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De Souza's Digest Live Election Blog

5:51 AM

No, wait, on more post! Andy Slaughter has been returned as MP for Hammersmith - could it have been those politics students (see 9:45 AM yesterday) that swung it?

5:36 AM

So it looks like the exit polls were largely correct. Hung parliament territory. The exciting stuff comes tomorrow mid-morning, when we see whether Cameron has enough seats (say 310) to be able to rely solely on the Ulster Unionists, or if he falls short, opening the door for a possible Lib-Lab pact. I am signing out - goodnight.

5:05 AM

Lord loads of money Ashcroft appeared to suggest Cameron's debate performance has cost The Tories their majority. He would have preferred Cameron's little secret - i.e. that he isn't very good - to be kept that way.

4:48 AM

Sky's Lib Dem correspondent is saying that Clegg looks serious and is unsmiling while they are showing pictures of him smiling.

4:40 AM

So Cameron has shown up at Millbank in London. Perhaps he sobered up in the car.

4:33 AM

There are some really strange results coming in. I've been grappling with this being a North/South election, or a regional thing. Perhaps it is more complex - maybe it's a local thing. The expenses scandal has, if anything, focused voters' minds on the candidates they are voting for, rather than the party they belong to. It is ironic, given that the TV debates seemed to usher in a presidential style of campaign dominated by party leaders.


4:31 AM

I wonder if one of the party losers will call for a national government consisting of all three main parties. It might be Clegg's strongest hand, the way things are looking for Liberal Democrats at the moment. I cringe when I hear a "government of all the talents," given that Caroline Lucas will not be allowed anywhere near the Department of the Environment.

3:51 AM

Will the Lib Dems get into bed with The Conservatives? I am not sure what exactly they would have in common. Some may say that "I told you the Lib Dems weren't authentically progressive." Let's face it, they would soften any nasty element of a Cameron government, which would be a relief.

3:49 AM

The South is starting to look like it did in the 1980s - very blue. Hastings and Dover have both been taken by the Tories.

3:19 AM

Not a single black or Asian face on ITV, Sky or BBC, and very few women. Oona King was on earlier, but that's it. It's white men talking to white men. Ann Widdecombe is on ITV - it doesn't count.

3:04 AM

Cameron's speech in his Witney Houston constituency seemed as downbeat as Brown's. What will Clegg's sound like? It seems possible that all three parties have lost.

2:48 AM

How on earth has Gisela Stuart clung on in Birmingham Edgbaston? I agree with the ITV man - this is a line in the sand and ends Tory hopes of a Tory majority. Cameron looks a little bit worried. I did say it will come down to the Midlands - it has.

2:32 AM

Labour is a pretty resilient beast. It has an inept leader, has run out of money, has presided over the worst economic crisis since the war, has taken the country into two unpopular wars, and has led a pretty poor campaign. And yet it still gets around 30% of the vote, based on the most recent results. Imagine what they could do if they were actually any good.

2:10 AM

Oh well done Kay Burley. She has pointed out that Brown's attempts to forge a Lib-Lab pact will be conducted in smokeless rooms, due to the smoking ban. I wonder if this will affect the mood.

2:05 AM

Ben Bradshaw has held Exeter - against all the predictions and expectations. More evidence that no party will be able to secure a jffkfkffk;.

1:59 AM

Actually, it looks like it is a local thing. The Liberals have failed to take Guilford, a key target. The Tories have taken Loughborough but they haven't taken Telford, which is another target seat they needed to get a majority. I am fed up writing the word "majority". Let's change it to jffkfkffk;.


1:52 AM

It looks like it's a regional thing. Inner cities, the north, Scotland and Wales are largely Labour. The West Country is Liberal. The South will swing very much the Conservative way. It's all about the Midlands.

1:51 AM

It is now starting to dawn on me that I have no idea how I'm going to explain all this to my politics students. A case of turn to page XX of some soon-to-be available textbook?

1:45 AM

Sadiq Khan has clung on in Tooting. The Labour supporters are chanting Yes We Can! Will Cameron be able to get a majority? No You Can't! But my next post might say something completely different.

1:35 AM

Derek Jackson of the Land is Power party is standing behind Gordon Brown, holding up his arm and clenching his fist. He is bald and wears sunglasses. I don't really know what else to say. Gordon Brown is rambling on, and I should probably listen because is it sounds rather melancholic. As the BBC's Nick Robinson said, his eyes give it away - he knows the game is up.



1:25 AM

Cameron could probably drink Clegg and Brown under the table, and not just because the prime minister doesn't drink. He would still have to beat Clegg. But Cameron, who has just been in the pub and is clearly drunk (I can't reveal my sources as I am making this up), has a lot of experience of this sort of thing, what with his membership of the Bullingdon Club. They had great fun being horrible to waitresses, damaging property and dressing up like pricks (I am not making this bit up).


1:17 AM

A few results are coming in now and they look quite good for Cameron and his drinking buddies. The Kingswood result shows that he could be heading for a majority and thus would be bestowed by David Miliband (see 11:47 AM) with absolute, complete, unquestioning, divine power, as is their right having received 36% of the vote.

1:01 AM

Cameron has some good ideas, like going to the pub instead of watching the TV. Wouldn't it be funny if he slurred his words during his acceptance speech.


12:59 AM

I am not the only one who thinks Sam Cam is milking it for all its worth. This too feels like the wrong thing to say in public. I wish her all the very best in her pregnancy.


12:56 AM

The biggest announcement of the night so far... Peter Snow (he of Swingometer fame) is still alive!


12:52 AM

Alastair Mcgowan is doing impressions on the BBC. He is not very good, is he? But it feels wrong to say it in public.

12:45 AM

TV presenter to politician: What do you think about the people who have been turned away from polling stations?

Politician to TV presenter: Yes it's really bad

Riveting stuff.


12:31 AM

It seems as if The Greens will win their first ever seat in Parliament, as Caroline Lucas should become MP for Brighton Pavilion. Does anyone think this is a bad thing? Why don't we just give them the keys to number 10? No one will mind. It would save all this waiting around.


12:28 AM

Simon Cowell supports The Tories. I am sure Cameron is thanking him for that endorsement.


12:19 AM

It appears the youth vote is up significantly. Obama won because he was able to appeal to first time voters. No Andy Warhol-esque art work on the front page of The Sun can hide the fact that Obama Cameron ain't.


12:13 AM

Well, Sky News has won the chasing David battle. The Beeb could only look on as Cameron's motorcade drove past, while Sky's chopper followed the convoy from the Sky. This is the most exciting contest of the night so far.

11:56 PM

Some fella on Sky News keeps referring to what Bet Fair is saying. So we're no longer sure about the exit polls - better see what people who visit William Hill think. I do the football pools - perhaps the egg-shaped man should drop me a line.


11:47 PM

David Miliband believes that, if there is a hung parliament, no party will be able to claim a "monopoly of power". So it's okay for a majority government to have all the power? Even if, like the Labour Party in 2005, that party received only 35% of the vote? The arrogance of that statement sums up why people hate politicians.


11:37 PM

Mandelson makes a good point (for once). Tory supporters tend to vote early in the morning because they are more likely to be retired, or so rich that they do not have to work. Labour supporters tend to vote later when they get back from work (or get up), so those people who have been prevented from voting are likely to be Labour voters. Expect legal challenges and "do-overs" in American speak.


11:35 PM

How inspiring to see Sixth Form students count the votes in Sunderland. If this was repeated up and down the country we'd see far more engagement in politics from young people.


11:10 PM

Tory sources are saying that you can take that exit poll, minus 25 or so seats from Labour and give them to Lib Dems. They might have something there - it still leads Cameron short of an absolute majority. If this is the case, doesn't this suggest that voters don't like him much? Despite two wars, economic crisis, the expenses scandal and a completely inept opponent to beat up every week at PMQs, the Tory leader has been unable to close the deal. He should be in landslide territory. Even Blair didn't have this kind of luck.


10:39 PM

People have been turned away from voting because of the huge queues snaking around the block in Sheffield and in other places. Lots of people have been disenfranchised - Florida all over again but caused by incompetence rather than racism / Republicans.


10:26 PM

Charlie Brooker reckons Sky's Adam Boulton is shaped like an egg. Turn on Sky News to see if you agree. Boulton just announced that Governor Schwarzenegger has called Cameron to congratulate him. On what, the prediction?


10:06 PM

If the exit polls are to be believed (and for that see 9:53 PM), up to 30% of voters who opted for Lib Dems will be completely disenfranchised. How can any reasonable system allow a party's share of the seats to be reduced when their national share of the vote has significantly increased? Or, perhaps, people did come home as Gordon Brown asked them to do. Another false dawn for the yellows? We shall see. Either way, First Past the Post is hugely discredited. It is supposed to give us "strong government" - a clear winner. Even its strongest proponents cannot say this election will produce that (if exit polls are to be believed!).

9:53 PM

The "all important" exit polls are about to come out. As Jimmy Carr just said, "They are all important and when I say that, I mean not as important as the actual results." In a close election, do exit polls matter? Don't go to bed for this one, is my advice.

9:38 PM

Unlock Democracy has rated all the parties for their commitment to political reform, which ought to interest all those who were ever so slightly put out by MPs on the make.

The Lib Dems scored the highest on 81 points, calling as they are for electoral reform. Interestingly, The Conservatives were above Labour on 48.5 points (Labour scored 48 points which shows that they are really one and the same), while the BNP managed 7.5 points. What were they for, I wonder?


9:27 PM

Some 68 people have read this blog today, according to my site stats. I think that really means 20, as I have checked my stats 48 times.

9:21 PM

Jimmy Carr has just proven that you can't tell how someone votes by how they look, as he attempted to guess the way three people voted on Channel 4's Alternative election programme. I must say I tried to do this at the polling station, but guessed it wrong every time (I didn't really do this at the polling station - I just thought of doing it).

8:49 PM

I will abandon all references to Gordon Brown and domestic violence (see earlier) - unlike the editor of Zoo I am not blaming a "production error". But ultimately, I did decide to leave him - my memories of the attempt to extend detention without trial are still too fresh. Yet as I waited in line at the polling station, I started thinking of my unborn child that happened to be inside the woman who was standing next to me. No, not the returning officer, but my wife. The thought of this little person, banana-sized (but hopefully not shaped) steered me in a completely different voting direction. What will this planet be like for him or her, I thought? And who will stop Tescos in Streatham!? So I voted Green for local. Several Beatles songs have popped into my head. Funny that eh, Sir Paul.


8:35 PM

According to The Guardian's excellent live blog, the BBC's Martha Kearney has spilt the beans on her Twitter site. She quotes from a senior Labour source who estimates the Tories will get 310-320 seats while Labour will get 280. Wither Lib Dems?


8:22 PM

Well that was a long wait! There were at least 30 people in front of us. Ladbrokes have slashed the odds on a 70% turnout, unthinkable pre-debates but the norm for most post war elections. The conventional wisdom is that a big turnout will favour Labour, but history doesn't exactly support this. A 77% turnout helped John Major's Tories in 1992, and an 83% turnout ended Attlee's government in 1951.


7:25 PM

Better get down to the polling station - am enjoying blogging too much! Back in a mo

7:19 PM

My friend and former colleague James Marsh is one of the funniest people I have ever met. His blog is witty and, yes, rather silly. Take his poem about Gordon Brown:


You've just gone to ground,
Like a plane strewn with ash.
Come on Gordon, please something,
Just a policy rehash?
Why not fight back against airlines' caveat emptor,
By singeing their greed with your volcanic temper?



6:59 PM

Just had bubble and squeak for dinner - trying to find some link to politics. Too full up to find one. Although Paul McCartney is on the radio and for once he isn't singing, or in court. In fact he is showing far more creativity that any of the party leaders, by reiterating his call for a Meat-Free Monday to lower carbon emissions.

4:44 PM

We all wish UKIP's Nigel Farage a speedy recovery from his plane crash. Terrible business. We are also (well some people? oh just me then)wondering about the possibility of a sympathy vote. No one is suggesting the crash was an intentional ploy - let's get this straight.


4:08 PM

It's been an intense week so far, what with the race for fourth in the premiership. Now that's done and dusted, this lefty-Spurs fan was hoping for a bit of respite, a bit of certainty. Yet the final final opinion polls appear to show a narrowing, not a strengthening, of the Tory lead, making a hung parliament seemingly inevitable. I am still unsure whether these polls are correct - how could I be?

Yet perhaps Labour voters are indeed heeding Brown's call to come home (let's hope this is the case in Barking at any rate). I myself feel like a battered housewife who has had enough (not literally but metaphorically you understand), and has found a shoulder to cry on round Nick Clegg's place. I hear this was his style during his university days (30 women, wasn't it?). Yet deep down in my fast-ticking heart I will always love that bastard (Labour, not Gordon). I hope someday to return. This is, of course, really bad advice for victims of domestic abuse.


1:13 PM

My History students have given their predictions on how many seats The Tories will win. They need 326 for an outright majority.

Emma: 335
Angela: 320
Hanna: 310
Nora: 315
Aljosa: 300
Maymuna: 300
Shehla: 325
Marcos: 335
Rohan: 320
Thomas: 328
Davide: 305

I think Cameron will get a majority of 4-5 seats. While the opinion polls are predicting a hung parliament, their research in the marginal seats is less than adequate. The Ashcroft money spent in these 100 or so constituencies is bound to have an impact. Also, I feel the Lib Dem surge has been overplayed by the media. Ultimately, the party of Clegg is popular but not in the right places. There are two caveats I should add:

1) I am useless at predictions
2) I really don't want to be proved right

9:45 AM

A straw poll of my politics students reveal a strong Labour preference, with one or two exceptions. Will this help Andy Slaughter in Hammersmith, who is fighting for his political life against the right wing Tories? For more on what they would do if they got in, click on this link for The Conservative's record in this area. In order to reduce council tax, meals on wheels, youth centres and homeless shelters have all had their budgets cut. It reminds one of Kinnock's speech about Thatcher before the 1987 election:

If Margaret Thatcher wins on Thursday–

- I warn you not to be ordinary

- I warn you not to be young

- I warn you not to fall ill

- I warn you not to get old.

Why minority rule works for all

It's the inequality, stupid