Election 2010: live-blogging the results. (Sort of…)

This post is going to work differently, because I’m going to be updating it during the course of the evening/night/morning (or, at least, that’s the plan).  The entry appearing immediately below this one is the most recent.  If you want to read the post in chronological order, read the bottom section first, then work your way up.  I’ll try and remember to timestamp the sections, but don’t hold me to it.  Sections breaks will be indicated, assuming I don’t forget, by a small line like the one indicating the section break here:

0608

And with that, i’m off to bed.  All of the things i was watching out for i now know: no overall winner; Conservatives largest party; Lib Dems likely to have done worse in seats than they did in 05, and had little or no effect on the main parties; turnout up, UKIP and BNP have done badly; my constituency stayed Labour; Philippa Stroud lost in Sutton and Cheam; and Nick Griffin did very poorly in Barking.  Still much to learn, of course, and all the jockeying for power to watch, but this seems like a natural point to stop live-blogging.  Edited to add: and i also know that Caroline Lucas of the Greens won in Brighton Pavilion, which i was also watching out for.

0558

Nick Griffin anihilated – anihilated – in Barking.  The BNP are third, and have lost vote share, while Labour have increased theirs.  This is great news – with luck, the EU elections in 09 will have been the high-water mark for the party.

0556

Turn-out seems to be up across the board.

0551

Greens take Brighton Pavilion, their first ever Westminster seat. Fantastic!

0545

Disappointing to see the BNP beating the Greens in terms of share of the vote – 1.9% to 0.8% – but the BNP stood, i think, in more seats.  And it’s encouraging to know that there are fewer than 500,000 fascists in the country.

0542

The mapping of share of vote to number of seats is still disproportionate, but the parties are in the same order in both ways of counting, so the potential distortion – of the Lib Dems placing first in share of vote, but coming third in number of seats, has not been borne out.

0540

BBC have finally – finally! – made a prediction – Conservatives 20 seats short of a majority, which is too wide a gap for them to form a majority coalition with unionists from Northern Ireland.  Other big news is that the Lib Dems are predicted to be 7 seats down on 05.

0533

Interesting to hear it confirmed that Labour are currently doing worse in share of the vote than in 1983 under Michael Foot.  Also, apparently, the Conservatives are doing, in terms of share of the vote, only slightly better than Labour in 05 – and everyone (me included – though i wasn’t blogging back then, so you’ll have to take my word for it) said that was no mandate to govern.

0529

Cambridge – a seat that has traditionally flip-flopped between Lib Dem and Conservative, has stayed Lib Dem, albeit with a 7% swing to Conservative.  I’ve obviously not been paying attention to marginal seats – i’m pretty astonished the LD majority was big enough to absorb a 7% swing and still have a majority of nearly 7000.

0510

How, in the name of…whoever, does Hazel Blears hold her seat so comfortably?  This is the person who claimed for a ‘second home’ that belonged not to her but her boyfriend (husband? – hazy on the details), and was hundreds of miles away from both her constituency and Westminster.

0506

When i said, at 0447, that 26 of 29 Scottish seats had declared, i of course meant 56 of 59.  Things on my monitor seem to be getting blurry for some reason – sure it’s nothing to do with the booze…

0502

Lord Ashcroft being interviewed – not like him to step out of the shadows.  He still comes  across as less evil than Peter Mandelson.

0458

2/3 of seats declared – still on course for the Conservatives as the largest party in a hung parliament.

0456

…but Charles Clarke has gone.  There were other Labourites who more deserved to go more (c.f. Ed Balls), but an extra Lib Demmer, so it’s not all bad.

0452

Ed Balls has narrowly hung on.  Bugger.

0450

Sutton & Cheam – Lib Dems have won.  Philippa Stroud, who has links to homophobic churches and is the main architect of much of the Conservatives’ social policies – with their emphasis on widespread state withdrawal in favour of (religiously-modulated) charity – has LOST.  This makes me happy.

0447

26 of 29 seats in Scotland declared.  No Conservative gains thus far – their share of the vote up by 1%.  The democratic disconnect between Scotland and England seems to be alive and well (which increases the long-term likelihood of independence).

0442

I’m pleased, by the way, to see just how badly the Christian Party are doing.  Separation of politics and religion and all that.

0440

A little while ago Ian Hislop said that, unlike 97,  there’ll be no “Were you pu for [x] losing?”  I reckon Lembit Opik and Jackie Smith probably qualify.

0438

Bye bye Jackie Smith.  Sad, in a way, that the first female Home Secretary has gone.  But she was a lousy home secretary, hugely authoritarian even by the standards of people in that post.  And she was pretty bad with her expenses too.  So, on balance – Whoo-hoo!

0432

Just realised the Freudian grammatical slip in the previous entry – positioning the apostrophe in such a way that it suggests there’s only one revolutionary worker…

0428

Ok, so i know i said we needed more independents, but i can’t help but be thrilled to see how badly Esther Rantzen has just been humiliated.  Also, in the same constituency, the Worker’s Revolutionary Party got 74 votes – i didn’t realise they still existed.

0426

Evan Harris has gone – that’s very sad.  He was brilliant on the Science & Technology committee.

0425

My constituency (and i’m not saying where it is deliberately – sorry): Labour incumbent has won, as expected, but whatreally surprises is that his share of the vote has gone UP.  Given what he got up to in Expensageddon, that’s pretty extraordinary.  On the plus side, i wasn’t the only person to vote Green…

0414

Swing from Conservative to Lib Dem of 4.3% in Carshalton.  That’s like what they should have been doing everywhere, if the polls had been right.

0412

Looks like Ed Balls may go.  That would be very exciting.

0410

Over half of all seats now declared.  BBC now have the swing as 5% – David Dimbleby has just said “a hung parliament without any shadow of a doubt”.  At the risk of blowing my own trumpet, i’d quite like to put on record that the beeb have havered from hung to Conservative outright victory back to hung, where i have been saying hung all along.  Mind you, i’m not being badgered by Tory Central Office to call it for them, which i suspect the BBC were being around 1am.

0405

Sad to see the Wyre Forest independent go – we need more independents, i think, not fewer.

0358

In Scotland, Conservatives have won Dumfriesshire, Tweeddale and Clydesdale with an increased majority.  So, no Tory-fre Scotland.  Still be interesting to see if they gain any more seats there.

0355

Conservatives winning Camarthen West suggests the Labour vote in Wales may have weakened quite badly.

0348

But the thing about the Lib Dems doing poorly in head-to-head contests with Conservatives seem to be holding true – Cons gain Romsey & Southampton North.

0346

Burnley – Lib Dem’s gain with a huge swing from Labour.  I’m making it official – my watchword for this election is now ‘volatile’

0343

Cons also doing well in Carlisle, in terms odf swing as well as gaining the seat.  Mr Rawnsley’s assertion that the pattern is ‘clear’ really isn’t holding water.  (Can you tell that he annoyed me?)

0337

On the subject of Rotherham: Labour unsurprisingly hold, but with a swing to the Conservatives of 8.3%.  If the Conservatives are doing that well in Rotherham, it suggests a very bad night for Labour (and contradicts Andrew Rawnsley’s assertion that the Conservatives are only doing well in the South of England)

0333

EDIT: Not Rotherham, Oxford Esat – Labour hold, and with a swing in their favour (from Lib Dems) of 4.1%.  Labour, on such a disastrous night, gaining huge numbers of votes in seats like this?  Again, things are all over the place.

0329

Jeremy Vine losing it – he’s arguing with the voices in his ear.  (To be fair, i have no idea how any TV presenter manages to keep talking when people are shouting at them.)

0322

David Milliband (who i hate…) coping very well with a dodgy link to the studio and looking relaxed and sort-of almost funny.  Colour me grudgingly impressed.

0318

217 seats declared – almost a third of the total.  BBC showing the swing as 4.6% – hung parliament with Cons as largest party.  (Just like i predicted…)

0312

John Simpson saying that GB’s speech looked elegiac (spelt wrong?), but truthfully he’s been in elegiaic (that any better?) mode since the weekend.

0309

Alistair Darling re-elected.  No surprise, but i can’t help but feel the night would be more exciting if a few big Labour names were falling like happened to the Tories in 97.

0303

DC’s speech: Labour have lost, he says, but saying things like “we fought a campaign we can be proud of” sounds like an acknowedgement that it wasn’t a success.  Definitely not a statement of victory anyway.

0258

Broxtowe – Labour narrowly hold in a seat the Conservatives (theoretically) needed.  Makes it hard for DC to claim victory in his constituency speech – coming up now…

0249

Ooooh, Lembit Opik is FUMING…

0248

Good results for LDs all over now – Chris Huhne holds with a 3% swing from Conservatives, and in Eastbourne, LDs gain from the Cons with a 4% swing.  But, then again, Cons gain Harrogate and Knaresborough with a swing from the Lib Dems of 9.1%,  Again – the swing’s all over the place.

0227

To be fair, the Opik result probably has much to do with him appearing to be more of a TV celebrity than a working MP.

0225

Lembit Opik is gone, with a swing against him of 13%.  This is an extraordinarily bad night for the Lib Dems.  I think the opinion pollsters have questions to answer.

0216

Random BBC repoter “we haerd so much in this campaign about Motorway Man and Motorway Woman”  Did we?  I must have missed that (unless it was a local thing).

0213

The swing really is all over the place – the Conservatives failing to gain easy-to-win seats, but succeeding in harder seats.

0210

SNP lose Glasgow East (a seat they won in a by-election a few months ago) in a landslide. (Though if you compare with 2005, the SNP have gained support.)

0206

Surprised by the result in the Western Isles.  Not that the SNP hold (though the modest swing to the SNP is interesting), but that there’s a result at all – i thought the Scottish islands didn’t start counting until the morning.

0201

Kudos to the BBC for interviewing someone from The Thick of It.  Shame he’s not in character…

0200

In Conservative/ Lib Dem head-to-heads, the Lib DEms seem to be doing very badly.  I’m increasingly glad i included my caveat about seeing whether the Lib Dem vote tallied with the polls…

0154

Fiona Bruce is a welcome antidote to the usual “boys’ club” of election results programmes.

0148

Turnout seems to be up everywhere, and it still looks like contituencies with esp high turnout correlate with a smaller swing away from Labour.  Could it end up being one of the surprising stories of the night that the Labour base have fallen back in love with their party?

0147

Tooting: the Labour supporters’ near-borrowing of Obama’s “Yes we can!” brings the obvious answer: No you haven’t…

0143

Ken Clarke result in Rushcliffe shows a small swing to Lib Dems.  Interesting given he is one of the Tories’ big beasts.

0139

Brown’s speech makes it sound like he is angling for a Lib-Lab pact, but without him as PM.

0135

No comedy candidates in the PM’s constituency?  How disappointing.

0131

David Blunkett explicitly concedes defeat – beginning to assume this is the coordinated Labour party line, esp. since DB talked up the importance of consensus (i.e. a Lib-Lab pact).

0127

In Wales, the Labour party vote seems to be holding up quite well – smaller falls than in England.  So that seems to be answering one of the things i was intending to watch.

0123

Alistair Campbell officially insisting that (drink) “It’s too early to tell”, but between the lines has just conceded defeat.

0117

Greens beat BNP in Putney.  Ok, so both were in the hundreds of votes, but that’s the order i want to see those two parties in.

0111

Torbay- small swing from Conservative to Lib Dem.  First encouraging news for the Lib Dems.

0106

First Conservative gain of the night, with a swing that would give them a substantial overall majority.  Hmmm….

0103

Apparently i don’t know how to format HTML anymore.  Can’t immediately see what i got wrong…  I blame the alcohol.

0102

According to <a href=”http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/election2010/results/default.stm&#8221; target=”_blank”>updated overall swing on BBC news website</a> swing to the Conservatives heading rapidly down.  But with so few results, it will be very volatile.

0057

Thornbury and Yate – Lib Dem hold, but swing from Lib Dem to Conservative of 4.3.  This really doesn’t look good for the Lib Dems.

0055

0054

Peter Snow!!!

0051

Peter Robinson, First Minister of Northern Ireland and cuckolded husband of outspoken homophobe Iris Robinson out on his ear.  Tee Hee.

0032

And now, apparently, Caroline Lucas will win Brighton Pavillion.  If so (and no official result for a couple of hours), that would be fantastic – potentially best news of the whole election.

0029

Conservatives to win Battersea, apparently.  With a Labour majority in 2005 of only 163, this would count as the least surprising news ever.

0017

Joan Collins on why DC should be PM – because he supports ‘the family, real famillies, the nuclear family’.  Yeah, ok Joan, we get the message – poofs need not apply.  Don’t let the door slamming shut on your career hit you on the arse.

0013

Oooh, David Starkey and Simon Scharma on the same panel – this could get very bitchy…

2356

Can’t believe I’m saying this, but – Eric Pickles is right.  It beggars belief that a polling station can run out of ballot papers.

2348

On the BNP: in fourth place in all the results thus far, and a very poor fourth.  But none of the seats so far have been ones where I’d expect the BNP to do well.

2344

I can’t believe I’ve just been relieved to see the Conservatives not win a seat in Sunderland.  I mean, Sunderland, for god’s sake, a couple of hours ago there’s no way i’d have been thinking the Tories had a ghost of a chance there.  Swing Conservative to Labour down on other seats, which is good.  Potentially encouraging, also, that the increases in turnout seem to be correlating with smaller swings to the Conservatives.

2329

Ok, getting bothered by the kind of swings coming through so far.  Also bothered by how the Lib Dems are doing.  And, if the stories of lots of people being prevented from voting hold true, then that’s a disgrace

2319

Feeling slightly self-conscious, as today has given me my highest number of page views ever.  Thus far, everyone’s looking at the drinking game post rather than this one, but still…

2315

Agree with Ian Hislop – having been promised an election that will change British politics for ever, it will be a big disappointment if things turn out more or less the same.

23:10

Exit poll adjusted to show Lib Dems doing almost as well in terms of numbers of MPs as in 2005.  But that’s still going to count as a disappointment, if it’s true.  But it is, of course, too early to tell…

23:02 (ish)

Ok, here for real now.   The BBC exit poll suggests the evening is going to be less exciting than I thought.   Bummer.  Also, first result declared before 11pm – surely that’s a record?

21:55

Good evening, hypothetical and potentially nonexistent reader(s), and welcome to my exciting,* up-to-the-minute,** account of the general election results as they happen.***

* – may not be exciting

** – is extremely unlikely to be up-to-the-minute

*** – ‘as they happen’ in the sense of ‘happened quite recently’

Ok, so, first of all, I’m not actually here yet.  I’m watching Brothers and Sisters on More4 instead, and submitting this via the magic of WordPress’ scheduled publication feature.  Well, face it, it’s not like there are going to be any results in until midnight at the earliest, and I like to get my fix of preposterously-plotted saccharine sentimentality.  Plus, in election coverage as in so many other areas of life, no-one wants to climax too soon…  I’ll be dropping by the election coverage to see what’s happening during the ad breaks, and will be giving it my full attention from 11pm onwards.

Anyway, to get things started, I thought I’d write a little bit about what I’ll be watching out for over the course of the next however many hours it is until I pass out.  And bear in mind that I’m writing this at about 5-30 this afternoon, and so haven’t had the advantage of seeing any exit polls or anything like that.

Who’s going to win?

I understand polls in marginal constituencies have been contradicting the general trend, and suggesting that the Conservatives may be doing well enough there to pull off a narrow outright victory.  Despite this, I’m going to go with my gut feeling, which is for a hung parliament, and probably a quite well-hung parliament (!drink!) – i.e. one in which no party is especially close to an overall majority.

Conservative versus Labour

This is the main thing I’m going to be watching out for.  Like most people, my guess is that the Conservatives will have the most seats, but will fall short of an overall majority.  If this is true, then the thing to watch will be whether they do well enough to form a government with the support of unionist politicians from Northern Ireland, or if the two groupings combined are still short of an overall majority.  In the former scenario, a Conservative-led government is pretty likely (though a Lib-Lab pact could presumably still outgun them if they chose to); in the latter scenario, it is rather more unlikely.

Liberal Democrats

There are two main things I’ll be watching for here.  Firstly, how their share of the vote compares to the opinion polls – it remains a possibility that people intending to vote Lib Dem may have had a last minute “they can’t win” panic and switched to another party.  The second thing to watch, assuming their share of the vote holds up, is how they do in terms of number of seats.  They stand a good chance, I think, of breaking the 75 barrier, and will be doing fantastically well if they win more than 100 seats.

The Liberal Democrat effect on Labour and Conservative

Two things to watch for here.  Firstly, traditional calculations of the numbers of seats either of the two main parties will win are based on the assumption that they will win seats they dispute with the Lib Dems as readily as they win seats they dispute with the other party.  Normally this assumption is reasonable, but in the context of such a huge surge for the Lib Dems (assuming the predicted surge materialises in the actual voting), the other parties may find it much harder to take seats from them.  It is even possible that the Conservatives, while doing better overall than they did the last time around, will end up losing seats they won in 2005 to the Liberal Democrats.  If this turns out to be true to any significant effect, it might have a noticeable impact on the outcome of the battle between Labour and Conservative.

The second thing I’ll be watching out for is the extent to which the surge of support for the Lib Dems may affect the outcome in marginal Labour constituencies targeted by the Conservatives.  One possibility here is that, if enough of those voters wanting a change from Labour switch their vote to the Lib Dems instead of the Conservatives, Labour might unexpectedly hold the seat.  Another possibility is that, if enough voters who would normally vote Labour on the ‘anyone but a Tory’ principle switch to the Lib Dems, this might weaken Labour support enough to let the Conservative in.  These two possibilities have the potential to cancel each other out, or course, but I’ll still be interested to keep an eye on the Lib Dems’ share of the vote in Lab-Con marginals.

Wales and Scotland

Conventional wisdom is that Scottish and Welsh voters think in UK terms in general elections, and that Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party therefore do less well than they do in devolved elections.  It will be interesting to see if that holds true given the increased focus there has been on the possibility of smaller parties taking on great significance in a hung parliament.

In Scotland, my main focus will be on the Conservatives.  Their one victory in 2005 – Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale & Tweeddale, secured with a majority of only 1738 – is distinctly vulnerable, and in the event of a swing towards either the SNP or the Lib Dems in Scotland, it’s possible they might again be left with no Scottish MPs.  If they hold that constituency, it will be interesting to see how they do in the other marginal seats they’re challenging – on the basis of their UK-wide popularity, they’d be expected to win at least a couple, so it will be interesting to see if they manage to achieve that.

In Wales, the most interesting thing will be whether or not the haemorrhaging of Labour support has been sufficient to hand significant numbers of seats to other parties, in particular Plaid Cymru.

Turnout, BNP and UKIP

Ahead of the TV debates, most people assumed that disillusionment with politics would be worse at this general election than any previously.  It seemed likely that this would translate into reduced turnout, and better results for UKIP and the BNP, both of which have tried to position themselves as the ‘anti-establishment’ party.  After the debates, it seems likely that turnout may be better than feared, and certainly I would expect it to be up on 2005.

In terms of the BNP and UKIP, it will be interesting to see to what extent Nick Clegg’s performance in the TV debates has made the Lib Dems the party to vote for in order to signal disgust with ‘politics as usual’, and if this results in a worse-than-expected share of the vote for UKIP/ BNP.  (Personally I’ve always had my suspicions that BNP and UKIP voters have been using disillusionment as a fig-leaf to hide their real, less politically correct, motives behind, but I did see a voter interviewed on Channel 4 news yesterday (Wednesday) who said that she was split between voting UKIP and Lib Dem.  Given that one of these parties wants complete withdrawal from the EU while the other wants closer integration, and that one of them is strongly anti-immigration while the other wants to grant an amnesty to illegal immigrants, her stance would only make sense if she was viewing her vote as a protest against other candidates, and not a positive vote for something.)

Individual constituencies

I’ll be taking a particular interest in four individual constituencies.  My own, obviously – although the winner here is an absolute certainty (a majority in excess of 10,000 in 2005), I’ll be interested to know how badly the sitting MP’s entanglement in the expenses scandal has damaged him.

I’ll also be looking out for the result in Brighton Pavilion, where the Green party leader, Caroline Lucas, has some chance of winning.

I’ll be keeping an eye on Sutton and Cheam, partly because it’s a Lib Dem – Conservative marginal, but mainly because the Conservative candidate, Philippa Stroud, seems to have a less than liberal attitude towards gay people.

I’ll also keep my eye out for the result in Barking, where Nick Griffin of the BNP is standing.  I don’t expect him to win, but I will be interested to see where he places, and how many votes he gets.

Background information

You may find this site useful/ interesting – it’s a list of marginal constituencies being challenged by various parties.  The constituencies are arranged by party, beginning in each case with the seat they can win with the smallest of swings.  Results in these key marginals may be an indication of where the election as a whole is headed.

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