All entries for Thursday 03 May 2007

May 03, 2007

Election Night Live Blog

I’m blogging live through the night, taking in the election results from England, Wales and Scotland. Sat in my Dr Evil style lair, I have access to the video feeds as they come in. Mwah ha ha!

05:17: It’s getting light in Cardiff now. And where is the light shining? Well, nowhere really. Labour haven’t done as badly as they could have done, but no-one’s really taken all the spoils either. In Scotland, there’s a sense that the SNP could be doing a bit better, but things might change when the regional votes come in. Ooh, it’s like Eurovision.

05:05: The BBC’s man in Glasgow has given the red card to the election. Holding two elections under different electoral systems has caused predictable chaos. Meanwhile, the BNP are causing a rumble in North Wales. They’re probably going to be narrowly short of getting a seat via PR. Screaming Sophie Howe (for that is how she usually speaks) lost in Cardiff North – the Tories making a big breakthrough.

05:00: The sun’s rising in London. Not in Cardiff yet.

04:56: Nearly there. A torrent of results has turned into a trickle. In Scotland a number of results have been delayed by various technical problems. In Wales just over half of the results are in (almost all of the constituency votes are counted) and it’s looking fairly good for Labour. The BBC are predicting 26 seats for them, 14 for Plaid Cymru.

04:26: I’m still here – not fallen asleep. Far from it – results have been flying in and I’ve been busy! Huw’s just gone for a mistimed toilet break it seems! All Lembit Opik can be positive about is Jenny Randerson, which has to be the safest Lib Dem seat ever – hardly a model for anywhere else.

03:22: Jenny Randerson’s been elected AM for Cardiff Students… er I mean Cardiff Central. A ray of sunshine in a not particularly spectacular evening for the Lib Dems.

03:11: Alex Salmond wins his Gordon seat from the Lib Dems. Big sense of relief on his face. But will he be the First Minister tomorrow? Possibly not. It’s worryingly close and his speech has acknowledged it -‘victory’ may not mean the same thing as it did a few hours ago.

02:51: Odd quote of the night: “We don’t share your bones” – David Dimbleby to Rhodri Morgan. Thankfully the Merthyr result’s been confirmed.

02:49: My sources reckon Labour have held Merthyr. Thank goodness for that – Blamerbell/Ciaran was promising to streak if Plaid won.

02:47: The old is beating the new. ITV’s pen-and-paper method is getting Welsh results on screen faster than the Beeb’s fancy computer system.

02:45: Would you believe it? Tony Blair’s going to go out on a high. The BBC predict their share of the vote in England has gone UP by 1% since the last local elections. The Tories are up 1%, Lib Dems and Others both down 1%.

02:38: Have the Scots been turned off by the thought of independence? Their poll ratings aren’t translating into seats. They’ll be placing a lot of hope on the regional lists.

02:01: ITV Wales viewers only saw the first Welsh result on the screens at the back of the newsroom. It was on BBC Wales, BBC Scotland and S4C.

01:56: Blimey, is it that late already? Things are slow in Scotland – confusing ballot papers seem to be slowing down the counts there. The SNP aren’t doing very well in the constituency votes, but are more than making up for it on the regional lists. In short – they’ve still got a chance of winning. In Wales, it’s too close to call, and we’ve had no news of results. Bor-ing…

01:35: Bit of a lull. Tiredness kicking in. Spoilt ballot papers in Scotland look like becoming a bit story to chew on tomorrow. John Reid’s heaped praise on Gordon Brown, but declined the chance to say he definitely wouldn’t stand against him. I reckon he’s bargaining for a juicy cabinet position. Like keeping his current one.

01:14: The first gain for the SNP tonight. They’ve taken Dundee West from Labour. An emotional acceptance speech from the new MSP, who had a swing of 16%.

01:11: Rhodri Morgan is telling downright fibs. He told Huw Edwards he was unprepared to speak about possible results because he’d only just arrived at City Hall in Cardiff. Nonsense. He’s been there for nearly half an hour. He was on ITV Wales from the same location at about 12.45!

01:00: Love it. Blamerbell (A.K.A. Ciaran) just accused Huw Edwards of exaggerating his Welsh accent. Ciaran, you’re supposed to be improving your job prospects tonight, not shafting them!!!

00:47: A very high level of spoiled ballots in Scotland – 3.7% in first constituency – suggest there’s problems with the new ballot system.

00:40: Nothing’s going right in Scotland. A boat carrying ballot boxes from Arran has broken down. A rescue mission’s been launched to fetch them. BBC Wales have also resorted to a musical interlude.

00:34: At last, a result that matters. Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell is re-elected. Big swing to the SNP though.

00:30: So little is happening, ITV Wales has gone for a musical interlude. Presenter Lucy Owen is wearing quite a revealing outfit. Must be the most enjoyable coverage on offer.

00:19: A beautiful moment – Sian Lloyd on one channel, Lembit Opik on another at the same time.

00:09: Still no results yet. Polling’s been delayed in Edinburgh West after someone smashed a polling station with a golf club. Someone’s feeling vengeful before the votes have even been counted.

23:58: Blamerbell is as smug as a bug after getting a plug from Huw Edwards. The first results are imminent.

23:51: How do you work out which election is most important? Simple. Who’s got the biggest studio. BBC Scotland’s is enormous. BBC Wales isn’t far behind. And BBC in England? Shoved in a corner of the Newsnight set.

23:44: Is it my imagination or is BBC Swingometer Man Jeremy Vine already losing his voice?

23:42: ITV Wales kick off. And Goldie Lookin Chain are on the sauce.

22:35: Jack McConnell’s seat may be the first to declare. The Scottish First Minister has one of the safest seats in the country.

23:32: I’ve been looking for a non-alcoholic drinking game to go along with tonight, and I’ve found one. How often will the word ‘wee’ be used in the BBC Scotland coverage? As in “a wee majority”.

23:27: Huw Edwards has taken his jacket off. A little premature as the first results aren’t expected for another 90 minutes. In Scotland, Douglas Alexander is still on. He’s admitted to being in “a state of ignorance”. Like most of his fellow Labour MPs?

23:20: Jamie Owen is doing his Loyd Grossman routine in the Senedd. Who lives in a house like this? Huw, it’s over to you.

23:16: Scottish Secretary, Douglas Alexander, just likened winning votes to ‘pushing product’. Either he’s been dealing drugs or taking after Sir Alan.

23:06: And we’re off in Scotland, with a bit of trance music from the BBC. At least it will keep us awake. Turnout up about 10%. First result in an hour.

23:01: First indications from Llandudno that Labour’s traditional support hasn’t been holding up. Last time it was the constituency that gave Rhodri his win. This time, things will be nailbitingly close.

22:41: BBC Wales kick off with their coverage. Shiny studios, shiny graphics, and a shiny Huw Edwards. Apparently it’s “very close” and we shouldn’t go to bed for at least six hours. Thanks, Huw.

22:30: The count in the Western Isles constituency of Scotland will be postponed until tomorrow because of a helicopter breakdown. The ballot papers will have to be shipped and should arrive tomorrow lunchtime.

22:19: Lembit Opik is at BBC Wales, according to Blamerbell. Sian Lloyd is at ITV Wales. Such a shame we won’t see an on-air reunion on election night.

22:12: BBC Wales has a cavernous studio, presumably borrowed from Dr Who. ITV Wales’ studios are slightly less Tardis-like. Goldie Lookin Chain will be dropping in later to offer their insight. Can’t wait.

21:40: I know what you’re thinking. Why do these elections matter? Well, in Scotland we’re expecting to see the balance of power shift completely in the direction of the Nationalist SNP. Such a shift could well lead to a referendum on full independence in the next four years, the biggest political decision in Britain for centuries. In Wales, less historic notions are being contemplated, but a shift towards the nationalists and the Conservatives is likely. The coalition government will look rather different in a few hours, but not dramatically so. And in England, as in every election, the vote will be seen as a referendum on the Government, and as such, will almost certainly see gains for the Tories. In less important news, I’m eating a baked potato.

21:30: All quiet on the Western front. And the Eastern one, for that matter. We’ll get some sort of news in half an hour, but the first results aren’t expected until gone midnight. In the meantime, there’ll be plenty of gossip and nonsense.

I’m being paid to do this for someone else at the same time – I’m not sad enough to be doing it just for the hell of it.


What you can do for World Press Freedom Day

Visit www.writetothem.com and tell your MP they shouldn’t vote for the amendment to the Freedom of Information Act which is in the House of Commons. It would exempt MPs and Lords from having to reveal information that any other public body has to, and is a ludicrous example of self-serving legislation.

And if you haven’t already, sign the petition to release the BBC’s Alan Johnston.


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