The votes were cast, collated and counted, and in the end we are still waiting to see what the political future of the United Kingdom is and who our next PM will be.
When I cast my vote yesterday it was late morning and on approaching the voting station was surprised to see nobody canvassing from any parties, and that there was a significant absence of any Conservative banners. Usually there are two or three volunteers out and about and the reason being the fact that Edinburgh East Burgh is a Labour stronghold. Last time out Labour won with 40% of the vote with the Lib Dems next on 24.4%, SNP on 17%, Tories no 10.3% and the rest making up the final 8.2% of legal votes cast.
By 4am it was clear that Labour had held my seat with a 3.4% increase while the Lib Dems dropped 5%, a story that has been replayed in many other constituencies gong against most predictions that the Lib Dem popularity surge would amount to anything.
In short, it wasn’t Nick Clegg’s night and nor was it the Tories. We have a hung parliament with 27 counts still to come in as I write.
The national picture is as follows:
- Conservative 294 seats
- Labour 251 seats
- Liberal Democrat 52 seats
- Scottish National Party 6 seats
- Plaid Cymru 3 seats
- Others 18 seats
When I went in to vote yesterday I was the only voter in the station. I went to the table, handed over my card and received my ballot paper. I went to a booth and read through the candidates, though I already knew who I was giving my vote to. I turned with my folded ballot paper and went to place it in the box nearest the door but the nice woman told me I had to put it in the other box relevant to where I got my paper.
For some reason I chose that point to turn and do a silly dance. Cue laughter. Then, as I was placing my paper in the ballot box, I told them I wish they would do these elections more often because I kept forgetting what to do. Cue more laughter before I disappeared out the door into cloudy Leith with a face still pink from Wednesday’s day in the sun.
With my part in the democratic process over I headed into town to run some errands and meet a couple of people. The void between voting and 10pm when the voting period ends and all the television programmes starts is an odd one. The news channels can’t report much for impartiality laws and the most exciting it gets is watching the party leaders cast their own votes.
At 10pm I tuned into the BBC and Twitter and there I stayed until 6am this morning, finally giving up when it really was apparent beyond doubt that a hung parliament was the reality. It was as frustrating as it was a strange night, with no tangible voting patterns or seat wins able to be definitively used to indicate a strong choice by the People.
So, we still await the results. The Liberal Democrats wants to talk to the Conservatives, as the party with the most seats, first, and Labour, using the line of the law as the still acting government, want to talk to the Lib Dems. A coalition seems unlikely between them, though, so either the lines are rubbished and an agreement comes to fruition or we do it all again. Brown could still easily be PM after this all finishes.
It also looks as though this cold be one heck of a drawn out affair; unable to be predicted and unsatisfying for those of us hoping for a definite result.
I’ve had 3 hours sleep and I’m shattered. The sun is out, though, and there is a strange anti-climactic feeling that nothing has really changed. Yet.
Peace and out!