Vote for the Graphite Party

by Scribble Monboddo

Here in the UK we're about to engage in another of those occasional rituals in which we try to change the world, one piece of paper at a time. Well, it gets us all talking about pencils, at least.

A few years ago there were some entertaining conspiracy myths put about by fruitcakes, or conceivably by ballpoint salesmen, to the effect that pencil marks were subject to deletion. It's all twaddle, of course; HB pencil lead is remarkably persistent. But the other reason that we continue to use pencils is that the system is pretty much bulletproof. There's no risk of running out of ink, hackers can't interfere with the count and it's easy for voters to see and feel how the process works. We'll probably keep it for a good while yet.

Now, if you find those stubby little pencils irresistible they are actually available for home use, although at a minimum of a hundred sticks per order you'd better be keen. Or, alternatively, you could treat yourself to something similarly affordable, but at a standard length. Like, just for example, the pencil with which your humble correspondent learned to write in the first place. A credible candidate - and that's no lie.