Modern Manners: How to survive the election

In election season, there are certain matters of etiquette that must be upheld
In election season, there are certain matters of etiquette that must be upheld Credit:  ADRIAN DENNIS

I was five when I showed an early and promising aptitude for politics. It was 1990 and Margaret Thatcher had resigned.

“She’s pregnant,” I went around telling the other five-year-olds at school. “That’s why she’s leaving. She’s having a baby.” Female teachers at my primary school generally left when they were pregnant so, it stood to reason, that’s why our Prime Minister was off too.

I understand if this means you want to take the following advice lightly. Or not at all. I won’t be offended. But I have cobbled together some general election etiquette tips because the next month or so is going to be tough and here’s hoping we’ve all got a few friends left at the end of it, eh? 

However you decide to vote, remember to maintain secrecy at all times Credit:  ANDY RAIN

First up, tell no one who you’re voting for. Absolutely no one. Not even your husband or your wife and certainly not your judgmental teenage children. If you tell nobody, nobody can be cross with you, see? This was easier in the old days, pre-2015, when it was still considered a bit vulgar to discuss voting. Like revealing your salary or your favourite sexual position. 

“Girls, there are two things you must keep private,” a housemistress at school was fond of telling us. “Going to the loo and who you vote for.”  But then, in the past couple of years, we developed this absolute craze for voting for things and everybody started screaming their heads off about politics all the time. Do not be pressurised into becoming one of these shouty people. Keep schtum.

No car stickers, either. I saw an enormous blue Jaguar roll down the King’s Road last week with a yellow Lib Dem sticker on it but, really, isn’t this sort of activism a bit 1968?

A dinner party is no place for politics, so keep quiet Credit:  Stockbroker / Alamy

If you go to a dinner party and someone insists on asking who’ll you’ll be voting for, but you panic because you’re not really into politics and not one hundred per cent sure what Liam Fox is anyway (is it a footballer?), here is a tip to sound knowledgeable.

Google “Who is my MP?” and tap your postcode into a little box on the Parliament website. It will give you the name of your MP – this stands for “Member of Parliament” – so when someone asks who you’re going to vote for, you can say authoritatively, “Well, our local MP is so-and-so and he did awfully well last time so I’m thinking about going for him again. Can you pass the buttered carrots?”

For the next month, do not fraternise with anyone who utters the words, “Have you seen the polls?” We’ve learnt about polls. Polls are nonsense. We don’t want to hear any more about them. Also, do not get “polls” confused with those nice men who came to fix your bathroom.

Camembert and other European products are strictly hors de question when hosting Brexit-leaning viscounts

If you have a duke or a viscount over for supper between now and June 8, remember that they are probably Ukip backers so don’t serve them anything foreign. No French wines. No French cheeses. No Italian breads. No German sausage. A bendy banana and a glass of Irn-Bru will do nicely.

On the great day itself, take your Labrador to the polling station and take a photo of it tied up outside, ideally next to the big sign that says “POLLING STATION”. Then upload the picture to the internet and everyone will be delirious and you’ll get loads of likes because that’s apparently the main point about voting these days – the photos of all the dogs looking bored and thirsty outside the village hall.

Taking a photo of your dog at the polling station is a fundamental part of modern democracy Credit:  Dinendra Haria / Alamy 

Finally, do not expect much to change on June 9. This is important.

Whatever happens, we will still be the country that remains more worried about who wins Victoria Sponge Week in The Great British Bake Off than who leads us. But what do I know? Not much. Come June 9, if Jeremy Corbyn has to stand down, I’ll probably tell everyone it’s because he’s pregnant.