Friday, 13 December 2019

Election 2019 - The Legendary Liveblog

Legendary in my own mind, I mean.  All times are NZ, which is an hour

10.00am (NZ) There's about an hour to go until the exit poll is released.  At that point, half of the British voting public will devastated, and the other half celebrating wildly.  Unless everyone is simply confused.

Turnout seems to have been exceptionally high around the country, which should favour Labour. But the bookies are saying they think a Tory majority is on the cards; we'll see about that. Excitingly, there are rumours that Boris Johnson may be in trouble.
Serves him right for not voting in his own constituency.

10.00am (NZ)  Owen Jones has been incredible during the campaign, a dynamo of optimism and energy. And he's still going:

10.34 (NZ)  Half an hour to go!

Here's a list of potential Labour gains (not compiled by me - I'm too lazy. I just nicked it from @centrist_phone.)

  • Milton Keynes North
  • Milton Keynes South
  • Chingford and Wood Green
  • Hendon
  • Putney
  • Hastings
  • Reading West
  • South Swindon
  • Norwich North
  • Vale of Glamorgan

What other seats should we be keeping an eye on?

  • Workington - Labour may be in trouble here.
  • Wrexham - Labour may be in trouble here.
  • Grimsby - Tories are claiming they might have nicked this from Labour.

And of course, Uxbridge and South Ruislip.

10.39 (NZ)  Watching t' 'lection on Novara Media, with the awesome Ash Sarkar.

10.53 (NZ)  The editor of the Sun is worried:

10.57 (NZ)  Exit poll imminent.  I am VERY NERVOUS. My rating of Labour's overall performance:
30-32 - Dismal
33-34 - Poor
35- 36 - Adequate
37-38 - Looking good
39-40 - Exceptional
10.00 (NZ)  Tories 368, Labour 191 ... No way.

11.06 (NZ)  Either I will be hailed as a genius tomorrow, or John Curtice will be. But we can't both be.

11.16 (NZ)  The deflation and pain in the Novara live-stream is awful to behold. I want to give them all a hug. And they've got to spend the next two hours talking about this cold vomit exit poll before the results start coming in. I feel for them.

11.43 (NZ)  So I won't be drawing your attention to my earlier prediction that Labour will be the largest party in a hung parliament just yet ...

11.46 (NZ)  Of course Corbyn has to go if the exit poll is validated. The question is ... who replaces him? None of the usual candidates inspire me in the slightest. Though as a left winger in New Zealand, my desires may not be the ones the party needs to consider.

11.55 (NZ)  At least Chukka Umunna might not win a seat. The exit poll is a big ass dark and stormy cloud, but I can discern that much of a silver lining.

12.15 (NZ)  Initial vote share puts Labour on 32% ... 'Dismal' according to my schedule, above. Maybe if there is something after the decimal point it will sneak into the 'Poor.' Tories being given a 'Better than Blair' 46%. Hard to fathom.

12.20 (NZ)  First result was supposed to by Blyth Valley, which had a 7K majority in 2017. Apparently it has been delayed for a recount, which is stunning. I think Labour is going to get thrashed in Leave areas, which indicates the people who insisted that the party had to be more Remainy were wrong.

12.25 (NZ)  Socialism is essentially about feeling empathy and sympathy for your fellow human creatures; I guess I'm getting a taste of how Conservative supporters must have felt in 2017.

12.30 (NZ)  First result in:

Lab Hold - Majority 12278
Swing 3.5% from Lab to Con

Lab 21568
Con 9290
LibDem 2709
BRX 2542
Grn 1365

A swing of 3.5% doesn't seem too bad, under the circumstances.

12.31(NZ)  Oh, wait a minute ... Houghton and Sunderland South in.  Labour hold but vote down by 18%. Staggering.

12.41 (NZ)  Blyth Valley turns blue for the first time in its history. The Brexit Party took over 3000 votes, primarily from Labour, I suspect. Labour's policy was morally right but politically unpalatable, it seems. Farage standing against Labour but not against the Tories probably hurt Labour critically in places like Blyth. It gave the voters somewhere they could waste there vote by voting for Brexit without endorsing the Tories.

12.56 (NZ) 
 It looks like the Lib Dems are going to be eradicated in Scotland (bye, PM Jo!) and may suffer elsewhere.  Perhaps they need to consider - seriously - whether they should continue.  Unlike some, I don't hate the Lib Dems.  I voted for them in 1992, in my very first election.  But I can't see a place for them as long as we have FPTP.  All they've done since the 1980s is enabling Conservative governments, either directly or indirectly.

13.12 (NZ)  Sunderland Central duly reports for Labour, but with its majority cut by 6,000.  The Brexit Party took 5000 votes.  Anyone with a majority of under 7K could be in danger tonight.  Anyone in Labour, I mean.

14.51 (NZ)  Sorry, had to pause the live blog to look for my son's missing glasses.  Which remain undiscovered.  Not that there seems to be much of a purpose in continuing as the exit poll seems to have been proved heinously correct. I always wondered what 1997 felt like from a Tories' point of view. Might have a bit of an idea now. Wither now for Labour? THe narrative that will be driven is that it is all the problems lie with Corbyn. He'll have to go - he's had two shots and gone backwards - but I don't think it is fair or true to blame this disaster on Corbynism. Yeah, he had a history that made it easy for the media to portray him as a monster. But any Labour leader would have been thoroughly monstered; they always are. Even Blair got the treatment. And Corbyn's history didn't seem to be a problem in 2017. Given the loss in Labour's vote share are pretty much matched by the BXP gains and the seats being lost are leave areas, it sees to be the poison of Brexit is still potent.

15.00 (NZ)  I don't think there will be many of these tonight so let's celebrate the Great Victory in Putney.

15.03 (NZ) But at the same time, Andy Burnham's old seat of Leigh goes blue - and again the BXP vote share equals the difference between the Conservative and Labour candidates.

15.26 (NZ)  The knives will be out for Corbyn (who will go), Corbynism and Momentum in a big way.  But here's a think - Jeremy Corbyn is not the leader of the Lib Dems, yet they look likely to have as bad a night as Labour, and it looks likely Jo Swinson is going to lose her seat.

Brexit was a massive factor in this disaster.

15.38 (NZ)  Tim Farron holds his seat to get the Lib Dems on the board!  So at least they can have a leader once the dust settles.

15.53 (NZ)  Dan Jarvis holds on in Barnsley Central, but his majority is shredded. Corbyn and Corbynism was not poison in 2017. The only significant change has been the party's shift towards a more Remain aligned policy. That opened the door for Labour Leavers to ... um ... leave. The BXP got 11,000 votes in Barnsley. It isn't down to them not liking Corbyn or the manifesto. They liked him well enough in 2017 - Labour had a majority of 15,000 then. What is the message they are sending? They voted for the Brexit Party because they were sick of Brexit and (stupidly) wanted it done. Labour compromised and offered an opening which the Conservatives and BXP exploited ruthlessly - "Get Brexit done," repeated endlessly.

16.05 (NZ)  Labour lose in Heywood and Middleton, and again the BXP vote is the difference between a Labour win and a Tory win.

16.15 (NZ)  This chart, produced by Professor Will Jennings, shows the correlation between tendency to support Leave in the referendum and increases in Conservative support.

This was about Brexit.

16.18 (NZ)  The Lib Dems take Richmond Park, rendering Zac Goldsmith unemployed.  That's good.

And it means the Lib Dems can have a proper leadership contest, instead of just having to give Tim Farron his old job back.

17.30 (NZ)  Tories reclaim Kensington, the constituency where the Grenfell Tower fire took place.  They won by 150 votes from Labour, with the Lib Dems in third place, hogging over 9,000 votes.  I think that is a suitable symbolic point to end this dispiriting live blog, with the Lib Dems handing the Tories a victory in the shadow of Grenfell.

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