It wasn’t going to be easy. As I mentioned in my last posting, I approached election night with a sense of impending doom, but also interest in seeing if my predictions were right.
I listened to the first hour on Radio 5 Live. Victoria Derbyshire and John Pienaar did a good job in setting the scene, and describing the results of the exit poll. At 11:00 pm I switched to the BBC1 coverage, just as the first Sunderland results came in. I felt some limited euphoria as the first few results all went Labour’s way, while feeling sure that would change as the night progressed. I liked most of the BBC1 coverage; David Dimbleby provided a reliable anchor, with Jeremy Paxman excelling himself with cutting jibes and sarcasm. The only bit I could have done without was Andrew Marr’s ‘party’, where such political pundits as Joan Collins and Bill Wyman gave their views as the results came out. I couldn’t help thinking of the expense of the event, using licence payer’s money, no doubt!
As the night progressed, there were some good moments – Gisela Stuart hanging on to Birmingham Edgbaston, and later Ed Balls’ result and of course Gordon’s. Most of the Tories interviewed positively dripped with complacency, but I couldn’t help thinking that they were making a few too many assumptions. The lack of any LibDem ‘surge’, and the loss of such figures as Lembit Opik and Evan Harris, showed that the LibDems were in for a bad night.
I tried to hang on for the Stoke results, since there was interest particularly in the Stoke Central outcome, but by 3:30 am I couldn’t stay awake any longer. I found out later that Labour had held all 3 seats, as well as my constituency, Newcastle-Under-Lyme.
What of the morning after? The predicted ‘hung parliament’ seemed to be being borne out, along with my prediction that the Tories would have the most seats, but insufficient to form a government. By midday the situation was clear, and Cameron seemed to be about to offer a deal to Clegg for some sort of coalition. But will Clegg accept? I can’t see the Tories offering anything on electoral reform, and everyone had been led to believe that would be a condition for acceptance. One thing is certain: the next few days will be interesting!