Lisa's week: Why Thursday?
A lot of students have been asking all about the UK Referendum and I considered talking about it here but to be honest, 350 words on this complicated topic just isn’t enough. Apart from the political aspect to it that I don’t really think is appropriate here.
But there was often a follow up, non-political question about why the UK holds their elections – both general and local – on a Thursday. Apparently, only the UK and the Netherlands vote on a Thursday with Ireland and the Czech Republic going to the polls on a Friday while everyone else heads out on Saturdays or Sundays.
My research has failed to bring up one definitive answer, which seems to be a common theme when looking for historical information from the UK but let’s see what I found out.
There is talk that, traditionally, Friday was payday when voters would go to the local pub after work to indulge themselves using the money they’d just received. This meant that there was a chance of the voters being under the influence of alcohol or indeed, the views of the republican when leaving the pub to vote. Then there were Sundays, which have always been church days and voters might also have been influenced by the sermon about which way to vote. Therefore, Thursday was chosen as the day furthest away from both Friday and Sunday.
Another theory is that Thursdays were typically market days when people would be out and about anyway, going into town to market so it would be easier for them to go and vote.
There is also talk about the fact that the result of the election is almost always known on the Friday morning, giving the new Prime Minister the chance to settle the first affairs of state on that first day, such as visiting the Queen to request permission to set up the new government or holding press conferences, and then they have the weekend to put their cabinet and ministers together and be ready to get down to business on the following Monday.
Regardless, Thursday elections have been held in the UK since 1918 with only four exceptions. There is always much talk in the press whenever anyone comes up with the idea of changing the day for elections as this just seems to be tradition and as you know, the Brits love their traditions.
The polling stations open at 7am and close at 10pm giving everyone the chance to find the time to vote and results start coming through during the night. Usually, by Friday morning the final result is clear. I’m very interested and, to be honest, nervous about the result of the Referendum but just like you, I’ll just have to wait and see.
What is Lisa's week?
"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"
Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday
Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?
Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?
Episode 4: The sound of London
Episode 5: Not just a last resort
Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise
Episode 7: Title talk
Episode 8: The Union Jack