This Is Not A
Date: 08/06/17 und so weiter...
Election Night Live Blog
As ever, start reading from the bottom up. There's a faint chance that things will make sense that way.
06:46: OK, I think this is where I bow out. There are seven seats left to declare and the Tories can now no longer get close to a majority.
The big story of the night is that Theresa May blew it spectacularly. From having a small but usable majority, she has reduced her party to - at best - a minority government. The implications for the impending start of negotiations over Brexit are clear enough; the EU will know it is dealing with a lame duck, and will harden their stance accordingly. It is difficult to see how May can stay in office, and then the question of the succession arises: would they really go for a buffoon like Johnson? Or would a generally inoffensive figure like Hammond be more useful to them?
Labour made some significant gains, but not enough to mount a real challenge. One thing it may well do is finally spike the Blairite remnants' guns by showing that it is possible to challenge the Tories from the left and do well. And think of what might have transpired if the majority of the Parliamentary Labour Party and its embedded pundits not been more concerned with stabbing their twice-elected leader in the back over the last couple of years.
The Liberal Democrats' 'revival' was always a bit of a long shot, and so it has proved. The gaining of only a handful of seats means that they will once again be bystanders, as they won't want to go into any agreement with the Tories again after what happened the last time.
Wales largely reverted to type, with Labour regaining a couple of their surprise losses from last time, the Tories holding on to the wealthier rural areas, Plaid generally flatlining yet again, almost losing Arfon but picking up Ceredigion again by the narrowest of margins, and the LibDems finally wiped out thereby.
Northern Ireland is now a two-party carve-up, with the DUP taking one of the Ulster Unionists' two seats and Sinn Féin taking the other, along with all of the SDLP's constituencies.
The results from Scotland were big news as well - as they were last time - but for very different reasons. When the exit poll showed the SNP losing 22 seats, I was extremely sceptical. But there seems to have been a combination of factors which led to them eventually losing 21.
It has to be said straight off that holding all the 56 they won in 2015 was never at all likely - that election was utterly sui generis. But what appears to have happened was a degree of switching which could be down partly to Labour voters, energised by the new spirit of the party under Corbyn, feeling that they could now actually support it again; LibDem voters feeling much the same about their party now that the malign influence of the Orange Bookers had been curtailed; and some areas - particularly in the Borders and the North East - simply reverting to type. The SNP's actual share of the vote did hold up well, but the combination of factors I referred to above (allied with what looks like tactical voting by Unionists in some seats), put them down to the point where they did get a majority of the seats, but not by much.
There were a few - but only a few - eyebrow-raising results: Labour taking Canterbury for the first time, the Tories grabbing Stoke-On-Trent South, and Fife North East being held by only two votes. Apart from that, it's much as you were.
I haven't had the chance to crunch the numbers yet - that may come during the weekend - but I get the impression that there are even more marginal (and more-marginal) seats than last time (when there were 125), which should make the next election more interesting still, especially if Labour can maintain its momentum and new-found coherence. That election could well come sooner rather than later, too.
Well, I'm going to have my tablets and my toast, and then I'm dragging myself off to bed.
If you've been watching all night, thank you very much and a very good morning to yez.
05:21: Ouch! Tories take Stoke-on-Trent South. Looks like another case of the KIPPers standing aside in a high-Brexit area.
05:14: I can now turn the light off and open the curtains on a new day. I've opened my cards and presents. One result left to come from Wales (Ceredigion) and four from Scotland, including Fife North East which I think has gone to a recount. All NornIrn declared now: DUP - 10, Sinn Féin - 7, Independent - 1.
05:05: Arse! Amber Rudd has squeaked (and that may be the mot juste) home by three-hundred-odd votes in Hastings & Rye, the home of (some of) my forebears.
05:01: Forget the first part of what I said at 04:44; I got my sums wrong, and the Tories would still need 322 for an outright majority. Well, it's late...
04:51: As the first bus of the day passes by, I send my commiserations to Philip Challinor who still has a Tory MP in Finchley & Golders Green, albeit by the narrowest of margins.
04:44: A couple of points need to be made regarding Northern Ireland: Firstly, Sinn Féin now have seven seats, which they will not take. That means that the Tories only need 313 to get a de facto overall majority. Secondly, the Tories won't be able to cut a deal for support with the DUP because they too will be excluded from being any use on 'English-only issues.
04:30: And that may mark the end of Alex Salmond's political career, as yet another seat in north east Scotland goes Tory. Salmond's pa died only a few days ago in his mid-nineties, so it's been a rough couple of weeks. He'll be missed.
04:27: There were rumours going around two or three hours ago that that stain on the male half of the human race Philip Davies had lost Shipley. Fake news, alas.
04:21: Now here's a bit of a surprise: the Tories take Mansfield. Looks like that big split of ex-UKIP votes I mentioned earlier, because Labour increased their share. The KIPpers are having a residual effect even from their being crushed. In fact, because they're being crushed.
04:12: Dawn is breaking. So is my bloody neck. Results are still coming in, of course, but there's nothing which seems to break from the pattern we've seen so far. Tories grabbing seats in Scotland (although, as someone pointed out, they won't be able to vote on a wide variety of 'English' laws in Westminster, and so will be of limited utility), the LibDems gaining some and losing others (most seats in the south-west of England and Cornwall still to declare), Labour gaining some useful ground (but, of course, nowhere near enough), the SNP losing many of the constituencies they won by surprise two years ago (but still getting a clear majority of the seats up there), and the total disappearance from the Commons not only of UKIP, but of the SDLP as well, with Sinn Féin taking all their seats. A summing up is still a long way off.
03:48: And it's goodnight from UKIP, as they lose Clacton by several thousand lengths.
03:34: Tim Farron holds his seat by a margin of just 777 votes. Should have been 666...
03:31: First result of the night where even seasoned election-watchers go, "What the fuck?": Labour have taken Canterbury on a huge swing! Student vote, by all accounts.
03:15: Labour have got Pa Broon's old seat back in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath. The SNP have dropped twelve so far, with a recount in Fife North West and Pete Wishart eventually holding Perth & North Perthshire by just 21 votes.
03:02: OK, we've had 40% of the seats declared, and I still can't see where all those Tory losses are coming from. They've only suffered a net loss of two so far, and a lot of their safest seats have yet to declare. Slightly baffling.
03:00: And Vince The Spiv is back in Twickenham.
02:57: Fuck, that was close! Iain Duncan Smith with 2500 of losing in Chingford & Woodford Green!
02:52: What's that they say about revenge being a dish best eaten cold? Well, put Nick Clegg in the freezer - Tory tactical voting couldn't save him this time!
02:49: Message to Philip Challinor re. 02:04: 'Iesgob annwyl' does indeed mean 'dear bishop', but it's what's known as a 'minced oath', covering for 'Iesu annwyl', which means 'dear Jesus'. The effects of puritanism have a long tail.
02:31: As expected. a comfortable win for Labour on Ynys Môn and - as in Llanelli - Plaid pushed into third place.
02:22: You do wonder about people sometimes. Angus Robertson, the most effective opposition party leader in the last parliament, loses Moray to the fucking Tories.
02:18: Predictable comfortable holds for Labour across South Wales, including Oily Smith and Ould Father Flynn. They can't grab Vale Of Glamorgan back, though.
02:12: Labour hold Ealing Central & Action - their second most marginal seat - with a 12.2% swing. Remainers' revenge?
02:09: Sigh...nutty Nadine Dorries is back.
02:04: Iesgob annwyl! Plaid come within 92 votes of losing Arfon! Arfon!?
01:59: Fairly comforable hold for Jonathan Edwards in Carmarthen East & Dinefwr, but with a slightly reduced majority which doesn't give much hope for Plaid gaining even Ynys Môn, let alone Ceredigion.
01:55: Tories hold Yeovil by a mile. No LibDem 'revival' there; they actually lost vote share.
01:50: There must be a huge amount of tactical voting going on in Scotland; the Tories have just taken Angus from the SNP, who had held the seat for years. News also of a recount in Perth & North Perthshire, where Pete Wishart had had a comfortable majority last time out.
01:48: Hello, second glass of Lambrusco!
01:45: I still have a Labour MP, I see: increased Labour majority, no longer quite a marginal seat. Labour also gain Vale Of Clwyd quite comfortably; first Tory loss of the night.
01:34: Good news! The feisty (am I allowed to use that word?) Mhairi Black has held Paisley & Renfrewshire North, but her majority halved.
01:32: Oh, bloody hell, Frank Field's back again!
01:26: Tories hold Swindon South, but with their majority more than halved.
01:20: And now the first in from Scotland, as Labour re-gains Rutherglen & Hamilton West from the SNP by a very narrow margin. The first seat to change parties tonight.
01:18: First in from NornIrn - Sylvia Hermon holds Down North, but with her majority slashed.
01:14: First results from Wales. Labour hold Wrexham with little change on 2015, and also hold Llanelli, with nuke-'em Nia Griffith increasing her majority. Shock here is Plaid dumped into third, well behind the Tories.
01:02: Three hours in, and no seat has changed hands yet.
00:56: We could be seeing a lot of recounts tonight. Reports that the odious Amber Rudd is on a knife-edge in Hastings & Rye, the Tories' 50th most marginal seat.
00:47: Looks like the former KIPper vote is breaking anywhere between 3:2 and 2:1 to the Tories.
00:39: Tories have held Nuneaton. majority virtually unchanged. Strong whispers from Scotland that the exit poll figures regarding SNP losses may be nearer the truth than I had hoped. No actual results from there yet, but it looks like massive tactical voting by unionists coupled with a 'Corbyn effect'.
00:27: The rebarbative Philip Hollobone returned for Kettering, but 2.4% swing to Labour. Dunno if the KIPpers put up someone here last time, but they've not stood a candidate this time round, presumably because the Tory candidate was sufficiently extreme for them.
00:14: None of those 'bellwether' seats yet. Either they're teasing us or there could be a good few recounts in the offing. In other news: my left shoulder is starting to ache already.
00:02: Newcastle-Upon-Tyne East - Labour comfortable hold, 7.2% swing Con to Lab. Lost KIPper deposit. First result outside of the North East: Tories comfortably hold Swindon North, but 3.7% swing from them to Labour.
00:00: June 9th. So...
23:48: At last! Sunderland Central - Labour hold, but 2.6% swing to Tories, almost certainly due to the KIPper vote collapsing here as well.
23:23: Last bus of the night has just gone past. I think they've given up in Sunderland...
23:13: Houghton & Sunderland South - comfortable for Labour, but a
7.8 3.5% swing Labour to Tory. UKIP vote collapses again.
23:08: Well that's peed on the Mackems' chips! Newcastle-Upon-Tyne Central declares first!
7.8 2.1% swing Tory to Labour, but meaningless for the wider picture. KIPpers and LibDems lose their deposits.
23:00: Come on, Sunderland, you're slacking! You had declared one of your constituencies by this time two years ago!
22:51: Glass of Lambrusco #1 poured and ready.
22:27: OK, while we're in that lull before the first result (and I suspect they're running around like silly buggers in Sunderland again), let me show you my set-up for the night.
I have five browser windows open. One is the version of this page on my PC. A second has the 'live' version of the page on the server, with tabs open for Philip Challinor's and Wings Over Scotland's Twitter feeds (Philip has, as ever, kindly tweeted a link to here). A third has the html validation page at W3C. Window number four has the BBC's results page, and a fifth ditto for the Guardian.
I also have Notepad++ open for me to update the page (like wot I'm doing now); my speadsheet of the results from 2015; and my ftp client.
22:13: Apparently, Dimbleby The Great says that there were 'technical difficulties' (unspecified) regarding the figures for Scotland, and a source (i.e., someone on Twitter) informs me that only 10 polling stations were sampled for the whole of Scotland.
22:08: To whom the hell are the SNP going to lose 22 seats?
Andrew Neil - one of the cadre of Tory sympathisers fronting the BBC's political coverage (along with Kuenssberg, Robinson and Marr) - said that he was looking forward to the bong at 10pm. I get the horrible feeling that we're all going to need a bong about once every hour tonight...
...And now the exit poll. Wow! Tories tipped to fall short of an overall majority! This might be an interesting night after all...
Preamble: Well, here we are again, lads and lasses. Just about all that could be done has been done, and it's now a matter of sitting back and waiting.
Despite what I may have predicted yesterday,
I find myself going in to this with feelings of despair. There has been sufficient evidence of late that the tendency of the electorate to vote against not only sense but against its own best interests has become pathological for me to suspect that we are in for a thoroughly dispiriting night of it. I don't think even being sustained by Lambrusco and Pringles is going to be enough to head off our doom.
Just to keep it on-topic, here are a few things we need to keep an eye on:
- If the Tories can hold on to seats like Derby North and gain seats like City of Chester, Ealing Central & Acton and Newcastle-Under-Lyme from Labour, then we are truly fucked before we've started.
- If Labour can take Tory-held seats down to, say, Southampton Itchen (28th most marginal), then we're in 'hung parliament' territory.
- What gains (if any) can be made by the Tories in Scotland, and to what extent will this be down to tactical voting amongst the Unionist vote?
- Whither the Liberal Democrats 'revival'?
- Where will the KIPper vote go? My guess is back to the Tories in central and southern England, and back to Labour in most of the post-industrial north.
We'll find out what the exit polls are saying in a few minutes' time. They've been pretty close to the mark over the last twenty years. Waiting is...