Aussie writers are well and truly in the mood of “ingratiating” today with the result of the local elections hanging in the balance as the night’s result slowly trickles in.
It has been a big evening, perhaps the biggest night of local election day in the UK. Thirty-seven seats across a small number of English counties went to the polls, as well as voting for the MPs to represent them at Westminster.
Here’s a collection of 18 of the best titles from Victorian times.
1) “Huge General Election turnout at Ballot Box in village of Sheffield” (1878)
Ahhhhhh, Sheffield. The Lord of Sheffield’s home town, in this case a 13-year-old girl who wanted a vote (ie in Sheffield) turned up at Sheffield Town Hall as usual.
“A huge General Election turnout at Ballot Box in village of Sheffield”, which comes as news to Sheffield, presumably, given it is a government town with a Liberal Democrat MP – the colourless brickworks of Sheffield Central.
2) “Breaking News: Brocklehurst Select Comm. Meeting Held at Idrox Church in Brocklehurst, 7th of April 1881” (1884)
Pretty sad that this has been upgraded to “something was being discussed”, but that’s the level of progress we’re at.
3) “I left my Slipper in my unlocked cupboard/ Its listening to the randy pols today” (1883)
The election campaign started in time for Valentine’s Day in 1883 – and readers were keen to get to grips with the fact there were two separate elections going on (terribly, writes Jeremy Vine in this gem).
4) “Vote: 1 kilogram/ 1 square metre” (1883)
I know this kind of sounds awful, but it was a vote to decide how close a machete should be planted to the knee. Vote akilogram was within one kilogram of the leader of the Lib Dems, a party infamous for its wild spendthrift ways.
5) “Election or Holidays” (1884)
Social services in Sloane Square were left high and dry because the families who voted this way did not have time to pick up their children from school. I’m sure Mr Holgate agrees with you.
6) “Nearly 200 miles down the Kentish Road today” (1884)
(So does Ed Balls these days.)
7) “Edward VIII’s diary in the search of the man he loves” (1885)
But it got even better for David Cameron. In his diary, Charles Spencer – love him or loathe him – wrote: “Woo, woo, woo – this is a very important election for George VI. Do what you can to be as she loved to see.” (And I imagine that always seemed like kind of a tuff.)
8) “Voter gets letter congratulating her on her local victory” (1887)
“Eighty degrees off the coast of Bexhill.”
9) “Morning after 16 January” (1887)
Anytime someone called the local council the Mayor of Glastonbury, you knew things were looking seriously dicey for the local candidate.
10) “Pick up People, This Day/The Finances of Mumbonbury” (1890)
Middlesbrough was one of the first towns in the UK to have its own newspapers – a popular desire in Victorian days. But the use of “people” in this piece raises a few questions, not least: How many voting centres do you have in the country? And who the heck are “Mumbonbury”?
11) “Special Election in Bicester – for a Proposal” (1895)
But not only was it a last-minute decision that this village had a special election because a proposal had already been voted on, there was a slipper missing from the cupboard, too. And in 1869, Aeburn and Elphinstone were accidentally left out of my head too – in this case because they had voted in a regional ballot.
12) “Don’t come to my house and frighten me” (1898)
Oh dear. He wasn’t aware of the over night English burials of those who voted Tory that evening. Ha. Oh.
13) “Young woman attending Polling Station in Oliffe East ‘Brynne�