May 6th, 2005


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.
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