Due to the recent plethora of public plebiscites – general elections, local elections, European elections and the EU referendum – Returning Officers across the country are predicting a shortage of pencils.
‘Normally, we’d expect some of these pencils to do service over the decades’, said Andy Mann, representing the British Association of Electoral Pencil Manufacturers. ‘But what with all the recent votes there’s been, all we’re left with now are a bunch of useless little stubs. And now these useless little stubs have gone and called yet another election!’
‘I mean, blimey, don’t they realise what’s involved? You can’t make short pencils just like that. You have to make a normal pencil to start with, and then rub it down to the right size. It’s a bit like ‘how do you create a small business?’ You take a large business and apply Tory party policies to it.’
‘We’ve got factories full of people, usually pensioners and WI members, who spend days shading in pictures, sharpening the pencils, shading in again, sharpening again, until they get to the right length and bluntness. And the pencils have got to be the correct level of hardness. A sort of “2B or not 2B”, as we say in the trade, ha-ha!’
‘Finally, there’s the useless bits of string to be tied on. That takes time too. Still, we’re giving it all we’ve got to be sure that voting stations everywhere provide the electorate with what they need to draw cocks and balls all across their papers this December. And talking of useless little stubs, that reminds me, I told the wife I’d get some tight elastic bands and pick up the tablets on the way home tonight. Wish me luck.’