This is what 86% looks like

At the French Consulate-General in London, the election is held in the classrooms of the Lycée Charles de Gaulle next door. There are plenty of lycées named after the general, but this one has a greater connection to him than most – the Free French air force had its headquarters in one of the buildings that now forms part of the school, and it was here in 1940 that suspected collaborators among the French community were dragged in by Andre “Passy” Dewavrin, de Gaulle’s intelligence chief.

Today, the French of London were queueing around the block, in the sense that each side of a double city block was taken up by queues, even though there were a total of three entrances. Such was the crowd that an ice-cream van was attracted to it, far from a bad idea given the number of children present. The people? Probably a population younger and more middle-class than the French averages, although hardly lacking in diversity.

Queuing on the Cromwell Road

Despite the length of the queues, the voting went swiftly, supervised by smart and harassed volunteers into queues allocated by initials. Inside the schoolyard, which somehow manages to have a vaguely French atmosphere despite being surrounded by 19th century jerrybuilt, 18th century stucco, and interwar London County Council styles, the queues passed the candidates’ posters, displayed in conformity to the law.

inside the schoolyard

Sadly, one was missing, that of Gérard Schivardi. No-one was able to explain this. But they were able to remember that no-one had ever seen such a degree of participation. It took 1hour and 45 minutes to reach the ballot box, but the queues had not diminished at all by 4 o’clock. An appeal had been made for additional volunteers to help with the count.

3 thoughts on “This is what 86% looks like

  1. I’m sure I read somewhere that there’s about a quarter of a million French people living in London. That would go some way towards explaining the turnout.

  2. About Schivardi’s poster missing : Schivardi’s poster has been refused by the Election Committee beacuse he was claiming to be the candidate of the mayors which was untrue and deceiving. He had to chagne it to “candidate of mayors” (“Candidat de maires” instead of “candidat des maires”, a S that changes a lot). Plus, of course, the fact that the employees of the company who printed the posters (Clearchannel France) were on strike to ask for a salary raise. How French.

    So it delayed the production of the poster who could not be sent on time for the foreign poll offices, it was already difficult to provide the French Poll Offices with theirs on time.

  3. Pingback: Test. — almost a diary — Tobias Schwarz’s thoughts, opinions, and ideas of the moment

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