The Election From a Students’ Union…

Hi Everyone,

Tonight is the General Election in the UK and I am going to attempt (and only attempt) to blog this event from the Students’ Union Bar of the University of Southampton… I’m on my way in shortly and all hell… as these unplanned events always end up… will break loose!!!


19:43  –  OK so i’m in the Stags Head… but we have a problem… there are no plugs anywhere… so my laptop is soon to die… hopefully this can be resolved somehow, we shall see.

20:02  –  Problem Solved… and just in time too… only 15 minutes of charge left before laptop death and the event is about to begin… at least for SUSU, we’ve got another two hours before the polls close; so if you haven’t voted yet get out and DO SO!!! Don’t loose your voice to the abyss!

20:10  –  Just as an aside… has anyone noticed the Election Counter is going fairly quickly now that the polls closure is drawing near? 38,000 in an hour; seems quick to me! opinions welcome.

20:33  –  Things are starting to get atmospheric, the bunting’s up and the people are trickling in slightly more slowly now… let the partying begin!

21:00  –  one of the Politics Lecturers is up on stage having just been introduced by the President of the Southampton University Politics Association, he’s giving a small and frankly incomprehensible speech (they need to turn the mike up) about the election in general, the unusual amount of interest this time around and making some vague but telling predictions at the now distant hope of a Conservative Majority at 6 a.m. tomorrow! There’s going to be a Q & A when the speech is over and I think it could be a good one!

21:17  –  Well he’s still up and talking, that’s the good news… but unfortunately due to a significantly large number of people talking far too loudly and the mike issue I cannot hear a word despite being only 20 feet away!

21:23  –  He’s off stage now… and the SUPA people are now chattering amongst themselves.

21:35  –  OK so we’ve got 25 minutes to go and now it’s the chance of what I am in my naivety going to call a “Punk Rock Band” to entertain us with their noise… oh joy for the ear drums… Bring on Dimbleby!!!

21:55  –  5 Minutes till the Endgame begins! The first thing to come out will be the Exit Poll at 22:00…. only time will tell.

22:01  –  First Exit Poll @ 10 p.m.: Con: 307 | Lab: 255 | LibDem: 59 | Other: 29 seats => not enough for a Majority, we have a prediction of a Hung Parliament at present with the Cons trailing the Magic number by 19 seats! Labour currently banking on a Lib-Lab Coalition.

22:17  –  We’re now waiting on the first result… which is due to arrive with us at 22:40. Time is ticking! Paxman is pressing the Lib Dem on TV for an answer to “would you ally with Labour to keep the Tories out” and the good old Liberal is sticking to the party line!

22:52  –  First Result: Houghton & Sunderland South => Labour take it with a 11,000 majority. Howver it’s a  8.4% swing in favour of the Cons none-the-less. There were cheers and boos in equal measure from the student population here however it soon settled back down to quaffing alcohol and engaging in discourse…

23:15  –  Exit Polls have now been revised to take account of larger than expected swing: Con 305 | Labour 255 | Lib Dems 61 | others 29. => Prediction Remains a Hung Parliament… Students remain excitable despite this. Next result due from Washington and Sunderland West now….

23:26  –  Labour Have It! 11.6% swing to Con… Blimey… that’s better than Thatcher in 1978!!! That’s put a slight damper on the Labour supporters in the room.

23:37  –  Sunderland Central Result due now… the result is: Labour again, but with a much lower mandate, only ~7000 votes in it, only a 4.8% swing here. So where will be next to announce?

23:50  –  Given the variously strange and hugely different responses to the queuing at polling stations nation-wide, I wouldn’t be surprised if the legal wrangling for months and many will be disputing the legality of the election result.

00:00  –  now awaiting the announcement of the next results… 5 constituencies in total.

00:34  –  still waiting… much chit chat amongst TV pannellists and drunken students alike about what will happen if x, y or z happens… let’s just wait and see.

00:39  –  Democracy is AWESOME! The Stag’s Head is rammed full of people who care about the election and our future government, let’s hope this is a scene repeated in SU’s all over the country. Ans as I type Sinn Fein have won a Northern Ireland seat as have the DUP.

00:48  –  First Liberal Democrat seat in Thornbury & Yate, of the 9 seats now announced, the numbers are 5 labour, 1 Lib Dem and 3 to other parties. Added to all this, the DUP have been decapitated… with Peter Robinson loosing his seat.

00:59  –  This is shaping up to be a very, very interesting election… with 11 seats now called and our first Labour Loss – to Plaid Cymru.

01:03  –  First Conservative win of the night in Skidmore with a swing of 9.4% and taken from the Labour Party. Added to which this is target seat #134… well above the level needed for a majority parliament.

01:12  –  Liberal Democrats win Torbay with a ~4000 vote majority. The mood in the room here is fantastic… with people showing real camaraderie no matter who they support, and only the friendliest of booing… and now the Conservatives hold Putney with a 10,000 majority, and simultaneously lose a seat to an ex-conservative standing and independent.

01:28  –  It’s now at the point where I cannot keep up with the announcements as they come in… suffice to say that these results are still very interesting and despite the swings all over the place, it’s still wide open and too close to call!

01:41  –  Gordon Brown holds Kirkaldy, increasing his majority in the process.

01:50  –  Returning officers blaming large numbers of students turning out to vote… understandably negative student reaction here in SUSU. At the end of the day… there is a reason why we have the Electoral Roll is so that you can PREPARE for everyone turning up. If the returning officers think that blaming high turnout for inefficiency and pure incompetance they have another think coming! Ben Bradshaw holds Exeter for Labour… maintaining a small island of red in a sea of blue!

02:20  –  Current Seat Numbers Lab: 45 | Cons: 30 | Lib Dem: 5 | Others: 13 |  it’s still all to play for at present… The stags has died down to just the hard core politicians and I, but we’ve settled in for the duration and are enjoying the banter!

02:50  –  A very interesting set of events now as the Tories are catching up with Labour over time, and there’s a Re-count taking place in Birmingham Edgbaston. To add to a set of several interesting circumstances Lembit Öpik has lost one of the safest Lib-Dem seats in the country… which is a shame as Lembit Öpik is a jolly nice (if a little weird) chap!

03:11  –  I think now it may… but only may… be safe to call this election for a hung parliament… that’s the way I am seeing it going at the moment at any rate.

03:34  –  It’s getting fairly slow in SUSU now… people are flagging and getting tired, we’re going to get thrown out at 4 a.m. so I’m getting ready to pack up and head back to Portswood… I may continue this upon my return but given it’ll just me me I might not… we’ll see.

04:45  –  It’s now a quarter to 5 in the morning and this election is looking like it’s pretty much sold. So with that and a highly disenfranchised view of the public and a Lib Dem missed opportunity on my mind, I’m retiring to bed, to be awoken tomorrow to a new Government in whitehall.


Ben Brooks

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EDIT: See my Follow Up posts: 09/05/10 , 10/05/10 , 12/05/10

1 thought on “The Election From a Students’ Union…

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