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Election fever: public health advice


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Friday, 17 April 2015

Election fever: public health advice

Election fever is a virulent but ultimately harmless condition currently afflicting the nation. Here is a Q&A to help members of the public recognise the symptoms and take steps to protect themselves at the height of the polling season, the period known as the general infection.

How serious is it?

Experts are divided about this. Former members of parliament claim that after the infection sufferers will never be the same again, but the vast majority of people make a full recovery and report that nothing at all has changed.

Can it be good for me?

Remarkably, some people still cling to the belief that the general infection has beneficial effects, including lower taxes, better public services, more jobs, a fairer society, a smaller public sector, more cash in people’s pockets and a brighter future. The evidence for these claims is weak.

What are the symptoms?

Common symptoms include a tendency to talk nonsense, inability to distinguish opinion and prejudice from fact, and refusal to see more than one side of an argument. Some sufferers become delusional and believe everything they say, while others become so credulous that they believe anything they hear. Other symptoms are boredom, apathy and bouts of irritability.

Does it affect everyone in the same way?

No. Some people get it more badly than others. They include journalists, the professional classes, trade unionists, self-styled political activists, college lecturers and anyone who spends too long on Twitter.

How can I tell if I’ve got it?

Watch out for any of the following tell-tale signs:

  • You suddenly think people you profoundly disagree with or dislike “talk a lot of sense”
  • You believe that everything would be fine if there were no health tourists, millionaires, migrant workers or corporate tax evaders
  • You think there should be a national debate about everything
  • You find yourself worrying about whether or not proposals have been fully costed
  • You think the Greens and Plaid Cymru have a realistic chance of forming a majority.

How can I avoid getting it?

The only way to avoid infection completely is to move to a country that has escaped the spread of democracy. There are several to choose from including Syria, Iraq, Russia and several African states, where it has been almost completely eradicated. These are listed in our handy guide to “low-risk emigration destinations”, which is brought to you with the generous support of UKIP.

Alternatively, pull the duvet over your head and set your alarm for 8 May.

Public health editor: NHS Networks

Vote for him on Twitter @NHSnetworks

Anonymous says:
Apr 17, 2015 09:28 AM
Fantastic - this has put a broad grin on my face!
John Smith
John Smith says:
Apr 17, 2015 10:28 AM
Brightens up my day. Thank you
Anonymous says:
Apr 17, 2015 10:55 AM
Just about sums it up, yes.
Anonymous says:
Apr 17, 2015 12:17 PM
Shouldn't that be Plaid Cymru? Though Clwyd (Theatr) Cymru probably has a similar chance of forming a majority government...

I realise spotting that is a sure sign that I'm afflicted.
Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Apr 17, 2015 01:21 PM
Whoops! Good spot and thanks for the correction. Sorry Wales.
georgewebb70 says:
Apr 17, 2015 02:50 PM
Julian this is wonderful. Put yourself forward as "Plea for Sanity" candidate and it would be a landslide victory
Julian Patterson
Julian Patterson says:
Apr 17, 2015 05:09 PM
Ah, thanks, George. A prime example of being careful what you wish for, though.
Guylaine Bianani
Guylaine Bianani says:
Apr 22, 2015 02:27 PM
Think carefully about the next candidate in number 10 Downing Street