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A great night for blogging and a great night for pinball - Many a mickle maks a muckle

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May 6th, 2005


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12:07 am - A great night for blogging and a great night for pinball
Without the pinball, alas. (Though a political pinball table would be tremendous fun and a salute to anyone who catches the reference!)

Tonight's election coverage has been a ton of fun already: the BBC have a good team in their studio and the dream team of Jeremy Paxman, Ian Hislop and Boris Johnson (paging muffinbutt!) around one table - with some other people willing to have a bit of a rumble with the Paxo. Lest we forget, there's also Peter Snow, who I could watch on his own all night. :-D US folk, missingdonut says that you can see the BBC coverage on CSPAN-2, probably a channel that you've never surfed to by accident. It takes some pretty hardcore geekery to follow the coverage of another country's election, but lots of British political bloggers enjoyed following the US election and the UK election results are a much, much better spectacle than the US ones. Treat it as a baseball game - it's about as statistical, as incomprehensible to the outsider and as prone to fantastic commentary.

Very hard to get a feeling of how it's going, but I like (OK, am really hopeful for) the line of analysis that Labour are losing a fair bit and the Conservatives making little headway, the remaining votes being fragmented around the rest of the country, though with the Lib Dems making progress. It's also fun to follow Political Betting in real time, along with the live spread betting exchange at Spreadfair. Plus BBC News, of course, and their weblog - see blog_vote2005. And, of course, all you LiveJournal folk! A salute to all of you. I was hoping to attend a real-life election party, but am too tired from all the recent travels. A LJ election party might be just as much fun! And all this before even a single exciting marginal constituency result becomes available...

ETA: I was worried for most of the night, but am rather happier and considerably cheered by the result. The two Labour MPs I have worked for were both returned - I used to write for Nick Palmer (Lab, Broxtowe) at the very tail end of his editorship of Flagship magazine and I briefly worked with Ashok Kumar (Lab, Middlesbrough South and Cleveland East) at British Steel in 1992 between his brief by-election stint and his four full terms. In other postal game-playing candidate news, Jason Smith (UKIP, Bradford South) lost his deposit and I'm not holding out hope for (paging panzerpenguin!) Marcus Watney (UKIP, Oxford West and Abingdon).

Looking ahead: Blair should have a comfortable majority to run for as long as he likes before handing over to (presumably) Gordon Brown. The successor will have some work to do, but should fancy their chances at a defence on a similar platform, for similar reasons to this year - plus there shouldn't, mustn't, surely couldn't be anything as nasty as the Iraq fiasco to protest-vote against next time. The Conservatives will get some encouragement and might well consider running under a flat-tax platform next time, but I imagine the public will still want their public services ahead of a much smaller state. (Hurrah!) A decent night for the Liberal Democrats and the others, but a gradual development rather than a breakthrough.

Next time will be more fun still. There will be 400 marginal seats.
Current Mood: excitedexcited

(25 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:slashkilter
Date:May 5th, 2005 04:13 pm (UTC)
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Thanks for the BBC heads-up - I wasn't aware that C-Span 2 was broadcasting it! Now I can switch to and fro between CNNi and BBC, very nice. I like that guy from ITN in his blue-screen chamber, playing snakes-and-ladders with candidate-cutouts to explain their gains and losses.
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From:matildabj
Date:May 5th, 2005 04:20 pm (UTC)
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*drive-by comment*

Paxman/Johnson/Hislop is *so* a dream team. Enjoying it hugely.

*drives off*
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:May 5th, 2005 04:26 pm (UTC)
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Why oh why oh (*) why don't they get Paxman to host HIGNFY with Boz Johnson and, oooooh, Ken Livingstone as contestants? It would be a road accident in a very fine way indeed.

(*) which, as we all know, spells yo-yo.
From:daweaver
Date:May 5th, 2005 04:29 pm (UTC)
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At this stage, it's looking like the Labour core vote has collapsed, and the Lib Dems could pick up some outliers. The results so far are consistent with a Lab majority of around 60 on a uniform national swing, but we know from experience that Labour strong-holds are better for the party than generally.

I'm sticking to my prediction of 22.
[User Picture]
From:jiggery_pokery
Date:May 5th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
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With Putney's result, you just might be right.

Eek!
From:daweaver
Date:May 5th, 2005 04:58 pm (UTC)
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I'm off to watch from in bed now, but after adjusting for independents, my pet DAVIDBUTLER projection is now showing a Labour majority of 28.

A demain!
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From:truecatachresis
Date:May 5th, 2005 04:47 pm (UTC)
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Must agree with Boris Johnson, Jeremy Paxman & Ian Hislop - they are all hugely fun characters, and putting them together was genius.
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From:missingdonut
Date:May 5th, 2005 05:04 pm (UTC)
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It takes some pretty hardcore geekery to follow the coverage of another country's election,

Hardcore geek checking in. I'm pretty proud of my prediction of 65 if BBC SCIENCE is saying a 66 Labour majority. I'd love to see LibDems take about 65 to 70 just so that you can keep the 3-party system alive.

You have such an interesting spectacle here, partly because of how the BBC does things. SWINGOMETER! David Blunkett looks like he smoked a lot of marijuana today. And beware of BORIS. BORIS!
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:May 5th, 2005 05:15 pm (UTC)
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Mmm - not sure that's quite fair about Blunkett; he is blind, after all.

It took me a very, very long time to realise that so many blind people have beards simply because shaving is difficult. Shouldn't be a hard thing to realise, but it was. Thank you, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. (Unrelatedly, I was thrilled to read that EM:HE is one of the US' top ten shows. Hooray!)
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From:missingdonut
Date:May 5th, 2005 05:27 pm (UTC)
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I apologize; I was unaware that he was blind, although that would explain why he was having issues with the microphone. I'm admittedly kind of half-watching the coverage as I'm also studying for an exam at 7:30 tomorrow morning.
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From:panzerpenguin
Date:May 6th, 2005 08:24 am (UTC)
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He famously has trouble reading the instructions on condom packets.
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From:catlily
Date:May 5th, 2005 05:25 pm (UTC)
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Poor old Boris. He's the one Conservative MP I would vote for, bless him.

I love Paxman - I just wish that Ian and Boris had stuck around for longer. Am now going to bed, still hoping that the Lib Dems continue to do as well, and that it translates into actual seats at some part during the proceedings.
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From:missingdonut
Date:May 5th, 2005 05:28 pm (UTC)
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Boris is certainly quite an interesting person. I'd vote for him in any manner.
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From:panzerpenguin
Date:May 6th, 2005 03:49 am (UTC)
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If only they'd make him party leader. He represents my strand of Toryism fairly closely, is fun and much smater than he's given credit for, and as it seems here could even get a lot of knee-jerk anti-Tories to stop and listen long enough to understand his political philosophy.

I fear though that they'll pick another colourless compromise candidate when Howard finally goes. Arsecandle.
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From:glissando
Date:May 6th, 2005 12:30 am (UTC)
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Although Lib Dem have gained several seats, they unfortunately lost some, including Ludlow. This makes me very sad - in fact it was just about the only constituency I cared about, as a friend works for Ludlow's Lib Dem former-MP.
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From:acinonyxjubatus
Date:May 6th, 2005 01:12 am (UTC)
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I love Jeremy Paxman! Paxman's interview of Galloway was classic. Love the man!
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From:panzerpenguin
Date:May 6th, 2005 03:50 am (UTC)
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What happened? I only learned the deeply distasteful news of Galloway's election this morning so missed the interview in question.
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From:sageofgodalming
Date:May 6th, 2005 08:04 am (UTC)
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From:panzerpenguin
Date:May 6th, 2005 08:22 am (UTC)
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Not bad, but I expected a more thorough dissection of the Baathist bastard. The anti-semitic egg-throwing and taunting, the presence of violent Islamists, the various secular and religious totalitarian factions involved in RESPECT - all much more worthy of discussion than this fixation on Oona King's racial origins.
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From:sageofgodalming
Date:May 6th, 2005 09:37 am (UTC)
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My apologies. Next time I see Mr. Paxman I will grill him on his poor interviewing technique.
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From:panzerpenguin
Date:May 6th, 2005 09:50 am (UTC)
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:D
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From:zarchasmpgmr
Date:May 6th, 2005 08:18 am (UTC)
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Not being the hard-core UK election geek...

Who was the commentator with the almost spot-on American accent? (It sure didn't sound Canadian.)
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From:jiggery_pokery
Date:May 6th, 2005 04:36 pm (UTC)
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Erm, not sure. Your description doesn't ring any bells, but I called it a night at about 3:30 or thereabouts. Sorry!
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From:zarchasmpgmr
Date:May 7th, 2005 08:40 pm (UTC)
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This was on the BBC 1 coverage that I saw on C-SPAN here in the States.

There were 3 commentators; IIRC, the middle one was the one that didn't sound very British.
From:daweaver
Date:May 8th, 2005 07:15 am (UTC)
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Thank goodness for 36-hour-later re-runs...

That'll be Professor Anthony King of Essex University, so it will. He's an alumnus of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, which explains the transatlantic twang.

Fans of UK elections will note that the other Canadian forever associated with the results shows is Bob MacKenzie, doyen of the swingometer until 1979, and who never missed an opportunity to advocate a system of proportional representation during the Friday morning broadcast. There was a certain nod to history when Prof. King delivered the Bob MacKenzie Memorial Lecture On Proportional Representation during the Friday morning broadcast.

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