General Election fans must share some DNA with cricket and horse-facing fans. The same need to try to estimate the future from the past either for a wager or the sheer joy of it. The same interest in the stranger happenings of the past and a refusal to view the past as a poor version of the present. Peter Joyce's book follows the same format for each of over 40 general elections; notes on policies, parties, campaign and result. We start in 1832 with voting that lasted several days with two aristocrats leading their parties and an electorate of about 500,000 but by 2001 we are in tens of millions of voters and two sons of the people (well almost). Along the way we encounter all manner of wonders: the Irish voting blocks, the collapse of the Liberals, the odder parties (Scottish Prohibition Party anyone?) and those interesting individuals who gave us a very varied political life.
Peter Joyce bids fair to be the Wisden of general elections.