I probably shouldn’t be writing this, after the amount of Stella I have been drinking tonight, and at this time of the night/morning, but time is pressing. Anything I write that is particularly stupid will be deleted in the morning, leaving only the plainly stupid to remain. What the hell; here I go.
As you may have noticed, I haven’t managed to do any live-blogging of the general election. It was never going to happen. I was watching the television coverage in bed by 1 am, and I was asleep by 3 am; so kudos to NoseMonkey, amongst others, who managed to cover the whole event. I hope their insomnia is soon cured.
Here in sunny Cheadle the LibDems managed to turn a tiny majority of 33 into a comfortable majority of 4,020. Bizarrely, in the most marginal seat in the country, the Con Club at the top of my road only put up their “Vote Conservative” posters last week. They really didn’t deserve to win here. It looks as if the LibDems won because of a collapse in the Labour vote. I really don’t understand this whole business of swings, though. The BBC website reports a 4.2% swing from Conservative to Liberal Democrats, when if you look at the figures, the Tories vote was largely static, while Labour voters switched to the LibDems (Cheadle is fucking weird, though; this time there was a swing to the LibDems; in 1992 the Tories increased their majority. Madness).
Across the country a similar story seems to have emerged. Labour has simply shed voters in all directions; they have done a starburst towards any other party. The war seems to have played a larger part in the election than I suspected it would, but Labour are still by far the largest party in parliament. There was never much doubt that Labour would form the government in this election, but next time it may not be so clear cut, and so it will be interesting to see if in the next election people still feel they can afford a protest vote against the government. Whatever people think of Blair, or the war, I don’t think that there is a feeling at the moment that people want to see the back of Labour, whereas in 1992 the country was thoroughly sick of the Tories and wanted them gone, they just lost their nerve in the polling booth; by 1997 nothing short of divine intervention could have saved them. In improving their share of the vote by just 0.6% this time it still doesn’t seem as if the nation is particularly enamoured with the Conservatives just yet.
Well done to Jon Chatfield by the way, an old college friend of mine, for increasing the LibDem vote in Cambridgeshire South East; I was in the land of nod, unfortunately, by the time that result came through. I was also sleeping for the exchange between the God-like Paxman and the twattish Galloway (no prizes for guessing which side I am on in this argument), but thanks to the wonder of the Internet you can watch it again (and again) here. Wherever you stand on the war, I think it is a terrible thing that Galloway has won in Bethnal Green and Bow; egos like his don’t need feeding any further. I would like to think that he has delusions of grandeur, but unlike Kilroy he actually does seem to have some supporters; and let’s face it, they are welcome to him. On a better note, I am happy that the deeply irritating television presenter Esther McVey has failed to win Wirral West. When I heard they were doing various recounts in the constituency I did hazard a guess that she had lost, but just couldn’t accept it. I don’t know the woman, so I may be doing her a disservice, but that is the way it appeared to me.
I mainly watched the coverage of the election on the BBC which was pretty good; I just wish they wouldn’t give Peter Snow so many electronic toys to play with. That graphic of the party leaders walking down Downing Street was totally embarrassing, and I don’t ever want to see it ever again. That said, whenever I flicked over to ITV or Sky (usually when Dead Ringers’ Jon Culshaw appeared on the screen) they also succumbed to the corny graphics; it must be obligatory in the media these days.
What now? Hopefully we will see the government taking more notice of parliament this time round. Blair I suppose will have some more of his “difficult decisions” to make for a while yet, but for how long? He has looked rattled and grumpy all campaign, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he just wants out now. Some have mentioned that he would like to see Britain through signing the EU Constitution, but as there is not a cat in hell’s chance of winning that referendum (that’s if another country hasn’t scuppered it by the time it gets to us) there is not much for him to hang around for. Perhaps he may stay long enough so he can hand the leadership over at a convenient time, so Brown can still call the next election during his own honeymoon period. I guess we will wait and see.
As he has not managed to get elected I suppose Jon Chatfield’s mind will be allowed to wander this weekend to the possibility that his beloved Everton could qualifying for the Champion’s League. I sincerely hope they do, for my many Everton acquaintances such as Jon (in Cambridge, via Weymouth), Mike (Cheadle Hulme, via Formby and Canberra), John (Wallasey) and AJE (the blogosphere). I think it is quite right that if the FA have four positions for the competition then they fill them with the top four teams in their premier competition. If UEFA want their champions to appear in their competition, they should change their rules. End of story.
Will City join them in Europe? Well, it is a tough call. By tomorrow the UEFA cup could be out of reach, a slim possibility, or even in our own hands since we play Middlesbrough in out last game. Whatever happens, I think Stuart Pearce has shown enough to get the job permanently. As was said on Occupied Country “all we are saying is give Pearce a chance”. Well, he has had his chance, and I actually feel more confident about City’s progress now than I have done for a while. Off hand, I can’t think of anyone I would prefer to be our manager.
And at the bottom of the table? Well apologies to Saints fans, but I really hope Southampton go down. It is about time. I never used to mind them; they used to have the Le Tissier for one thing; for another, they allowed my ultimate hero, Gio Kinkladze, to carve them open for this goal. However, the very same season that Kinky scored that goal Southampton and Coventry both stayed in the premiership on goal difference while we were relegated. The following season both clubs once more finished just above the relegation places, and I decided they were living on borrowed time. Employing Gordan Strachan as my emissary I despatched him to get both sides relegated. He worked wonders at Coventry, and when he left them for Southampton it all seemed to be falling into place. It was my idea for him to initially be successful at Southampton in order to avoid suspicion; but during the Saints’ “relegation year” he let it slip that he would be leaving at the end of the season; so he was sacked and Southampton survived. With luck, perhaps this season is the time that my thwarted ambitions are finally realised.
So, in this post we’ve had politics, and sport; what about Fimbles? Well, hopefully I will have a few weeks free from their annoying influence. I am off on holiday tomorrow for a fortnight; to Rumbling Bridge in Perthshire for a week, followed by a further week in Bowness on Windermere (picture above). Where I go, I hope Cbeebies can’t follow. As a consequence there will be no blogging from me for the next few weeks, unless I spot a passing Internet café by a lonely tarn, and even then…
I will see you all in a couple of weeks; take care, and look after yourselves.
PostScript: if you are unhappy about a Labour victory in the election, then just look at what you could have won, (via Shot By Both Sides). Not far from the truth, if you ask me (but did you?).