diamond geezer

 Friday, May 07, 2010

Vote2010: the morning after

00:00 The exit poll says it's a hung parliament. The exit poll says the Conservatives are 21 short of a majority, and that the Liberal Democrats have lost ground. Early swings in Sunderland suggest the exit poll may not be correct. But the sounds of political leaders smooching up to one another can already be heard.
00:35 Given the increased turnout, and the queues of disaffected electors locked outside polling stations at 10pm, I'm glad I voted early. There are going to be legal ructions about latecomers not getting the chance to vote, and it could get messy.
01:15 Three hours after the polls closed, the end result still isn't clear. All the clues are there, but they won't look obvious until later on this morning.
01:45 Every Conservative politician drops the phrase "Labour has lost the right to govern" into the conversation, whereas every Labour politician keeps mentioning the need to create "a strong and stable government" including "reform of the voting system".
02:30 Seats declared 110. Conservative gains 10. Cups of tea drunk 3. Clarity 0.
02:55 At the last election, at this time of the morning, half of the seats had been declared. This time it's only a quarter, due to increased turnout and more lazy people wanting postal votes.
03:40 Option 1 (if the numbers work out): Gordon invites Nick to form a coalition. Lots of people are very angry. Option 2 (if the numbers work out): David runs a minority government. Lots of people are very angry.
04:05 Half the seats declared. Trying to work out when's the best time to snatch some sleep. Bethnal Green and Bow not due to declare until after 9am! (due to suspiciously high voter turnout)
04:50 Dawn approaches. London's taking its time. And Nick Clegg's tidal wave has become a mere ripple.
05:30 At last a prediction of the final result. The Conservatives (306) look like being 20 short. Labour (262) plus the Lib Dems (55) would be 9 short. The other parties (27) could hold the balance. Or the Conservatives plus Lib Dems could have an uneasy majority. So the final result will come down to horse-trading and arithmetic.
05:55 Brighton goes Green! Richmond Park doesn't stay orange. Barking doesn't go racist.
06:45 Having stayed up for 24 hours to watch the result, there's still no result. All that's clear is that nothing's clear.
09:40 The result in Erith means it's really, definitely, mathematically a hung parliament. The count in Bethnal Green and Bow hasn't even started yet.
10:45 Nick flutters his eyelashes at Dave, and offers him first shot at marriage.
10:50 The supposed marginal in Poplar and Limehouse finally declares, and council estate red easily beats Docklands blue. My former MP George Galloway fails to get Respect, so we'll not be seeing him in Parliament this term (no change there).
12:35 And, an astonishing fourteen and a half hours after the polls closed, Bethnal Green and Bow becomes one of Labour's tiny handful of gains. There were three ballot papers because of council elections and a mayoral referendum, but we posted these into separate boxes which really shouldn't have slowed things down. I can only assume that the delay was down to very careful scrutiny of potentially dodgy postal votes. But the margin of Rushanara's victory is huge enough not to be in any dispute. Bye bye George.
13:45 Gordon Brown reminds the Lib Dems of his long-standing commitment to electoral reform, honest.
14:30 David Cameron offers an threadbare olive branch to the Lib Dems. He offers to support all the policies they jointly agree with, and to maybe think about the others perhaps. There is no obvious compromise.
15:00 The Lib Dems retire for a long think. Civil War, anyone?

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