Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Save General Election Night


Calling all political geeks... which, if you read this, chances are, means you (with the probable exception of my mum).

Sunday Times from the weekend (6 Sept) reported that the counting of ballot papers for as many as one in four constituencies may now be counted on Friday instead of the traditional Thursday night... meaning a) we won't know the election winner until late Friday evening and b) it is the end of coverage as we know it.

As you well know, I love the old Election Night banter. Find me coverage of a Presidential election, a European Election or even a solitary (but in no way boring) by-election and I am there, crunching numbers, working out potential gains and losses based on wholly inaccurate uniform swings a la Peter Snow. Coverage of presenters not having a clue where to go next, candidates from different political parties trying to explain how the 6% swing away from them in the only result which has been announced is actually not bad news and expert analysis from academics like the wonderful John Curtice simply make election night what it is. It drives up interest in politics (albeit for one night only) and that engages the public with their politicians... they might even remember one or two names.

If its an issue of working hours, then it is surely quite simple to factor in an extra day off (say 9-5 on the Thursday of the election) before asking council workers to show up at 10pm to help with the count. Maybe even give them a half day on the Friday as well. This kind of thing happens once every 4 or 5 years - its not like its every week!

Anyway, there is cross-party support for the campaign to save the Thursday coverage. Scotland's Top Blogging MP Tom Harris, Jonathan Isaby of ConservativeHome and Mark Pack of Lib Dem Voice all pitched in with their support while Scotland's answer to... um... John Curtice (he's Scottish too - Ed) Will Patterson of J. Arthur MacNumpty lends his support too. Iain Dale has joined the cause and I'm expecting Scotland's resident poll watcher SNP Tactical Voting to join in at any moment as well.

I guess the suggestion is write to people, join the Facebook Group and generally make some noise about the subject so that those with the ability to change this "British" tradition change their minds.

I mean, what would an election be without election night? It's all about democracy and the people's choice you say? Don't be ridiculous...

2 comments:

WhatsEatingMeNow 8 September 2009 at 10:12  

Adopting my usual apathetic attitude, it's just a sad way for Brown and co to stay in power for one extra day. Given their track record, that's enough time to cause plenty of turmoil.

David Farrer 9 September 2009 at 07:27  

I expect that the votes of the next General Election have already been counted...

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