General Election 2005 coverage II

New post (continued from here) so that it’s dated accurately.

0007h: Pleasant conversation between Paxman and Blunkett. Neither are favourites of mine, so good show all round. And Ken Clark was amusing before. As always. Possibly one of the few Tories I can listen to without gagging.

0010h: The increased turn-out in Erewash has just been attributed to “the glamour and glitz of Robert Kilroy Silk” of Veritas on the BBC. I really can’t help humming the Vanitas song whenever I hear his name now.

0019h: Why did they choose spray paint for the Gateshead map? Surely some crayons or colour pencils would have been more ecologically sound, and wouldn’t lead to that much blurring, especially in the cities. Someone left their brain at home for that one. I like the idea of the low-tech colouring-in map, but Peter Snow’s computer graphics seem to be working better.

0021h: Na h-Eileanan An Iar. I don’t speak Gaelic, but I think Dimbleby got it right.

0030h: First Greens result in Vauxhall at 4.6%. 0.2% up, according to the BBC’s site.

0035h: First loss of a Labour seat in Putney. To the Tories. At least it’s another woman in Parliament (small beer when it’s a right winger). Some better news for the Lib Dems, with a massive swing of 12% (corresponding Labour drop of 10%) in Newcastle Upon Tyne East & Wallsend. Another Green candidate, this time in Newcastle upon Tyne Central who’s not getting his £500 back with 3.5% of the votes. Greens with 2.7% in Putney.

0050h: The BBC election scorecard has gone haywire. Too many results coming in now. Small sigh of relief that the Tories aren’t gaining ground (yet) in Scotland, as the Lib Dems get small (~3%) rises in Glenrothes and North Fife. Another Green in North Fife out of pocket on only 2.8%.

0056h: John Prescott back to punch the electorate. He’s lost some ground though, with a Lib Dem gain to haunt him. Blunkett returned in Sheffield, with a 8% drop, Lib Dems gaining 4%. No remorse. “The hecklers can heckle all they like.”

0102h: Gordon Brown is back for Kirkaldy and Cowdenbeath. Is he the only Labour MP to gain? 58% of the vote. He promises to “listen and learn”, “build a stronger clearer Britain”, and promises to “work tirelessly to serve the people” and wants to “deserve their support”. An acknowledgement that Labour can no longer walk over the electorate.

0110h: Another close one for the Lib Dems in Torbay, thanks to UKIP stealing 3000-ish (5%!) of the right-wing votes.

0115h: Jack’s back. Claiming victory. Robin Cook shooed in with over 50% of the votes in Livingstone, dropping 4%. Perhaps his protest against the war has given him some buffer from the backlash against Labour.

0123h: SNP gain in Na h-Eileanan An Iar. Turned over to BBC1 for “Belligerent Nationalist” on the rampage. Pretty close there; votes shared out to quite a few parties, including Christian Vote (oh no…) Anyway, back to the SNP. They amuse me. They’re like the kooky SSP, but with suits on. Side track here to 4 or 5 years ago. Scene: dark and dingy Drum & Monkey (before they creamified and poshified themselves into 82 Queen St). I’m sitting there with P, having a couple of pints and bitchin’ about my reservations about all Nationalist parties. I get up to visit the loo, and lo and behold, Alex Salmond was sitting behind me the whole time. Don’t think he noticed.

0130h: Two more Tory gains: Newbury from the Lib Dems (almost a straight swap with a 6% loss for Lib Dem and 6% gain for the Tories.. why?!?) and one earlier from Labour in Peterborough. Cheadle held by the Lib Dems despite a fight from the right. Just goes to show that you cannot tar every marginal or target seat with the same brush. Something I suspect the media does because they don’t think we understand that there are often constituency-specific issues (like unfounded immigration fears or local hospital closures) to consider. “Done the numbers”, Andrew Marr, never truly reflects reality.

0140h: First Green I’ve noticed to hit 5% is in Nottingham East.

0150h: Lib Dem gain from Labour in East Dumbartonshire with a 72% turnout. A female Lib Dem MP. That’s doubly good news. (Their last shadow cabinet was all/mainly male. Not healthy for equality.)

0220h: If the other candidates of Sedgefield genuinely wanted Tony Blair out of office, wouldn’t it have been better for most of them to retire in favour of the strongest contender? Like when Martin Bell beat Neil Hamilton? Or was this merely a Labour ploy all along?

Playing catch up here. Labour was foolhardy enough to foist an outside candidate on the Welsh constituency of Blaenau Gwent, thus losing them a Labour stronghold to the independent Peter Law. Another Labour to Tory gain at Wimbledon. Is London turning back to it’s South England roots? And I see Rifkind is an MP again. Two ignomious defeats in the Pentlands, but ressurected in Kensington. More gains for the Lib Dems in Birmingham Yardley and Manchester Withington.

0240h: Very close win for the Lib Dems in Rochdale, with 444 more votes for the Lib Dems. In Cantonese, 4 is considered an unlucky number as it sounds similar to “death”. And a little closer to home, Edinburgh West has been retained by the Lib Dems, where they have gained 11%.

0247h: Even closer to home, Edinburgh North and Leith is still Labour territory. 8.9% gain for the Lib Dems brings them 2152 votes short of Labour, no change for the Tories and a 4.2% drop for SNP. The Greens (new to this seat) garnered 2482 votes (5.8%). If all Green voters had voted Lib Dem, things could have been different.

0300h: Dammit! Another Tory gain from the Lib Dems. In Guildford this time. What is it with the South East? And westwards, Archer’s old seat has been regained by the Tories too.

0315: Close fight in Edinburgh South, with Labour beating the Lib Dems by just 400 votes. Interesting to note that 10,000 south Edinburgh Tories are still getting out to vote.

0330h: Is Dimbleby flagging? I am. Another Labour to Lib Dem shift in Inverness, largely thanks to a 9.5% drop for the SNP and low percentage drops for Labour and the Conservatives. A case of “Vote Lib Dem, Get Lib Dem”. Bristol West too is now Lib Dem (from Labour). And Braintree has been handed over to the Tories.

0335h: The north of Scotland is looking distinctly orangey-yellow on the BBC’s election map.

0345h: Dumfriesshire bucks the Scottish trend. Not sure what happened there. I though the potential Scottish Tory seat would have been in Dumfries and Galloway, not next door in the Borders. Lots of Tory-boys and their big houses and 4x4s give the south of Scotland a blue blemish. (Sorry, getting a bit carried away with anti-Tory sentiment. Not happy with seeing them gain so much ground in the South.)

0349h: The Tangerine Man *just* gets back his deposit. Maybe he’ll buy a new sunbed bulb with it.

0355h: Difference of 79 votes. I can see how abuse of the postal vote system would really screw up constituencies that run this close.

0359h: Oh dear. The dulcet tones of the Wark are emanating from my telly.

0410h: And with Brent East declaring, I’m one square short of bingo on the “Churchill” card. Congrats to Sarah Teather.

0415h: Folkstone has a super enthusiastic Monster Raving Loony party candidate. Very generous with his applause for his opponents. Is that the first genuine smile I’ve ever seen on Michael Howard? They’re all rather cheery down there. Do they have a free bar? Rather less sombre than most of the other declarations. As a Conservative leader would, Howard starts by thanking the police.

0428h: It’s the new cliché. Historic third term for Labour. Should have added that to the bingo cards. Andrew Marr suggests there will be soul-searching in the new Labour government. I’m not sure. And I’m not sure Blair handing over to Brown will change much. They are (and were) both central figures of NuLab, and Brown is by no means any further to the left than Blair.

0434h: Another liar elected. I don’t know if I’m allowed to say this: Galloway, that’s just not British. Possibly the most ungracious acceptance speech I’ve heard all evening. I think Reg Keys has come through as the most rational of the anti-war candidates.

0445h: While Dimbleby and friends are discussing Galloway’s bullishness, Boris has been returned as candidate for Henley. Sans padre. A wee shame. That would have been one Lib Dem to Tory swing which would have been entertaining. In other hilarity, Bob Marshall-Andrews in Medway, who declared ealier that he was definitely out, is in. Apparently, he’s done this before.

0450h: Paxman badgering Galloway. Really ugly. Disgusting behaviour from both.

0500h: Time to stop. Can’t believe Dimbleby, Tony King, Andrew Marr and Paxman are still going, not to mention the folk on BBC Scotland. It’s been a good general election. It’s looking like the predictions, polls and exit polls were fairly accurate in a general sense. Labour will have a much-reduced majority. The Lib Dems and Tories have gained seats. But who could have predicted the way Lib Dem would lose seats to the Tories and gain from Labour? And the decapitation strategies barely materialised. Furthermore, what were highlighted as target or marginal seats for the opposition parties did not all fall as predicted. The small parties absorbed quite a few anti-war votes, xenophobic votes, and other generally disaffected votes. I think that’s quite healthy, and I don’t think the electorate has been as apathetic as the media predicted. G’day.


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