Saturday, May 07, 2005

A bit of electoral maths

Following my last post about the Tories having a greater share of the popular vote in England than Labour, I've been doing some maths using the BBC’s final figures.

In the 645 constituencies which have declared (South Staffordshire having been delayed), there was a total of 27,132,327 votes. Divide that by 645, it means an average of 42,066 votes per seat.

Labour got 9,556,183 votes total throughout the UK. Divide that by 42,066, it translates to just 227 seats – opposed to the 356 they’ve actually got. A difference of 129.

The Conservatives got 8,772,598 votes, which translates to 209 seats, rather than 197. Not much change – they’ve only been cheated out of 12 seats.

The Lib Dems are the biggest losers from the current system with their 5,982,045 votes resulting in just 62 rather the 142 seats their share of the vote should net them – a difference of 80.

Following the same (admittedly flawed) logic, the Scottish National Party would have 10 seats rather than 6, Plaid Cymru would have 4 rather than 3, Respect would still have 1 seat, while non-scorers UKIP (618,898 votes) would have 15, the Greens (257,758 votes) 6 and the BNP (192,850 votes) 4 or 5. With 43,514 votes, the Scottish Socialists would be the smallest party to get a seat.

The Tories should back PR

Being a politics spod, I picked up all the proper papers today - Times, Telegraph, Financial Times, Guardian and Independent - to see the various reactions. All fairly standard. But I also, for the first time ever, picked up the Mail (despite the missus warning me she'd burn it if I brought it into the house). Amazingly, it was here I found one of the most interesting post-election statistics:

The Tories won 60,000 more votes in England than Labour.

Yep, In England, the Tories had 8,086,306 votes to Labour's 8, 028,242.

Of course, we'll have to wait and see who succeeds Michael Howard as leader (if they're sensible, they should go for Sir Malcolm Rifkind - untainted by the failures of the last eight years, top-end cabinet experience, insanely intelligent, easily respectable, at 58 still young enough to lead, in one of the safest Conservative seats in the country and a superb public speaker), but for the Tories to really stand a chance of getting back into power - considering how little success they're still having in Wales and Scotland - their best bet is to try to push through some kind of electoral reform which will see their share of constituencies in England more closely match their share of the vote.

So, it's not just Lib Dem voters who should support electoral reform.

Update: The Campaign for an English Parliament are on the case...

Cabinet reshuffle

Unsurprisingly, little change in the first wave of appointments to Blair's third term cabinet team. The biggest news is the musical chairs in defence / health. Geoff "Buff" Hoon's been quietly moved to Leader of the House, a demotion of sorts, and everyone's 'favourite' Caledonian bruiser "Dr" John Reid takes his place at Defence. Patricia Hewitt (ex-DTI) is now at Health while Peter Hain goes from Leader of the House to Northern Ireland, normally seen as something of a political exile but arguably important in the current climate (especially given the recent shift of power in the province). He keeps his portfolio for Wales.

In other news David Miliband joins the cabinet as Communities and Local Government Minister as does Des Browne, the new Chief Secretary to the Treasury. Oh, and David bloody Blunkett is officially persona grata again, straight back into the Cabinet. Still, arguable how much dmage to civil liberties he can do as Work and Pensions Secretary.

So where's Ed Balls? Perhaps too son to parachute such a new MP into a top job, his name may well crop up in the more junior appointments to be announced. If not, it may indicate that Blair still has firm grip on the reins of power. Time will tell.

Friday, May 06, 2005

More election aftermath

Europhobia thoroughly liveblogged the election results 10pm to 8am - it was weird...

For more good takes on the election (not that this one was necessarily good), pop over to new British group blog The Sharpener - we'll look forward to seeing you.

A Post Mortem

Europhobia's been liveblogging the election throughout the night

Reg Keys, Stephen Twigg, Tim Collins, Peter Law, George Galloway. The Good, The Smug, The Geeky, The Hurt, The Ugly. It’s not a chain of names that lights a fire as those of 1997 do among voters of a particular persuasion but it’s been a damn site more interesting than 2001.

In the not so early hours of Friday, Radio 4’s coverage made an interesting point; this is a holding election. There’s been a reshuffling of the cards, not enough to sway the game but enough to make the players think. Extended metaphors notwithstanding, all three main parties are on subtly different ground than when they went in.

Labour have suffered no striking defeats (the most notable being Stephen‘did you stay up for Portillo’ Twigg). Indeed, they have added to their talent base as Ed Balls joins the ranks – his post reshuffle role will say a lot about the Blair / Brown relationship. Even ‘troublemakers’ like Bob Marshall Andrews have survived. This is part of Blair’s problem (for it seems unlikely that Brown will see power any time soon). People like Marshall Andrews, Glenda Jackson, Frank Dobson and Jeremy Corbyn slipped back in, while many (around 90) more pliable types lost out. The Government will have to learn how to deal with this, along with the sort of majority that would have been stomped in tricky votes such as tuition fees. In addition, victory notwithstanding, Labour will be governing with the lowest share of the popular vote (approx 36%) of any democratic government. Will this lead to a new humility? It seems unlikely, but if the first term Labour government seemed to legislate with one eye on 2001, then to paraphrase George Galloway, we aint seen nothing yet.

Ah, ‘Gracious’ George Galloway. He, along with Peter Law and second term MP Dr Richard Taylor, represent an incongruent resurgence of non-affiliation. Galloway’s bizarre acceptance rant – half underdog fight-the-power, half despot justification – brings out the plain weird undertow of this election. He’ll prove a thoroughly slashing, self-aggrandizing thorn in the Government’s side. Peter Law sits at the other end of the spectrum. His post-election TV experience was touching – hurt that the Labour executive couldn’t seem to understand that his one reason for standing (and election) was the parachuting in of hand-picked candidates from the (women-only) shortlist. Finally Dr Taylor has, on the basis of his reduced majority, one more term to secure the future of Kidderminster hospital. These three represent no threat to the government, but their very existence is an aberration. That minority interests such as these can secure representation – without PR – represents very odd territory.

The Conservatives at least must be free of worries. The ill-fated Lib Dem ‘decapitation strategy’ proved a singularly damp squib, ‘claiming’ only Tim Collins. But he could just travel back in time and undo it all. In fact, in most Tory/Lib Dem constituency fights, the blues came out on top, underlining the end of the Lib/Lab tactical voting accord of the late 1990s. The Tories are in a position to consolidate this result. If they choose to. This is the key phrase. Can they really afford to go stuttering around, taking issues of minority interest as national policy (on the advice of ‘expert’ pollsters) rather than forging a new party identity? Well, no. But then that’s something for the ‘natural party of government’ to work out for themselves. Suffice to say this result is a gift. They have ranks bolstered by fresh faces (including Adam Afriyie – their first ever black MP) and a new momentum. It would take a fool to waste this, but sadly there are plenty of those around too.

Finally, the Liberal Democrats, whose result is a mystery, wrapped in a puzzle, wrapped in some sort of mysterious way that could at once conceal a train set and a really big lump of coal. Politicians are wont to read the best into the worst of electoral results but the Lib-Dems are in one of those situations where even an objective observer could see both good and bad. They’ve lost a bunch of their traditional West Country bases but gained a whole new set of urban seats in Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester and London (perhaps solely a result of anti-war protest). They’ve boosted their seats by around ten but have only secured a share of the national vote equivalent to early opinion polls. They’ve scored several surprising victories over Labour (for instance Cambridge) but have also come off worse in tussles with the Tories. Charles Kennedy has undoubtedly done better in each election he’s fought after taking over from Paddy Ashdown but is reaching the point where he risks going from chummy man of the people to perennial also-ran loser. Yes, there are more Liberal MPs than at any time since the 1920s, but the same was true last time around. Sooner (rather than later) the Lib-Dems will have to convert Guinness Book of Records achievements into real results.

But the high point of it all was Reg Keys’ moving, powerful and personal concession speech in Sedgefield. I’m too tired and rubbish to track down a transcript right now, but these will soon be everywhere. Suffice to say it was the sort of moment that lights up contests like these and shows the importance of democracy and the grubby electioneering that it can too often be mistaken for.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Nosemonkey's General Election Liveblogging Extravaganza!

08:00 - Recounts could be going on a while... I've been up 25 hours... It could be time to call it a night. Here's the link to the full liveblog experience - ten hours of me getting drunk and rambling, Steve popping in occasionally, and some good bits every now and again. Scroll down. Read. Enjoy. Etc.

I cannot stress how much this has been a truly odd election. From the post-match anlysis you'll get in the papers and on the news you simply won't be able to get a feel for it. It's like those rugby matches you get where the score's something ridiculous like 95-14, so it looks like a wallopping, but if you've watched the match you've seen how the possession played out, who fouled the most, who was punching and kicking in the scrum, and you know that the scoreline doesn't reflect the actual state of play.

This, of course, hasn't been a complete wallopping. Labour have a majority, but it's a reduced one, It's workable, but by no means gives Tony Blair the mandate he has already claimed. And as much as I dislike George Galloway, that mustachioed Scot is going to be a constant reminder to Blair of just how much Labour have managed to piss people off.

The Tories, meanwhile, increased their seat share, but not their vote share, while the Lib Dems increased both, but not by as much as may have been hoped. The Tories did worse than Michael Foot in 1983; the Lib Dems saw their share of the vote decrease throughout their previously fairly safe territory of the Westcountry, and we've been left with a lot, lot more marginal constituencies all round.

Everyone's going to be worried, no matter what party they're from.

  • The Tories got good gains, but they'll be aware this was in part due to anti-Blair protest voting (and make no mistake - it was all anti-Blair). If they've got any sense at all they'll know they got lucky, but that their approach was a failure.
  • The Lib Dems are going to be worried that their gains were also an anti-Blair vote induced fluke, that they managed to lose seats as well, and that their ploy of going hard after leading Tories actually helped those Tories increase their majorities in almost every case. They'll need a rethink if they're really going to consolidate their gains, which can only help them mature into a proper challenger.
  • Labour are simply going to work out how to push Blair out asap if they're going to build up their now tenuous majorities next time around.
  • The Labour leadership should, hopefully, realise that don't actually have a mandate any more, and that their own MPs know full well that they've been put in precarious positions purely thanks to Blair and co. They'd be stupid to try anything divisive.
In other words, this could work out OK.

07:27 - Tories take Croydon Central from Labour - 19,974 to 19,899. A majority of 75 after several recounts.

07:22 - Alan Milburn on BBC Breakfast - making excuses again - "quite simply I just want to see a bit more of my kids growing up... the reason we've got a Labour government today and not a Conservative government is that [the people agree with us]... that's why they've re-elected a Labour government and given us a large majority... I think it's a vindication of [Blair's] leadership"

BOLLOCKS. Lowest number of votes any British government's ever had - that is not a vindication. It's an indication that the electoral system in this country is utter rubbish. Sign the petition.

07:13 - Steve: R4 had it right. This is a holding election, setting things up for a significant contest in (probably) 2009. And given the size of the Labour majority that's for the best.

06:56 - My constituency's results:

Lab (Glenda Jackson) - 14,615 (-8.6%)
Con (Piers Wauchope) - 10,886 (+3.9%)
Lib Dem (Ed Fordham) - 10,293 (+6.5%)

Would have been nice for Ed to make it to second place, but I'm glad Glenda stayed in. At least one of the votes that led to the halving of her majority was entirely thanks to Tony Blair - Bob Marshall Andrews has it spot on as far as this voter's concerned.

06:52 - Bob Marshall Andrews, interviewed on BBC Breakfast - "we're now effectively governing on 20% of the electorate... everyone who faught this campaign knows that Tony BLair was our biggest liability, not an asset - he should show some more contrition... In 1997 we had an enormous mandate, now our mandate has shrivelled... The Prime Minister, instead of congratulating himself on a third term which was actually won by the Labour party, probably Gordon Brown, he should consider his own future."

This is why we love Bob Marshall Andrews and are glad he got back in. Sound's like he's been Backing Blair.

06:42 - it's shit all round. Blair got fewer votes than Kinnock in 1992, yet has a workable majority. The Tories are still on only 33% of the vote. The Lib Dems have lost a bunch of seats, gained a bunch of seats, and appear no longer to have a base of any sort. No one's done well out of this, and due to the complexity of the swings, none of them will be able to work out what lessons to learn from this whole shebang.

06:38 - Ludlow declaring - Con take it from the Lib Dems.

I can't get over how weird this has been - utterly unpredictable swings, nothing consistent, almost impossible to analyse with any real meaning...

06:34 - Labour elected on the smallest share of the vote of any government, but a clear majority. BBC are predicting 66, even though 33 constituencies have yet to declare. Earlier predictions on this blog may have been innacurate due to a combination of poor maths and the fact that this has been the weirdest election in a long, long time...

06:29 - BBC1 have a man in Eastbourne, my old stomping ground and my parents' place, where Tory Nigel Waterson ended up getting in, despite early Lib Dem claims, with a slightly reduced share of the vote. I don't like Waterson - he is not a good constituency MP and nor is he, from everything I've heard, a good man.

06:26 - Blair's speech continues - his mention of "good comrades that have fallen" is presumably about Twigg and the rest of the Labour losses (4 ministers, was it? 5?) - but somoewhat poor choice of words considering the number of deaths so many hold him responsible for in Iraq - including one of his opponents in Sedgefield, Reg Keys.

Short speech though...

06:21 - Blair speaking to the party faithful at the National Portrait Gallery. Shouts of "We love you Tony"

Blair: "How does it feel to be part of a third Labour govenment?" - The Tories certainly didn't manage to wipe the grin off his face...

Big cheer for Gordon Brown. Less enthusiasm for Alan Milburn. Likewise Ian McCartney - "He's a bit small and no one noticed him there, quips Blair"

Matt Carter, General Secretary, mild applause, but better than Milburn or McCartney.

"We've got a mandate to govern this country again... the people have made it very clear - they want to carry on with Labour and not go back to the Tory years."


"Some of you won't remember, but we were in opposition once... and during those 18 years we learned the value of taking tough decisions... We should be proud of what we've achieve in the last 8 years but I tell you we can achieve so much more in the next four years if we put our minds to it."

06:18 - Tory gain from Labour in Reading East. VERY close - 15,557 Con, 15,082 Lab, 10,619 Lib Dem - almost a three party system. -10% for Labour, +3.4% for the Tories, +5.7% for the Lib Dems.

06:17 - Two more Lib Dem seats - holds in Cornwall North and Truro & St Austell. They're up to 59...

06:09 - Lib Dems hold Oxford West & Abingdon, go up to 57 seats. Tory Deputy Leader and Shadow Foreign Secretary Michael Ancram holds Devizes without any trouble - don't know why it took so long...

06:06 - From Steve: Red Pepper's blog have a transcript of Galloway's victory speech

05:59 - Ha! We've outlasted BBC1's coverage! Going for a fag, but will be back...

05:54 - Steve: Angry about the last ditch "vote Labour everywhere or the Tories will win" strategy. This is the election to break the back of tactical voting and look at the chaos it's wrought. Emblematic both of Labour as party of government and LD impotence.

The latter a good point. Chuck that in with the rest of wtf results from the LDs today/yesterday and it gives them something to build on, free of the informal commitments of 1997/2001.

05:53 - Steve: HA! Cons likely to end on less than 200 seats. That's worse than Michael Foot in 1983!

05:47 - Considering the weirdness of the Westcountry Lib Dem fortunes, which have so far seemed utterly random, I'd been wondering what had happened in Cornwall, where the Lib Dems have a strong presence, but the likes of UKIP have also been campaigning hard.

St Ives, Truro and Cornwall North have all yet to declare. The other Cornish constituencies, Cornwall South East and Falmouth, have so far gone Lib Dem. Can the get a clean sweep in Kernow? There's a battleground there between anti- and pro-EU feeling - some fishermen having got screwed by the common fisheries policy, others getting healthy subsidies from Brussels. And then there's all the local factors, like the UKIP-supporting local shoppin centre magnate, the man behind the Trago Mills chain.

Could be how the Lib Dems break 60 seats...

05:43 - Tories gain Forest of Dean from Labour - 19,474 Con, 17,425 Lab - 2% swing to Tories, but 4.3% swing to the Lib Dems - possibly enough to have swung it.

05:41 - 47 seats to declare...

05:40 - Steve: Jesus Christ. Broad bloody daylight and me on the balcony with a dressing gown. One more beer, then it's coffee.
Nosemonkey: Pussy!
Steve: Fuck off. I'm the one drinking stella in my pants.

05:31 - 594 of 646 seats declared (one of which is South Staffordshire, which won't declare for a month, having been delayed by the death of the Lib Dem candidate).

Current standing: Lab 343, Con 184, Lib Dem 56

That's currently a Labour majority of 103. Won't stay that way though, obviously - 63 seats left to declare, one of which is a guaranteed Tory seat in South Staffs.

05:29 - Falmouth sees 10% swing to Lib Dems, Labour down 8%, Tories down 3%. They were third place last time, that's insane...

Devon West is 2.7% to Tories, minus 5% Lib Dems. UKIP and Greens making up the difference. Must be an anti-EU thing...

05:27 Devon West & Torridge Con gain from Lib Dems; Falmouth and Camborne - Lib Dem gain from Labour

The Westcountry has gone mental! No consistency in Lib Dem votes at all...

05:21 - Blair and entourage are getting off the plane at Luton Airport having flown down from Sedgefield. Getting off the plane there was a definite swagger to his walk, and a fairly satisfied look on his face. The cunt.

05:19 - Tories hold Arundel & South Downs, where they sacked Howard Flight during the campaign for saying somthing true which they didn't want to get out and replaced him with someone who had said almost exactly the same thing in a Spectator article a while back...

05:17 - Cambridge - swing of 18.9%! Christ! Labour down 11%. How the pissing hell did that happen? Students again? Stupidly weird result once again...

Steve: Student vote, well mobilised. Wouldn't be surprised if that was the story behin the Leeds / Bristol / Solihull / London wins

05:14 - Steve: Tim Collins on Radio 4 - What went wrong Tim? "I got the same number of votes as four years ago... The Lib Dems managed to squeeze the Labour vote." Ha! So one in the eye for Labour! Good logic Tim.

"I'm very pleased that a number of the candidates I managed to support did keep their seats." Like 'The Doctor' Collins sweeps on less fortunate candidates to save their skins with little thought for his own. What a trooper.

Fair point from R4. A thoroughly dignified and decent speech. As R4 said, "unlike some others we've heard" *cough* Galloway *cough*

05:13 - Lib Dems gain Westmoreland and Lonsdale from the Tories.

05:12 - Lib Dems now on 55 - four seats extra - their best result since David Lloyd George was in charge. Nice...

05:11 - Steve: Shit! LDs do take Cambridge. If anyone can explain this, that would be lovely.

05:09 - Northampton South - top Tory target. Veritas lose their deposit. Tories win - 5% swing Lab to Con.

05:07 - Cambridge apparently has gone Lib Dem. No confirmation yet.

05:05 - overall so far a 3.3% swing to the Tories. Sheffield Hallam apparently retained by the Lib Dems - student vote, or another example of the weirdness? Don't know that constituency at all...

05:00 - Dorset South declaring: 20,231 to Jim Knight of Labour, 18,419 to Tories, 7,647 to Lib Dems, 219 to Respect...

Labour's most marginal English seat, Tory target no.3, and the place where the Tory candidate got in trouble for photoshopping a picture of himself and Ann Widdecombeto make it look like he was anti-immigration.

1.7% swing Con to Labour in a previously safe Tory seat. As I say, this election is truly bizarre...

04:59 - Bob Marshall Andrews: "I'm Lazarus!" Quality.

04:58 - Steve: Marshall Andrews IS back in. Beauty.

04:55 What have we learned so far about voting patterns? Precisely tit all. It's an insanely complex picture, with local issues, the personality of individual candidates, tactical votes and God alone knows what else coming to the fore. Very, very odd.

04:53 - Galloway to Paxman: "You are conducting, even by your standards, one of the most absurd interviews I've ever partaken in"

I hate to admit it, but he's got a point...

04:51 - Paxman - "Are you proud of havin driven out of parliament one of the few black women MPs?"
Galloway repeatedly refuses to answer, threatens to walk out of the interview.
Paxman - "Don't threaten me"

Paxman's lost it. He's got a point, but he's lost it.

04:48 Current standing - Lab 333, Con 169, Lib Dem 52

Went for a fag break, so missed Galloway's acceptance speech attack on the Returning Officer - "unprecedented" according to Andrew Marr. Will try and find the text.

Report of Tim Collins, Shadow Education Secretary, losing his seat to the Lib Dems.

04:32 - Bethnal Green and Bow - George "I love Saddam" Galloway vs. Oona "I love Blair" King.

Lib Dem - 4,928
Alliance for Change - 68
Tories - 6,244
Green - 1,950
Respect, George Galloway - 15,801 - christ, that's
Labour, Oona King - 14,978

FUCK. Galloway's in. Christ. I mean, Oona King's not great, but Galloway's an abject cunt.

04:30 - Steve: The *winning* seat a three way tie between Stroud, Stafford and Poplar & Canning Town

04:28 - It's all over, bar the fiddly bits round the edges. Labour have their overall majority. But by how much, eh? BBC predicting 68-70.

But I'm interested in the fiddly bits. I'll be sticking it out.

04:25 - 1 seat...

04:24 - 2 seats

04:23 - 4 seats to overall majority...

Andrew Marr reckons Bob Marshall Andrews may not have lost Medway after all.

04:21 - Howard promises Blair his support if Tony delivers on clean hospitals, controlled immigration and the like. What - is he going to switch parties?

Howard also claiming "this election marks a reak step towards our recovery" - yep, you're now in the hospital, soon to contract MRSA, no doubt...

04:17 - 5 seats...

04:15 - 7 seats to Labour Majority

04:14 - Folkestone & Hythe about to declare. Howard and Labour candidate good friends - because they were Young Conservatives together. Yep, Labour put up a Tory in the seat of the leader of the Tory party...

Lib Dems - 14,481
Green - 688
Peace & Progress - 22
UKIP - 619
Michael Howard - 26,161
Get Britain Back Party - 153 (he's the guy who won ITV's political reality show bollocks)
Monster Raving Loonies - 175
Senior Citizens' Party - 151
Labour - 6,053

Christ - so much for tactical voting to unseat Howard... That's mental - up 9%, Lib Dems down 2%, Labour down 7%

04:12 - Brent East - this could be very close. Will Sarah Teather hold it for the Lib Dems?

Green - 950
Tories - 3,193
Labour - 12,052
Lib Dems - 14,700?

They kept it - good work!

Steve: I revel in my mistake

04:11 - Steve: kilroy keeps his deposit. Apparently his concession speech was three times longer than the acceptance speech of the Labour winner! kilroy silk won't "be going away". Seems likely the constitution referendum will be his next platform.

Nosemonkey: Damn. I hate Kilroy so much... And He'll only get that platform if the referendum happens - France could still vote no.

04:09 - Lib Dems take Solihull from the Tories - this is weird - Lib Dems up 14% - swing Con to Lib Dem of 10%

BBC now predicting 66 seat majority.

04:08 - 9 seats to overall majority

04:06 - Steve: The curse of Steve! Word on the street has it the LDs hold Brent East (TBC) if this is the case, may well pick up more than 60...

04:01 - 12 seats to overall Labour majority.

Steve: Right. Lib Dems will not top 60 seats (Will bet a pint if you like).

04:00 - Michael Howard is at the count in Folkestone. Speech probably coming.

03:57 - 16 seats to overall Labour majority and counting...

03:56 - Steve: Recount in Westmoreland and Lonsdale - the constituency of everyone's favourite Tory Dr Who fan, Tim Collins

03:55 - Labour also hold Finchley. They're nearly at the overall majority point with 36% of the vote - only 19 seats to go. The only question now is by how much?

Lib Dems - according to Andrew Marr - are heading for 60+ seats with 23% of the vote, which is about the best they can hope for with the current electoral system... Tories on 33% so far.

03:53 - Labour hold Sittingbourne and Sheppey in Kent - one of the Tories' top targets. This is after a recount. First count saw a Tory majority of 118. Final count is Labour majority of 79.

03:48 - Erewash - Kilroy! Yay!

Church of the Militant Elvis Party - 116
Labour - 22,472
Lib Dems - 7,073
BNP - 1,319
Veritas - 2,957 - ha ha ha ha ha - probably lost his deposit!
UKIP - 941
Monster Raving Loony Party - 287
Tories - 15,388

Ha ha ha ha ha! Kilroy - what a twat! Take that, you orange-faced dick, and now piss off back to your hypocritical Spanish villa.

03:47 - Steve: On reflection this might not be the disaster I've made out. The rural South West Lib Dem heartland has been a social anachronism. Since Ashdown's retirement they've been campaigning as an urban hipster party.

03:40 - Welwyn Hatfield goes Tory from Labour Health minister chappie. Tories also get a Scottish seat from Labour.

Bristol West apparently a big Lib Dem majority in a three-way marginal, plus a Lib Dem gain from the Tories in Taunton - two good Westcountry gains, bucking the apparent anti-Lib Dem trend thus far.

BBC now quoting Thatcher, apparently the daft old bint says it's not going well for the Tories. Nicholas "Fatty" Soames - "I think she's in Venice, so she may not be completely up to date"
Dimbleby - "She's on a boat in the middle of the Thames..."

03:37 - missed a bit while out for a ciggie - complete recount's been called in Clwydd West, Lib Dems gain Bristol West - neither confirmed that I'm aware.

03:26 - Piss - 76% turnout and Oliver Letwin saves his seat in Dorset West - another top Lib Dem target. He even increased his share of the vote.

Letwin - "the Conservative party is leading Britain towards the kind of country people want Britain to be: racist, small-minded, unthinking and selfish"

OK, so I may have made that last bit up...

Still, I think I may owe someone a fiver on that one. Damn... I hoped he'd be out.

03:23 - Steve: Labour share of pop vote predicted 36%. Lowest share of popular vote for a governing party EVER

03:18 - Blair talking live - claiming he's got Labour a new large majority BECAUSE OF the "difficult" decisions. The spin that this is a pro-war vote could be starting... Also talking about "rebirth" of the party. He's claiming they're "a progressive force in politics".

What a cunt.

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown's ex-Treasury mate Ed Balls has got in. Potential puppet Chancellor under a Brown premiership?

03:11 - Steve: I'm calling it now - Lib Dems will lose Brent East

03:10 - via Steve, Weston-super-Mare is another Westcountry loss for the Lib Dems.

Their heartland is getting well and truly shafted - their gains seem to be more accidental than anything. Can't work it out...

03:08 - Lib Dems take Leeds North West thanks to a 3% swing from Lab to Con.

Oh, and Boris Johnson's Dad's failed to get elected as a Tory in Teignbridge. Shame!

03:07 - Tories take Guildford from the Lib Dems on 67% turnout - up. Largely due to Lab to Con swing of 3%.

03:05 - Brent East is going to be down to the wire. Lib Dems were confident on holding that one. Sarah Teather, who won the post-Ken Livingston By Election, has been made very high profile by the Libs - spokesman for London etc. etc. But the Labour candidate is anti-war, female as well, and - possibly most importantly, considering the makeup of the constituency - Muslim.

03:01 - The Tories have their first black MP - didn't catch the name, but for Windsor. He'll be shadow spokesman for something or other within a year, or my name isn't Nosemonkey. Which it isn't, obviously, but you know what I mean.

02:59 Tories gain Monmouth from Labour - Welsh Tories, who'da thunk it?

02:54 - "celebrity" chef Rusty Lee gets a bit over 100 votes in Wyre Forest - Richard Taylor, the Independent candidate who won in 2001 on a "save Kidderminster hospital" ticket gets back in. Quality. We need more independents like him.

Steve: Count on a Conservative gain next time around. Confirmation wot we was saying 4 hours (seems like a lifetime) ago. This is a general election dominated by regionalism.

02:48 Reg Keys in Sedgefield - he got 10% of the vote, and Tony Blair was responsible for the death of his son. "If this war had been countenanced by international law I would have grieved, not campaigned. If weapons of mass destruction had been found I would have grieved, not campaigned... I hope one day the Prime Minister will be able to say sorry... I would like to dedicate this campaign to all the brave 88 - 88 British servicemen who have given their lives in this war."

Damn good man. Blair looking rather disconcerted at his speech.

Steve: Moment of the night: Reg Keys' speech. Powerful, moving, righteous stuff

02:44 - premature call on Twigg again - only just official that the Tories have won it back. That's one Labour minister down, at least. 1,747 Con majority. 9% swing Lab to Tory

02:42David Davis in Haltonprice & Howden - 22, 792; Lab 6,104; UKIP 659; BNP 798; Lib Dems 17,676

Another Lib Dem high-profile Tory target, another Lib Dem fuck-up.

What the hell is going on?

Steve: Lib Dems may pick up seats outside of the West Country but this has the feelings of "set 'em up, knock 'em down" next time around. It's as if Labour had won middle England in 1997 but lost a significant cluster of votes in the industrial North. The decapitation strategy was the worst sort of hubris on the part of the Lib Dems. Better to keep to the solid, quiet campaigning that characterized the rest of the campaign. Unfortunately the impression now (despite being 6 seats up *touch wood*) is of weakness overall.

02:39 - Enfield Southgate - Labour's Stephen Twigg's lost his 5,500+ majority - Con gain.

Rochdale goes Lib Dem - Lab to Lib Dem swing of 8%, but Lib majority of only 400

02:37 - Christ - apparently Sky are interviewing Nick "cunting cunt" Griffin. The guy's a fascist, for fuck's sake!

02:34 - More westcountry weirdness - Mid Dorset 5.5% swing Lib Dems to Tories. And there was a swing of 20+% in Manchester Withershall (?sp) to the Lib Dems. There's no consistency whatsoever...

Galloway looks to have won Bethnal Green and Bow. Bollocks. The man's a dick.

02:32 - there's just no consistency here at all. Westcountry seemed to be shifting Lib Dems to Tories, but the Libs just held Yeovil with a 4% swing to them. It's Paddy Ashdown's old seat, so very Lib Dem, but still - bucks the Westcountry trend...

02:17 Sedgefield calls - Blair - 24,421 - God damn, there's a lot of candidates here - 15 in total, mostly losing their deposits. Reg Keys - the only one that matters, standing against Blair as his soldier son was killed in Iraq - 4,000+. Good show.

Blair: "I'd like to thank the police and security services - for obvious reasons it's been a litle heavier than usual... If - and I say if - the predictions are right it looks as if the Labour party is heading for the first time in its history for an historic third term... it's clear that the British people wanted a Labour government but with a reduced majority."

Alternatively, it's clear that more people are voting AGAINST Labour than for them. The majority of the country, the majority of the electorate is against you, Tony - you twat.

02:15 Ceredigion, Third Avenue's home turf, goes Lib Dem - a 10% swing away from Plaid Cymrw (or however you spell it...)

02:10: Looks like Sedgefield's about to be called. I'll wait until after that.

Steve: Campbell - "What's happened is that the country's decided it wants a Labour government back but with a decreased majority." Ah, you can taste the graciousness

02:06 - Ilford North - Tories take it with 4.6% swing and 1,653 majority. Lib Dems also up 2% Labour thought they had it. Ha ha ha!

And with that, quick fag break.

02:03 - Blanau Gwent being declared - is Peter Law being confirmed? Formerly the safest Labour seat in Wales, but Labour's candidate was parachuted in on an all female shortlist, so Law quit and went Indy in protest. Labour - 11, 384 - FUCK! - Peter Law - 20,505. Tories 5th place behind Lib Dems and PC.

Nice one!

02:01 - Keighley - where Nick "stupid fucking racist cunt of the highest order" Griffin, leader of the BNP is standing - Griffin gets 4,240. Tory 15,668. Anne Labour's Ann Cryer back in with a slightly increased majority. Good. Anyone but the BNP - although they got 9%, which has got to be one of their highest shares in a general election. Worrying.

01:58 - Theresa "stupid, inappropriate shoes" May back in Maidenhead. This was a major Lib Dem target, and they got nowhere - May's majority increased by 3,000, Lib Dems down 1% - 6% swing Lab to Con.

Why have the Lib Dems always gone after Tory seats anyway? I never could work that out - they've got much more in common with Labour, so you'd think they'd have more chance there... Bizarre...

01:57 - Hove is Labour. Shame. Should have gone Tory.

01:54 - Hornsey and Wood Green goes Lib Dem on a 15% swing Lab to Lib Dem - ex-minister Barbara Roche out on her smarmy pro-war arse. Good.

Steve: I refer you to my previous comment - think we're talking a minor regional shift as the Lib Dems move east (kicked out by Conservatives). As Marr says, probably due to the war. A short term gain at the cost of longer term base-building in the councils of the West Country. They'll regret that in 2009.

01:53 - Hove - very very tight - coming up.

Steve: Lib Dem lead in Bath HALVED. Reckon the Conservatives have played their real strategy quiet - death to the Lib Dems in the South West. It's not gone badly either.

01:50 - Three-way Scottish marginal East Dunbartonshire goes Lib Dem from Lab. Lib Dem Don Foster also holds Bath. A win greeted by the folling in MSM:

Steve says:
Nosemonkey says:
Doo der der dah dah der dah der der der... I am Don Foster. Today is my daughter's wedding day etc.
Steve says:
When it came to the Spa project Capita made him a tender he couldn't refuse

God, we're funny. (And very drunk...)

01:43 - Paxman to Jack Straw: "How do you feel about the result?"
Straw to Paxman: "Well, I'm very please..."
Paxman to Straw: "Of course you're PLEASED with it, but how do you FEEL about it?"

Paxo's a genius.

01:42 - By the by - remember to check the General Election Blog where Phil Hunt of Cabalamat Journal is doing a fantastic impersonation of Peter Snow, working out how current results' swings could affect the country as a whole if replicated nationwide. Good stuff, and will naturally get more accurate as the night goes on:

Swing for Lab/Con seats
BNP +1.53; Con -0.22; LD +4.88; Lab -7.74; MRLP -0.45; UKIP +0.91;

Swing for Lab/LD seats
Con +0.28; LD +4.90; Lab -6.41;

Swing for LD/Con seats
Con -1.46; LD +2.74; Lab -2.59; SNP -0.28; UKIP +0.47

01:39 - Birmingham Edgbaston - Gisela Stweart only 16,465, but 2,349 majority nonetheless - down 2,349 from last time. Ooooh! Spooky...

3% swing to Tories. Lib Dems were hopeful here. They shouldn't have been.

Alan "stupid stupid twat" Milburn has apparently told Blair that he doesn't want to serve in the cabinet.

01:37 - Well-known faces John "Vulcan" Redwood, Peter "Twat" Hain, Lembit "Weirdo" Opik and blogging MP Austin "Hero" Mitchell are all back in.

01:33 - piss. Lib Dems lose Newbury to the Tories. 6% up for Tories, 6% down for Lib Dems. Labour also down 1%. But Lib Dems hang on to Cheadle, which had a majority of only 300 or so.

Steve: Big recounts in London for Lib Dem challenges to Labour seats. Potentially interesting regional shift there. Especially as Lib Dems are getting screwed in the West Country

Nosemonkey: Lib/Con is odd - the Libs' pro-EU stance could explain a slight swing to the Tories, but there's no uniform swing. Lib/Lab it all seems to be going the Lib Dems' way.

This is getting very odd indeed.

00:01:30 - rumours of recounts in Manchester and Islington - Lab/Lib marginals.

00:27 - Peterborough vote share breakdown - Con 42%, Lab 35, Lib Dems 17% - 7% swing Labour to Tories. Lib Dems up 2%.

00:24 - Peterborough - National Front 931. It's being read out by an Asian Returning Officer - someone in the audience shouts out "Nazi Scum!" very loudly. Good for them. Tories take the seat.

00:23 - The Western Isles have gone to the Scottish National Party.

Peter Snow points out the national swing Lab to Con is still less than 3%

Steve: Talk here moving to Lib Dems losing seats. I'm starting on tequila if that's the case.

01:21 - looks like the Tories have taken Ilford North from Labour, overturning a 2,150 majority. But it's close. Possibly the first recount of the night? Result's not official yet.

Also talk of a recount at Battersea. Tories seem to be doing OK in London. I'm not happy with that, it must be said, but every seat they take is one less for Tony Blair. Good.

00:19 - Lib Dems claiming Birmingham Yardley with a 2,000 majority - that's Estelle "I'm too crap to be a minister so I resign" Morris' old seat - she was stepping down.

00:17 - Straw getting shouted down. Boos, heckles, the works. Largely over praising Blackburn for being multicultural and multiracial though, so probably from the BNP.

57% turnout - 12% swing to Lib Dems.

01:12 - Blackburn. Jack "I'm a cunt" Straw's place - 2,263 for the BNP, Lib Dems 8,608, Independent Craig Murray (ex-British ambassador to Uzbekistan) only 2,082 (shit - he deserved more than that). Straw, John Whittacker (known as Jack) - 17,582.

Piss, Straw's back.

01:09 - Torbay, VERY close - Lib Dems 19,317, Tories Cons 17,288. Good result for the Lib Dems - majority was just 12 there in 2001... Still a drop of 4,500. UKIP got 3000+ - without them, the Tories would have won it.

Sometimes UKIP are useful. They just let in a pro-European by being bloody-minded. Ha!

01:07 - Gordy also going on about third terms, but it's HIS DAMN GOVERNMENT, D'YE HEAR?

By the by, ITN are calling results before they're official, as they did during the Presidential election. I'm sticking with the BBC. If that makes me shortly behind, fine.

01:03 - Gordon Brown is, unsurprisingly, back. Increased majority, although constituency borders have changed and stuff. I like Gordon, but I don't quite know why...

01:00 - Lib Dem/Con marginal Torbay - REALLY tight - 62% turnout. Announcing soon. Reception piss-poor on my telly so can't read the ticker-tape. Bugger.

00:59 - 6% swing to Lib Dems in Blunkett's seat as well - 3,000 knocked off his majority. Also talking of the "historic third term", but with a caveat - "with a substantially reduced majority". He's getting heckled to fuck giving his acceptance speech. Good.

00:58 - 6% swing to Lib Dems in Prezza's constituency. Prezza already talking about it being their third term in office. What a cunt - nearly as bad as ITN calling results early.

00:57 - Prescott and Blunkett are both back. No surprises, but I kind of wish they weren't... Swing info forthwith.

00:55 - not - overturned a 19,000 majority. That is STUPIDLY impressive. People voting on principle - whatever next? A party in government worthy of respect?

00:53 - Yep - Labour rebel Peter Law's won in Michael Foot's old seat, beating the official Labour candidate. Reports of a 19,000 majority, but that surely can't be right?

Steve: Peter Snow's adventures are, and I admit I've used the image before, like an episode of Knightmare.

00:51 - Southport - Veritas lose their deposit, Lib Dem John Pugh re-elected. 69% turnout - up 10% from 2001. Lib Dem/Con battle - Lib Dems increase share of vote - as they have in every consituency I've heard figures for so far.

Lab hold South Shields.

00:50 - Labour have conceded Blynaw Gwent (which I can't spell) - is that rebel Peter Law? If so, YAY!

00:49 - Lib Dem no.2 Menzies Campbell in North East Fife - a true hero - is back with an increased majority.

00:48 - Steve: That Putney woman is NOT A FITTIE. She's warty like a toad. She clearly is a fan of lead based makeup.

00:45 - George Galloway apparently doing well in Bethnal Green & Bow. Pictures of him looking happy. No result yet though...

00:44 - Medway - decent Labour backbencher bloke Bob Marshall Andrews reckons he's lost his seat to the Tories - 70th Con target.

12:37 - Newcastle Central - Lab hold with a drop of 7,632 from the last election. Down 10% - Lib Dems up 12% - 11% swing to Lib Dems there overall. Nice... Makes the marginals more interesting...

After the Putney result as well, I'm beginning to wonder whether Glenda Jackson will hold on to Hampstead & Highgate.

Well, if she loses by one vote, do you know whose fault that is? That's right - Tony fucking Blair's. If it wasn't for him, I'd have voted for her.

00:34 - looks like the Tories have retaken Putney, lost by sleazemaniac David Mellor in 1997. But the Tory's a honey and UKIP lost their deposit. RESULT.

1,766 Con majority. 4% swing to Tories, 3% swing to Lib Dems.

00:33Steve: A HELICOPTER to carry in votes. How cool is THAT?

00:32 - Rotherham saw BNP with 6.6% of the vote. The upside - Veritas only got 3%. A bunch of Nazi thugs are taken more seriously than the smarmy permatan Kilroy. Says a lot...

00:29 - Rotherham - 2000 votes for the Racist Party, apparently. Great. But 9% swing to the Lib Dems. Dennis MacShane, Europe Minister's constituency though - nationalist vote unsurprising when there's a prominent (and shit) pro-European knocking about.

Vauxhall - 6% swing to Lib Dems

Hull West - 5% swing to Lib Dems

00:25 - Matthew Taylor of the Lib Dems reckons the Lib Dems are going to do well.

Boris Johnson points out that there hasn't been a Lab/Con marginal up yet - good point. Until we get a few of them it'll be hard to tell whether the Lib Dems are doing well across the board. They need to for any kind of electoral reform campaign to have any legs, otherwise they can be brushed off as a minor party again. If they can get to 25% of the total vote, some kind of reform simply HAS to happen.

00:20 - There seems to be a swing to the Lib Dems all over. Could be promising. But having sat through the US presidential election in 2000 and woken up to the Kerry defeat back in November, I'm still not getting my hopes up. Too early to tell still - Labour seats always seem to call early, and the really interesting ones are likely to go to recounts... Could be until 4, 5am before we have a good idea of the basic makeup of the Commons...

00:18 Steve: Barnsley Central: One of Helen's friends standing for the Lib Dems. His target was 15% and they got 17%. And BNP lost their deposit.

00:12 - Steve: Jon Culshaw. Shitspoon.

00:09 - Steve: "what is clear, and what has been all the time is that Labour will form the next government" - Prescott. So nix to all the "Ooh, vote Labour or the Tories will get back in guff"

00:08 - Erewash, Kilroy's target seat. "Not looking good for Robert Kilroy Silk". Good. I really, really hate Kilroy. 70-72% turnout there, apparently.

00.07 - David Blunkett "I'm going to continue making a contribution in any way I can... We'll have to wait until tomorrow to see how Tony decides to call the government."

00.01 - I love Ken Clarke. "I find your exit poll very boring... Peter Snow's just got wildly exited about a load of result that haven't happened yet, and you've already moved on to tomorrow morning's post-mortems."

MIDNIGHT - bugger all of any interest thus far. Should start kicking off over the next hour, hour and a half. But it could end up being close in a large number of constituencies.

11:57 - Rutherglen & Hamilton West, another Labour hold with swing of 5% to the Lib Dems. Promising? What IS promising is that UKIP lost their deposit. Hurrah!

11:53 - Some dozy bint being interviewed in a pub (at 10 to 12? Bastards...) saying she wanted to vote Lib Dem but voted Labour as a protest vote against the Tories. What the pissing hell?


11:49 - Theresa May's confident in Maidenhead - Lib Dem no. 16 target, need a 3.6% swing. Exit poll suggests Lib Dem national swing of only 3%. But exit polls mean NOTHING, I tell you...

Next door in Windsor, Tories look set to gain their first ever black MP. This from the party which gave us a Jewish Prime Minister over 100 years ago... It's about bloody time, guys.

11:47 - nearly 70% turnout in David Davis' constituency of Haltonprice & Howden. Labour candidate reckons he could lose his deposit due to anti-Davis tactical voting. Possible Lib Dem gain. Davis refusing all interviews.

Oooh... One to keep an eye on... Losing Davis could screw the Tories. YAY!

11:41 - 20,000 missing postal votes in Birmingham - out of 60,000. BRILLIANT...

Florida Florida Florida...

11:37: BORIS! "Blair's on a slow decline" ; Paxman: "That's the most pathetic excuse I've ever heard!"

I love Boris. He's a maniac, but I love him nonetheless.

Steve's take: Hislop and Johnson should have their own show

11:34 - "Dr" John Reid blathering on with nonsense (paraphrased) - "the only indicators we can really take out of it is... that if Labour have got a third term with a working majority it's historic and if it's anything like the exit polls suggest it's even more impressive than Margaret Thatcher."

And so the spin begins...

11:32 - ANOTHER constituency with BNP twunts polling over 1000 votes. What the hell? Still - it was a Lab to Lib Dem swing of 11% in Houghton & Washington East...

11:30 - Portillo's old haunt of Enfield Southgate could see another prominent(ish) upset - Stephen Twigg in trouble, apparently...

11:25 - Sunderland North's declared - another unsurprising Labour hold - albeit with an 8% drop. Lib Dems up 1.9%, Tories 2.7% - a 5% swing to the Tories, but they are the 2nd party, so by Backing Blair strategy are the ones to vote for to give Blair a bloody nose. Still, Peter Snow reckons 4-6% swing from Labour to the Tories nationally could cause some damage.

It's bloody unlikely though. I mean, the Tories? Come on...

In other news, the BNP - in Sunderland South as well, if I recall - polled over 1000 votes. How can people be that stupid? I know they're northern, but still... (Note: I actually love northerners. Sometimes.)

11:23 - reports of voters being turned away from polling stations in Norfolk North and Ribble. Interesting... Florida Florida Florida...

11:22 - Steve: "Torbay - 68 - 78% turnout? Blimey, results may well be on a constituency by constiituency basis..."

11:20 - Labour bricking themselves in Wales. Tories making wild claims. Lib Dems reckon they've got Cardiff Central - bloody students, eh? (Fair play to 'em - if the Lib Dems don't clean up amongst the 18-21s, there's no hope for the future of this country...)

11:12 - Europhobia's Steve chips in with "Ruth Kelly does, basically, look like a man." His flatmate, Helen, reckons "Ruth Kelly is a man with a big penis". Don't know how she knows... (Libel writs to them, not me, please...)

11:09 - Ann Widdecombe's blathering on attempting to blame the media for all the crappiness of the campaign, saying "it trivialises the process". Yeah - and how hard can it be to keep a hospital clean, Ann?

Trivialise my arse, Tory fucks.

11:05 - The Oona King vs. George Galloway spat in Bethnal Green and Bow expected c.2am. Oona King "worried", apparently. She should be. But If Galloway wins then something is wrong with people in that constituency. Very wrong...

And the BBC sent Iraq war correspondant Rageh Omar to cover it. Another example of that infamous BBC bias the pro-war/anti-EU/right-wing/Blairite/Tory/whatever lot keep going on about?

11:00 - I think I'm lost already... I've currently got 21 tabs open in firefox, Internet Explorer running with a chatroom and MSM messenger to boot. Utterly techonlogied out.

I need more beer. Then I'll have alcohol-based insights for you... Promise...

10:50 - Only a few hundred votes in it in Chicken Yoghurt's home turf of Hove, apparently.

10:45 - Labour hold on the first announced seat in Sunderland South. No surprises there. 11,059 majority - down 2,600. 49% turnout. Meh - one seat in a safe Labour area means tit all. Can't tell anything from the 4% swing to the Tories there.

10:40 - "The Labour party is feeling increasingly anxious". Good.

- Right. I think I'm good to go.

Lib Dems reckon they've taken Eastbourne. YES. I hate Eastbourne's sitting Tory, Nigel Waterson, and it's my parents' constituency to boot. Although they won't be happy - they're Tories... Still, does this mean the Lib Dems have finally shaken the spectre of David Bellotti, Eastbourne MP after Ian Gow's murder in 1990?
And it's David Bellotti
David Bellotti M.P.
He's by far the biggest wanker
The world has ever seen

Build a bonfire
Build a bonfire
Put Bellotti on the top
Put Bill Archer in the middle
And we'll burn the fucking lot

Hire a hitman
Hire a hitman
Shoot Bellotti in the head
Shoot Bill Archer in the stomach
And they'll both be fucking dead

Got to love football fans, eh?

It's 10pm, the polls have just closed, and I'll be keeping this thread updated throughout the night - assuming Blogger doesn't go tits up...

Initial prediction? Labour majority of 80-130 seats, almost certainly over 100. Very vague, I'm afraid, but I reckon there'll be a load of very tight races...

BBC exit poll reckons a Labour majority of 66... Lib Dems gaining just 2 seats. But remember the US elections last year? Exit polls mean tit all...

General election blog roundup 25 - D-Day

Up now, courtesy of yours truly. And as such, replicated here:

It's all over bar the count, re-counts, legal disputes over postal votes (and bad luck to reader Michelle Gray whose postal vote got, erm... lost in the post), and that little matter of South Staffordshire, but after tonight we can all, finally, stop spouting quite so much nonsense about this bloody election. (Heh... Sorry, Jarndyce, old bean...)

First up, a plug - some of us General Election bloggers and a bunch of others from around the UK blogland have started a brand spanking new group effort, which we're hoping will be a showcase for some of the best (loosely) political writing on the web. It is The Sharpener, and we hope to see you there.

Right, pluggage out the way, on with the roundup.

The lovely chap that is Justin "Chicken Yoghurt" McKeating has created a handy resource for those of you planning to spend your election night with us bloggers: a spiffy little guide to where all the action is, as does the last post in this very blog. Something else which should prove useful is the UK Political Blog Feeds site. Always handy, and tonight doubly so.

Perfect also has some pointers to where the action is going to be blog-wise, while qwqhlm (who also plans to liveblog) has compiled an useful list of Labour marginals to watch out for if, like us sad politics geeks, you plan to be up all night. Judging by some of the early rumours, there could be a fair few more Labour marginals after tonight - we can but hope, eh? qwqhlm's mate Chris also has some election I-Spy, which could make for a nice drinking game...

Tonight could be interesting. This election has brought out some top-notch posts from bloggers - like this effort, Choose Labour, from the Honourable Fiend and this from Blood and Treasure - it was included in the roundup yesterday, but is so good it deserves to be included again (and is now in a new home to boot...) Even some of the candidates have come up with some quality stuff...

The near-inevitable Labour victory is also causing some "what happens next speculation" even before the polls have closed, with pondering Where next for the Right? and your roundupmonkey for tonight desperately trying to start up a campaign for electoral reform, even though some other people got there first and with a far better explanation than mine of why. Others are making worrying predictions that things most certainly CAN'T only get better, and that we could all end up royally screwed in the coming third Labour term.

Was it the anxiety election for you, as Matt Sellers reckons, or just so dull even the bombs were boring? (That last lot, a blog from the new London newspaper The London Line, will also be liveblogging, by the by)

Either way, Robin Grant of Perfect also has some advice for what us mere voters should be doing next: heading to to register our reasoning and let those Westminster bastards know how pissed off we all are. My ballot paper, much like my fellow electionblogger Ken Owen's, would have got a hefty essay if they asked us to justify our votes on there as well, I can tell you...

And finally, Tim Ireland of Bloggerheads and Backing Blair fame notes a last irony...

OK, that's it. We'll probably be doing some post-match analysis here over the next few days, so any more links and such like, keep 'em coming in for now. Technically the general election isn't over until the delayed South Staffordshire vote takes place in a month or more, but as I type, polls close in half an hour. I hope you voted wisely, and that some of the stuff on this blog helped you make a more informed choice.

Democracy eh? It's great, innit?

Choose Labour

Anger and frustration really does bring out the best... - good stuff.

Election explosion excitement

No injuries, but there's been an explosion at the British Consulate in New York. Which is on Third Avenue.

This is likely aimed more at the Americans than us, but God damn, these thing are a nice boost to the war party, aren't they?

Electoral Reform Petition and new group blog

I'm pissed off at how few people who vote today will actually see their vote achieve anything. I'm pissed off at how alienated the population has become with the political process. I'm pissed off at the fact that so many people rightly believe that their vote won't change anything.

If you are too, sign this petition like wot I've just set up. I doubt it'll achieve anything - after all, Blair happily ignored all those people who protested against the Iraq war so he can happily ignore this - but we can but try.

Here's the text:

The 2005 UK general election campaign has demonstrated more than ever that large chunks of the population see their vote effectively going to waste. On an equal share of the popular vote, the three main parties are incapable of getting an equal share of the seats in Westminster.

Proportional Representation may not have all the answers - we may lose local representation in Westminster and fringe and single-issue parties like the BNP and UKIP may end up with seats in the House of Commons - but at least then every vote would count.

We want our votes to count. We want future elections to be fair. The UK electoral system needs reform.
Now go sign.

And as another (entirely unrelated) new project, myself, Jarndyce of The Pseudo Magazine, Justin McKeating of Chicken Yoghurt and Nick Barlow of What You Can get Away With have set up a new group blog, aiming to collect some of the very best bloggers there are.

It's not completely finished yet and will continue to evolve as more people get involved but, nonetheless, go visit The Sharpener and let us know what you think.

Don't blame me when it all turns to shit

I will not be voting Labour today. I did not vote Labour at the last general election.

I am officially not responsible for my government's actions.

I have, however, done my best.

Sorry it's not good enough.

General election blog roundup 24

Today's the day - and if anything's going to sway your vote at the last minute, it's a bunch of bloggers with stupid names blathering on in the depths of cyberspace - so check out the last pre-poll election roundup.

I'll be knocking up a close of poll one this evening at about 10pm, trying to collect together info about anywhere and everywhere covering the results live - messageboards, liveblogging, whatever. There'll be a messageboard up at the election blog, I'll be liveblogging here from c.10-10:30 (maybe earlier), and a bunch of other people will be doing bits and pieces all over the interweb. It won't be exciting, but we'll do our best to liven it up.

So - any info on tonight's web-based plans, bunk an email to - ta.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Howard breaks Godwin's Law, Labour win election by default

It's over. In an interview with Jon Snow on Channel 4 News just now, Michael Howard directly compared Tony Blair to Uncle Joe Stalin.

Most surprisingly, it wasn't for the obvious reasons - suspension of habeas corpus, being responsible for the deaths of loads of people, trying to get complex data on everyone in the country, using threats to gain votes, maintaining a constant fear of some nebulous external ideological threat to keep the populace docile etc. etc. etc. - but for introducing targets to the NHS.

Which actually started under John Major.

And, erm... wasn't it Lenin who came up with the Five Year Plans Howard was referring to? He needs a bit more Education, Education, Education, methinks...

This may not quite be Godwin's Law, but it's good enough for me. Election's over, folks. Time to head to the pub.

(Although I will be here all night tomorrow liveblogging the thing anyway - contributions to the beer fund most welcome...)

35 reasons for not voting Labour

This is both superb and spot-on. (Pretty much...)

That is all. (Hat tip Actually Existing.)

Update: This is entirely spot-on. To be read in full and pondered heartily.

General election blog roundup 23

Are you bored of democracy yet? Ready to succumb to the maniacal ramblings of a one-man dictatorship? Well, Tony Blair's going to be re-elected with yet another massively unhealthy majority tomorrow if you are, Justin "Chicken Yoghurt" McKeating is here with the latest election blog roundup if you aren't.

Actually, Blair's going to be returned with yet another massively unhealthy majority tomorrow either way... Sorry about that...

I are currently excessively busy and knackered helping set up a new project type thing, about which I should be able to inform everyone tomorrow. In the meantime, that roundup whatsit should keep you going.

(Oh, and did anyone else see David Blunkett in the Mirror yesterday? "David Blunkett says the Liberal Democrats are bad for families" - coming from a man who got another man's wife pregnant and then got involved in a slanging match and high-profile legal battle over the paternity of a second child? Genius...)

Quickie update: Oh, and go read this letter to Tony Blair from Yank blogger KathyF. Top stuff. And yes, you did read the name right - a female blogger... Will wonders never cease?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

General election blog roundup 22

We're finally into the home straight, everyone's bored rigid, but we've still got a nice general election blog roundup for you.

If you happen to be American and have got all confused by this shoddy attempt at democracy in the country that pretty much invented the concept of parliament, you could do worse than check out this overview from Diderot's Lounge:

"Imagine a election system in which the incumbent leader’s party places third, with 30% of the vote or less, but that party is returned to power with an absolute majority of seats in Parliament--and the first-place party wins barely one-eighth of the seats.

"This can happen—not in Putin’s Russia, Khamenei’s Iran, or Faure’s Togo, but in Blair’s Britain."
Britain: it's like Florida, but without the sunshine and oranges and alligators and stuff. There's more from the Lounge here which is also worth a look.

Oh, and lest I forget, you really should read Manic's handy reminder of all the lies, incomptetence and spin.

Monday, May 02, 2005

General election blog roundup 21

Courtesy of yours truly, up now at the General Election Blog.

Note to self: don't write these things while half asleep, partially drunk and nursing a headache in future... Still, as I done it and stuff, I reckon reproducing it here is just about fine. Here you are then:

It's a Bank Holiday, my head hurts from booze and Tony Blair is having to pretend that yet MORE Iraq-based leaks mean nothing. "But what of British bloggers?" I hear you cry. "What of all these weirdly-named loners, sat inside on such a lovely day, spewing forth invective and insight?"

Well, because of all this Iraq business, let's kick off with the not really weirdly-named Phil at Actually Existing (who may or may not be a loner, I have no idea), with a fairly detailed analysis of the legality of the war, following a particularly patronising load of guff from the Guardian, while The Obscurer had a good one up a couple of days ago, and smhwpf also has a nice, lengthy take on why this Iraq thing is so damn important to some of us. (Phil's piece slagging off everyone's least favourite hack, erstwhile Harry's Place blogger Johann Hari, is also worth a look).

Meanwhile, Martin Stabe has an overview of the latest leaks - as well as an amusing bit on just how damn stupid certain people are being when it comes to revealing information about the Iraq war. The Curious Hamster provides another handy overview, but that Harry's Place lot, Labour loyalists to the last, can't see what all the fuss is about, and neither can Gauche. (Hint: it's because Blair spouted bollocks, guys...) Oh, and John B of Shot by Both Sides has a nice summary of some of the patronising Labourite nonsense over that whole Ricin business which is also worth a look.

Oh, and while we're Harry's Place bashing (OK, while I'm Harry's Place bashing - that's what you get for not linking to my site for over six months - ha!), the brilliantly-named (and rather amusing) Chase Me Ladies I'm in the Cavalry has a take on that whole "the Respect party are a bunch of violent thugs" thing that was doing the rounds a couple of days ago. Dave Wheeden, meanwhile, makes the somewhat pertinent point that - erm - individuals cannot be taken as representative of a party as a whole. Let's face it, if every member of the Labour party was like Glenda Jackson, the world would be a much nicer place...

If you're pissed off by all this, there's another handy look at the potential (lots) and pitfalls (not many) of anti-Labour tactical voting over at Consider Phlebas.

But, of course, tactical voting requires actual voting. Samizdata attempts to fight the apathy to analyse the decline in turnout over the years, while Left Out Liberal looks at the student vote - or lack thereof... But one student who does look interested is good old DoctorVee, who's provided a handy roundup of election pamphlets from his constituency. I got one today from the bonkers "Vote for Yourself Rainbow Dream Ticket" bloke... Election leaflets are funny. Stephen Pollard, however, isn't so happy about the things.

And talking of people who aren't happy, Sinn Fein's manifesto gets a nice going over at Slugger O'Toole, where they also seem to have found one of the more attractive candidates in these elections in the Green party's Kelly Andrews...

Ho-hum. There's only a few days to go and the forecasts are looking good, so Guido has started pondering what happens afterwards.

That not enough for you? Then head over to Tim Worstall's place for his latest BritBlog Roundup. Good stuff as always.

And keep sending the links in to the usual address. I'm also trying to find out who else, like me, is planning to liveblog the election - so get in touch if you are. Not that I imagine it'll be much fun, but still...

And now for a witty final remark to make myself look clever and great and stuff. Erm...

Tony Blair stinks of wee! Hahahahahahaha!

Sunday, May 01, 2005

General election blog roundup 20

Up now, as you've probably already twigged. It's me tonight, so bunk links to - ta!

In other news - as yet unbroken - the death of the Liberal Democrat candidate in the safe Tory seat of South Staffordshire could cause some problems. Worth keeping an eye on, that.

Now, what with it being a Bank Holiday and all, I'm off to the pub.

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