Even the veterans of British politics (and there were many up all night last night) couldn't predict what would happen. The media muscle in all it's glory (that includes the virtual fortress of Jeremy Vine!) could only tell you what would happen if....
And more than 24 hours later that's still what they're doing. This post isn't really about political analysis but more about my personal reflections of the night and how I surprised myself in staying up all night last night watching it and staying up all night tonight blogging about it.
But before I go on I have a confession. Having lived in the UK for the last three and a half years I must say British domestic politics bores the shit out of me! Apart from Andrew Marr (with whom I have a real fascination) and the governments' stance on immigrants (like myself), I'm bored out of my head with domestic news.
I don't really care about UKIP ,UCAS , Unite, U name it! And still don't know my Berkshire from my elbow! (I'm not proud of it...I'm simply admitting that some of it confuses me and the rest is watching paint dry.)
BUT BUT BUT, last night was different. Actually the whole of last month was different. Thanks mainly to the PM debates. Suddenly there was a real race, the three men were... well, just that men, human. People whose policies we could discuss to our hearts' content but really, you just wanted to watch what they did, how they responded to each other and which one was going to make the first gaffe (ehemm Mr.Brown that would be you!)
And then came election night. The BBC's star cast pulled an all nighter to make sense of the results as they happen and to announce the potential resident of 10 Downing Street. As the night went on and the results came in ,things got quite unpredictable.
With each result announced, it became clear that there were no real winners. Oh, except (in my view) the Green Party's Caroline Lucas in Brighton (Parliaments first ever Green Party MP) and Labour's Margaret Hodge in Barking (eat your heart out Nick Griffin).
By the next morning this much was clear. It was an election of failures:
- Labour lost 91 seats in parliament with only 258 it manged to grasp.
- The Conservatives gained 97 seats but failed to get a majority with only 306 seats. 20 seats short of being able to form a government.
- The Lib Dems..Oh the Lib dems! They were the biggest disappointment of the night. Not only did they not manage to cash in on the Cleggmania and gain a larger more proprtionate existence in parliament, they actually LOST 5 seats ending up with only 57.
Frankly this is the first ever British election I consciously follow. When Blair made history in 1997 I was more worried about being fat, my summer vacation wardrobe and whether the gang back in Alexandria would welcome me back or if I'd been officially ousted because I'd moved to Doha. Thirteen years later and I'm still worried about being fat. Oh! and about the outcome of this election.
Last night was more about that feeling I had when Obama was elected (not comparing the man's charisma or the night's outcome!) But the feeling that was a part of something big that I was watching (tweeting and facebooking) a new page in the history of this country. Even though I didn't vote, I haven't been here long enough, I still felt curious and anxious to know how this was going to turn out. But like everyone else I'm left to wait.
Just before I go,my own highs and lows:
My highs of the night: C4 and The Two Jeremies!
- Jeremy Paxman. Loved him , loved him , loved him! He was animated as always but a lot less scary.
- Jeremy Vine and his virtual bubble! Loved the dominoes, the tiles and the UK map floor!
- Channel 4's Alternative Election night.(Charlie Brooker's bits to be specific)
My lows: Gosh where do I start?
- Bruce Forsyth with Andrew Neil in his first 'Thames' segment! CRINGE , CRINGE!!
- People queueing up and not being able to vote.
- Sleep depraved TV giants and experts at the crack of dawn not being able to tell us where the hell all of this was going.
- My left wisdom tooth deciding to be a bitch and swell in the midst of all this action. Pain like that needs a name of its own BTW!!