December 12th/13th 2019
7.11pm - Election day is here, and as ever I will be up through the night, watching the coverage and live-blogging for your reading pleasure. If it's anything like previous elections, there will be a great deal of excitement at 10pm, followed by several hours of nothing happening other than bleary-eyed politicians and broadcasters slowly going mad. I love it. In this, the most dispriting of all general elections, at least we can all sit back and enjoy third rate computer graphics and meaningless soundbites at three in the morning. Before that, though, I've got a curry to eat and Wolves v. Besiktas to watch. See you in a few hours!
9.55pm - Right. Voting closes in just a few minutes, and I'm ready to go: a tube of Pringles and three bags of sweets to keep me going through the night. Before the Wolves match started I had a couple of hours of sleep, so hopefully I'll stay relatively awake into the small hours. Speaking of Wolves, it was a glorious 4-0 victory: the match was goalless when Diogo Jota came on in the 56th minute, and 13 minutes later we were four goals up with Jota scoring three of them. Astonishing stuff. I have a feeling that the big result tonight won't be quite so one-sided.
9.58pm - Jeremy Vine is in fake Downing Street, always a personal highlight, and they've taken the trouble to put a Christmas tree and a wreath in the picture. Did anyone think of the BBC graphics department when they agreed to a December election? Or did they consider my heating bill? Staying up all night when it's cold is gonna be tricky. We have the first shot of Northumberland reckoning they can count slips in less than 44 minutes, and if anyone wondered whether Professor or Sir comes first, Huw Edwards has come to our rescue: it's Professor Sir John Curtice. Someone write that down.
10.03pm - The exit poll is here, and it says an 86 seat Tory majority! Astonishing. 191 seats predicted for Corbyn, the worst in modern times. Woah. I'm glad that I didn't go public with my prediction of hung parliament. The exit poll has been almost spot on in the last couple of elections, so - while we will now get hours of anybody and everybody saying that it's just an exit poll, too early to say anything, blah blah blah - this looks like a huge evening. I'm not going to get too party-political tonight, but I've made no secret of my distaste for Corbyn, and hopefully this will see him and his ilk off.
10.08pm - 13 seats for Lib Dems. Jo Swinson's one-woman "I'm your next Prime Minister" campaign looks to have achieved very little. A bit of a surprise, I would have thought she'd have swept up the Remain vote. No Brexit Party seats predicted, which is less of a surprise - it will be interesting to see what their voting share ended up being. And, as various Twitter people have pointed out, the 55 seats for SNP mean that Tories must have had a stonking result in England.
10.13pm - I expect I'll mostly be watching BBC tonight, but Channel 4 is proving great value at the moment. Stanley Johnson (who may or may not be tipsy) says that Boris is pro-European - as evidenced by the multiple European derivations of his middle names; comedian Katherine Ryan has asked him if it's fair to say that babies don't name themselves. Amber Rudd and Tom Watson have been encouraged to text their old party friends ("I still have a few" says Amber). Shami Chakrabarti - who memorably exonerated Labour from anti-semitism allegations, before being given a Labour peerage - says that the Tories represent scary far-right politics. Amber leaps to the defence of her purgers. Wow. It's usually much later in the night before I start making up words. Anyway, StaJo has chucked in a reference to the Augean Stables so Channel 4 is clearly on an educational binge.
10.21pm - Brenda (Bristol's most famous resident) probably isn't happy about having another election, but I'll tell you who is: Huw Edwards. He had to wait patiently while David Dimbleby doddered on for at least one more election than he really should have done, but now it's Edwards' time to shine. He may possibly be a little put out that Katherine Ryan has got a hosting gig at the same time - arguably her credentials are not so strong - but so far is playing a straight bat. Andrew Neil is also in the studio, currently grilling a very sad-looking John McDonnell, and perhaps overplaying his hand by suggesting that Labour have already lost the 2024 election. Polls aren't that good, are they? At the rate we've been having elections of late, Labour may have lost another dozen or so general elections by 2024. McDonnell has claimed "the centre is where we are"... that's... quite something. Neil's asking if Labour should stick with Corbynism and McDonnell is very much not answering him.
10.34pm - Huw Edwards has definitely had a haircut for this. Over on ITV, Tom Bradby is talking to Dawn Butler and she's giving the same lines as McDonnell: refusing to say whether or not Corbyn should go, and saying that the loss of seats is due to Brexit. Dawn is also making good use of the "it's too early to say" argument. What it's nearly not too early to say - work with me, here - is which constituency has counted the voting papers the fastest. My friend James has got in touch to say it's the derby of the season, Toon vs Mackems (despite the occasional pledge never to follow Newcastle United ever again, James is the former) - but the BBC is in Blyth Valley looking for a shock result there. You can almost hear the papers flipping. Over on Channel 4, Rylan is interviewing audience members. Yes, Rylan. He seems confused by one of them describing himself as a "Cameroon". It doesn't seem fair on the poor boy.
10.40pm - Nick Robinson is at the Islington count, but Red Jez isn't. Nick says that Corbyn will have to quit - I agree with Nick - and is looking forward to Emily Thornberry making a speech. Huw is now giving us some social media updates (tweets from Jess Phillips and Richard Burgon, helpfully dated 12 December in case we were wondering) and, unlike the Great Dimble, seems to understand what social media is. All seems a trifle low energy at the BBC - perhaps because I'm occasionally flicking to Channel 4, which is nuts - and so far there's been minimal Jeremy Vine. Over on ITV, James "Billy No" Mates has been sent off to Brussels to stand near some desks. The camera feed is a little shaky... is the first stage of Getting Brexit Done to unplug the cameras? No photons across our borders, Johnny Foreigner!
10.46pm - George Osborne & Ed Balls have been reunited for the ITV coverage after some strong work in 2017, but to be honest I'm finding their Scotland talk a little dull. Osborne just said "gradualist", so I switched back to BBC and - for some reason - they're asking random members of the public about whether they were expecting the result. "I'm overwhelmingly happy" says a bored-sounding woman, who is both Jewish and a fan of Brexit. Naga is in Blyth Valley, where the Beeb sent her in secret (!) so that other broadcasters wouldn't scoop them to the first result. The record has not been broken, though, as 44 minutes has been and gone. It appears that the BBC has exit poll results by constituency... can we get that anywhere?
10.53pm - ... yes, just this second I've been sent a push notification from the BBC telling me that I can. And Huw's telling us all about it as well. Bristol North West is too close to forecast: 55% chance of Labour hold, 45% chance of Conservative gain. Indeed, bucking the national trend, it looks like all four of Bristol's seats will stay Labour: probabilities for the other three are 80%, 96% and 99%+. The BBC website seems to be struggling under the strain. Over to Edinburgh - "What's going on there?" / "The count is going on here. We're waiting to find out the result" - it's illuminating stuff. Anyway, check out your constituency right here.
11.00pm - Farage is crossing swords with Andrew Neil and - when it's put to him that the Brexit party have won no seats - he's surprisingly willing to accept that statement. Hasn't he got the memo that no one should admit the exit poll is accurate until 2am at the earliest? Farage hasn't committed himself to political retirement just yet, as ever pretending that he doesn't want to be in the spotlight but just has to (cue the noble music) do his duty by his country. He's making the preposterous claim that, had the Brexit party stood in every seat, it would be a hung parliament. Apparently Farage is off to the USA - he's smirkingly saying he'll help Trump if asked - but there's still time to push for voting reform in the UK in his spare time. An unlikely Lib Dem / Farage alliance on that one. Who says that Brexit won't bring the country together? Over in Blyth Valley - "That's Blyth Valley, isn't it?" - people are wandering around slowly. Where's the urgency, guys? Blyth by name. (Note to self: check what 'blithe' means and if this joke works).
11.13pm - The ghost of Tory Party Recent Past on ITV, as Ruth Davidson & Fiona Hill are in the studio. This makes me realise I've never heard Fiona Hill speak before. And I'm not getting much chance now - it's all Ruth, and ITV are back talking about Scotland. 55 SNP seats does mean another push for indyref 2, but Boris has been clear that that's not going to happen (after all that nonsense he said about a Labour government meaning two referenda in 2020, he surely wouldn't dare). As a Standard Life employee, I have to keep a weather eye on these things. Back on the BBC and it's split screen so we can see crowds forming in Blyth Valley. No word from Newcastle or Sunderland - surely they're not out of the running yet? Disaster, though, as it's Naga's sad duty to report that Blyth Valley may well have to have a recount. And apparently there weren't enough postal votes. Or something. Also the first technical issue, as Naga said "I can hear you" shortly before saying that she couldn't. It's a rollercoaster tonight.
11.21pm - Mark Francois, who is an idiot, has compared the Tory victory with the fall of the Berlin Wall. Andrew Neil does some lovely side-eye to the camera. I've been channel-hopping, but so far seen no sign of the ProfesSir (yes, it's come to the time of night already where I try to make up nicknames). Peston, on ITV, says he'd recently been talking to someone that he's "pretty sure" was Nicola Sturgeon. Good to have the expert view. It's odd just how much ITV is harping on about Scotland tonight; it really isn't the big story here. "None of us are lawyers" says Tom Bradby to George Osborne, who probably moonlights as one. Some chap called Colin confirms that Blyth Valley are indeed recounting - Tom thinks it's now due at 4am, but that can't be right - and I'm excited to see a Colin and a Thomas in the studio. Bring in a James and you've got my whole name. Colin says that "Brexit wasn't controversial in 2017". Nailing this, guys.
11.24pm - This blog is, of course, your one-stop shop for electoral coverage, but I'd like to bring in a correspondent from the younger generation. Here's some analysis from Olivia, whose Mum is hard at work with the BBC through the night. Watch out, Huw, the kids are coming.
11.32pm - Justine Greening has appeared to say that she "grew up in a constituency that voted to leave Rotherham". Pause for punctuation, Justine. And we have our first result! Newcastle Central has declared, taking about twice as long as record time, and (as always) it's a big Labour win. Congrats to Chi Onwurah, who makes the accurate - if tongue-in-cheek - claim that the entire British government is now Labour. As soon as she's done, we're over to Sunderland and the Lib Dem is wearing a Sunderland FC shirt, the biggest rosette, and loser's smile (common among people in Sunderland shirts): it's, of course, a Labour win. And there's a lesser-spotted UKIP candidate! Finally, taking bronze, it's Blyth Valley. Not sure what all that 4am nonsense was about. And the Conservatives have won it! There's mad cheering at the count, and an unfortunate angle of wave from the victorious Tory candidate - remember, all winners, if in doubt don't put your right arm out at anything close to 45 degrees - and this is a hugely significant moment. The red wall is falling.
11.41pm - According to Simon on Twitter, I've missed Rory Stewart asking Rachel Johnson if she's ever kissed her brother "not in a weird way". Channel 4 is where it's all happening, apparently. I've hopped across to see Rylan interviewing a man who is clearly Father Christmas. He's wearing a purple suit, he apparently was once involved with UKIP "ish" (Rylan isn't delving into that. I suspect he won't make an investigative reporter) and voted for Remain. Baffling. The audience is rather partisan over on Channel 4, applauding any mention of Labour and giving the Tories an occasional boo. Dave Baddiel has rocked up in a t-shirt and unkempt hair, and Rachel Johnson is eager for him to say Corbyn should resign. Not sure why she cares what the co-writer of Three Lions (aka Football's Coming Home) thinks about the Labour leadership, but I've got a feeling that nothing on Channel 4 is going to make sense tonight. Back on the BBC, and the ProfesSir is back! His hair is more kempt than Baddiel's, but only because there isn't much of it. Caveats about Scotland: if the exit poll is wrong, that's where it's wrong - he doesn't seem to have explained why, but possibly because the exit pollsters couldn't understand what the Scots were saying. I know how they feel.
11.55pm - Impersonation in Paisley! Live from Glasgow, we're hearing there's a possibility of Nicola Sturgeon going into the 50s. I've checked Wikipedia, guys, and she's going into her 50s on 19 July next year. Over to Belfast and the camera feed disappears briefly, cutting off a DUP guy with a big tie and a distasteful moustache. On ITV we have Nina Hossain showing her knees rather more than I was expecting. I kinda want to call her Kneena. Is that sexist? I hope not. Another channel-hop and Krishnan says that Rachel Johnson "came from the same... place" as Boris. Eurgh. There's some partisan anti-Brexit stuff from a separate Channel 4 studio where the host (don't know his name and I've reached the point in the evening where I'm not going to bother checking them all) has got absolutely zero laughs from his intro monologue. Maybe the audience are too depressed. Henning Berg - "the best and only German comedian" - states confidently that England will not be wiped from the map. Phew! Speaking of maps, the BBC have brought out their Britain-of-hexagons again, which will be manually updated as the night goes on. Not much for them to do so far, but I hope they didn't waste too much money on light-blue Brexit Party hexagons. Brexagons.
12.09am - My MP, Darren Jones, has tweeted: "I'm not going to start the blame game. The bottom line is that a political party exists to win elections, in order to change the country. We have to be honest about why we lost and be better." Looks like he's not reading from the official party line - leaked to Andrew Neil - that this was a Brexit election. We all know Corbyn is at fault, and Darren knows it too. Kate Hoey - who, Hugo Rifkind has pointed out on Twitter, looks like Mick Jagger - reckons that John McDonnell is more to blame than Corbyn. I might start keeping count of the number of people who call him John McDonald tonight, though, and Hoey is the second so far. Robert Peston is chatting away again and has revealed to the ITV audience that Jeremy Corbyn has not led the Labour party into government. Huge if true. In Sunderland Central it's now Sunderland 2-1 Newcastle, but in this game it's the first one that counts and no one much cares who comes fourth. Ask Plaid Cymru. "Julie Elliott has been Julie elected" says the official chappie - and it's an interesting one where the Brexit Party took 11% of the vote and arguably cost the Tories a win... or possibly nearly delivered them a victory. Ed Balls thinks the latter (as does, I guess, everyone else) because of the ex-Labour voters who refuse to switch to the Tories but don't mind joining Farage's gang.
12.18am - Things getting particularly tasty in the BBC studios, where there's a straight-up fist-fight... no, sorry, I accidentally switched to Lethal Weapon 2 on ITV4. Having actually made it to the BBC, and it seems Huw had it in his contract that they have to talk about Wales. Delyn. Is that in Wales? Sounds Welsh. I have a theory that they start making up constituencies once midnight has come and gone, so perhaps that's the first one of the evening. Ever wondered which constituency Huw Edwards was born in? Bridgend, he has confirmed, and he's sounding more excited by the second as this Wales talk continues. Welsh correspondent Sian Lloyd (the non-Lembit one) has said something about the Vale of Cloid (Cloyd? Clloyd? Cloide? Impossible to know), so it sounds like made-up constituencies are now coming thick and fast. Over to Channel 4 and Andy Davies is in Wrexham. Have we stumbled into Wales hour? At least that one's real.
12.31am - Nish (who was great on Taskmaster) has joined fellow Taskmaster alum Katherine Ryan on Channel 4, and he's taking the Labour party line that this election defeat doesn't necessarily reflect badly on Corbyn. Tom Watson, thinner by the second, is dressed like Steve Jobs and sounds as sad as I've ever heard anyone sound. Thin people aren't happy, and here's the proof. In other news, I've finished one bag of sweets so far. And I forgot to mention the spare naans (half a keema, half a peshwari) that I've got in the fridge for breakfast tomorrow. Cold naan for breakfast, guys, I'm telling you: try it and thank me later. Bridget Christie (stand-up comedian) is doing some terrible political gags and seems as if she has never stood up, sat down or walked before. The cameraman quickly zooms in on the one person who's chuckling. Over on the BBC, Chevy Chase has just been hit by a car's airbag. No, wait. Wrong channel again. National Lampoon's Vacation. Speaking of terrible vacations, we're getting a result from Swindon where the Green candidate is 90% hair and the borough council uses a font with lower case Ns and upper case everything else. Yuck. Pleasingly, the four candidates have increasing vote counts in alphabetical order.
12.38am - I think we've got to the point in the night when only the dedicated are still up, so I'll choose this moment to reveal who I voted for. If you've been reading this page recently you'll know that I was not in favour of any of the four parties standing in my constituency, and in the end I voted Green on the basis that: (i) the environment is important; (ii) there isn't a chance of them winning here; and (iii) my reasons for not voting for them - I disagree with them on almost everything - seemed the weakest of all my reasons for not voting for a party. Obviously I couldn't vote for Labour under Corbyn, and I was firmly against the Lib Dem pledge to overturn Brexit. I'm usually a Tory voter, but I'm not a fan of the current band (although, always optimistic, I hope with a big majority they'll be able to move away from reliance on the ERG etc. and closer to the One Nation politics that Boris claims to believe in). I really never thought I'd ever vote Green, and as I say I disagree with most of their manifesto, but there you go. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.
12.47am - Jeremy Vine is on the "battleground". Huw keeps saying "battleground". Jeremy keeps saying "battleground". Call that a battleground?! It's just a flipping wall of constituency names! Come on, graphics department, give me blood and cavalry and pikestaffs. I said this two years ago and you ignored me then. Anyway, pretty astonishing how many of these seats are predicted to go blue, including "Great Grimsby", surely a breach of the trade descriptions act. On the bright side for Labour, they're holding Gedling; sadly for them, I'm pretty sure that's another made-up one. But the big news... Dennis Skinner looks like he's lost his seat in Bolsover! He's been MP there since 1970, and there have only been two MPs - him and Harold Neal, both Labour - since the seat was created in 1950. That really would be an astonishing defeat, and not an unwelcome one.
12.59am - Stanley Johnson and Judge Rinder are very angry with each other on Channel 4, with the former being heckled by the audience, and Katherine Ryan has the thousand-yard stare of someone who never wants to be involved in anything vaguely political ever again. I only switched across partway through the slanging match but it seems that the topic of burkas has come up, and StaJo seems, if anything, drunker than before. He seemed like such a nice chap on Celebrity Hunted. We cross to Leeds where the presenter's mention of Rod Stewart gets whoops from the vote-counters behind her. I don't want to talk about it. (I just googled Rod Stewart songs to make that joke). We're back to Nish, who gets cheers from saying (of Stanley & Boris) that the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree... "please allow me to finish" he yells, in the manner of an Apprentice candidate, before the Channel 4 audience bursts into more cheers and applause - and StaJo, madly, says that his grandfather could read the Koran at age five years old and then was assassinated, alongside a sign saying "friend of the Armenians". What on earth is happening? Katherine Ryan throws to Rylan, because that'll sort things out, and the mad fool brings Stanley back into it. Punches will be thrown tonight. Amber Rudd's daughter - who recently wrote poignantly about having a politician as a mother - is there, and claims not to have known that Rudd was on the panel. And, oh goodness, we've now got an astrologer called "Nymph of Neptune". Who says psephology is a dying art? Someone whose name is prefixed by "Lefty" says that Jeremy Corbyn is not afraid to stand up. Give him a few years.
1.11am - Danny Finkelstein is on BBC and makes the bold claim that the voters have read the Conservative manifesto and they like what they've read. "What are you on?" asks Andrew Neil, and Danny the Fink has moderated his views to admit that they may not have read it in its entirety. "A heated discussion" comments Huw, who clearly hasn't been kept updated on veritable bloodbath on Channel 4. By comparison, this is a tea party. We're at that weird time of night where ITV has announced more seats than the BBC - they do this every time, and I never know why or how they think they have the inside track - and, in fact, ITV have an "exit poll plus". Take that, BBC's "forecast". ITV say it's going to be 367-192 compared to 368-191 over on the Beeb. Game-changer. Jimmy Carr has joined the Channel 4 crew and asks "if the exit polls are to be believed, are the exit polls to be believed?" Philosophical. Or possibly inane.
1.24am - "Robert, have you heard about Rubber Glen?" Peston looks as confused as I feel. Is that a person? Is he the new Lib Dem mascot? Only time will tell. Anyway, Peston quickly changes the topic to something he can answer, but remains tight-lipped on whether or not he deliberately chose a suit that's the same colour as his hair (grey). I'm trying to work out if he's wearing a woollen tie. Inconclusive, unlike most of this election night. Ah, wait, it's Rutherglen - as in, you don't need me to tell you, Rutherglen & Hamilton West - where we may or may not be getting a result soon. Over to Channel 4, and some guy is making the claim that people voted against Labour because they didn't like Corbyn, not because they didn't like socialism. Wake up, buddy. Jimmy Carr, showing the depth of his research, asks if Corbyn actually has to go - did he not notice Corbyn losing the last election and manifestly failing to resign? - but fortunately we have a more knowledgable man sitting next to him: Tom Watson, who, though, refuses to answer whether or not Corbyn will go. Eager audience members are yelling out, but there's no microphone so who knows what they're saying - other than blaming the media for Labour's downfall. "We're the media!" says Jimmy Carr, who might be getting carried away. Speaking of getting carried away, the Tories have now carried away Workington. That works, right? I'm good at segues.
1.42am - Heidi Allen is on BBC, credited as a "former Lib Dem MP". I feel this doesn't do her justice, when in fact she's a former Conservative, Change UK, Independent Group for Change & Lib Dem MP. All during 2019. On Channel 4, Clare Balding has popped up to offer a bit more professionalism than you get from the Rylan/Ryan duo (in fairness to her, Katherine Ryan is doing her best but is now limiting herself to cutting people off and moving to someone else). But back to the BBC and we have the beloved Swingometer! Again, I'm disappointed that the graphics department has stuck with the same fake sets as it did in 2017 and (if I remember rightly) 2015, putting the swingometer on a clockface. There are so many things you could put a swingometer on! The door knocker of Number 10, Boris Johnson's tie, a cat's nose. So many options. Think outside the clock-tower, guys.
1.59am - The Channel 4 audience is not loving comedy tonight. Katherine Ryan's material wasn't terrible - "it's almost as if GIFs don't work" - but it's barely raising a smile. Over to Wrexham, where the Welsh for Brexit Party seems to be Brexit Party, and the Welsh for Plaid Cymru is apparently Plaid Cymru. Wrexham (English for Wrecsam) has gone Tory! It's been a Labour seat since 1935. A historic night all over Britain. Cut to Birmingham where Jess Phillips says that the outcome is "totally devastating", only slightly let down by the fact that she was laughing and joking with those around her before she realised that she was being broadcast live into our living rooms. "I'm sorry, I can't hear you" she adds, but since no one has said anything this is perhaps not an issue. Millions of people have asked her if she wants to be leader of the Labour party, Jess claims, before going on a long, rambling monologue that doesn't come close to answering whether she will or not. "What's with all the cheering?" she asks, not having realised there was an audience at all, let alone a firmly anti-Tory one. Jess believes strongly in her persona as a straight-talker, but is (surprisingly) reluctant to stick the boot into Corbyn tonight. Labour has gained Putney, by the way.
2.14am - "You come across as one of us" says Rylan to Jess Phillips, possibly the cruellest thing that has been said yet tonight - and that includes the tirades against StaJo. Back to the BBC and Sophie is on the hexagons again. I was really pleased with that 'Brexagon' gag I made earlier, by the way. Sophie's found three more voters, all of whom switched Labour to Tory at this election, and they've helpfully stood in "I look down on him / I look up to him" comedy order. The Ronnie Corbett of the operation speaks for many when she says that she'll vote for Labour again once Corbyn has gone. Speaking of whom, Richard Burgon has popped up to blame the Sun and the Mail for people not liking Corbyn, and he's trotting out the now well-rehearsed line that this was a Brexit election and it's all going to be different next time. Over to Matt Ford in the secondary Channel 4 set and his material is just as bad as ever: "Bishop Auckland, a Cluedo character". Actually, that's better than most of my stuff here. "Ashfield: Dot Cotton's lungs" deserved more than it got. Flicking to ITV and Jess Phillips is clearly in demand: again she's asked if she's standing for election, and this time she says yes! Ah, wait. False alarm. It's just a bit of a time lag. She says that she's tired and she has no idea. Sounds like she's over-qualified.
2.23am - Alastair Campbell is on the BBC and he's angry: if Boris serves a full term then it will be 50 years since a Labour leader other than Tony Blair won a general election majority. Jon Lansman, the chair of Momentum, is not far away in the studio and is getting the brunt of Campbell's anger (quite rightly) - unfortunately they're not sitting near each other, so we're getting a weird situation where they're passing accusations back and forth via Huw Edwards in split-screen. Can't one of them just walk across the studio? But they're cut away from because it's the first sight of Red Jez tonight, arriving at the count. He looks surprisingly chipper, perhaps because he's realised that he can soon spend more time with his allotment. Much though I disagree with him on almost everything, and I desperately want him and his philosophy to bite the dust, it's never nice to see someone humiliated like this. I hope he has the good sense to step down and enjoy his retirement.
2.28am - My good friend Rob is still up, keeping in regular WhatsApp contact, and I've seen the occasional tweet from political titan James Lee. Steve & Victoria are both working away for the BBC tonight, covering the election. Anyone else still up? Let me know on the email above, or on Twitter @colinjthomas.
2.45am - Richard Burgon is repeated the same lines on the BBC that he'd tried elsewhere but is being given a much rougher time by Andrew Neil, who isn't letting him get away with claiming that the 2017 and 2019 manifestos were basically the same, or that this is all the media's fault. Neil really is very good, isn't he? No wonder our once and future Prime Minister was too scared to talk to him. I'm starting to get pretty tired now. Come on, Colin. Hours still to go.
2.56am - Right. Second bag of sweets. That sugar rush will see me through. The Tory lass has won in Bishop Auckland - hey, that sounds like a Cluedo character - and she is very young. MPs are getting younger, aren't they? She looks a bit like that woman off the IT Crowd. 25 years old apparently. In yet more astonishing news, the Channel 4 panel has brought on a Conservative voter! I mean, a regular one, not a politician one like Amber Rudd or the salmon-suited & mahogany-faced Michael Portillo, who has rocked up to join the fun (that's right, I've stayed up for Portillo). Judge what's-his-name is taking notes! Or maybe just doing a crossword. Elsewhere, the Tories have taken West Bromwich West (booo!!!) and Chuka has failed to win a seat in central London. Rob tells me that he's been watching the BBC so loyally that his TV is checking if he's still awake... I'm much more disloyal in my viewing, going back and forth across BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and (disappointingly often) National Lampoon's Vacation.
3.11am - You know that "Stop Brexit" guy who shouts outside Westminster? He's come in sixth in Cynon Valley. I wonder if he'll accept that democratic outcome. By the way, that Tory voter on the Channel 4 panel is Geoff Norcott, a right-wing comedian who my friend Jim speaks very highly about. But he's been cut off so that we can head to Islington to see the acting returning officer (are they all acting? I'll have to ask James Lee sometime) announce a comprehensive win for Emily Thornberry. The Monster Raving Loony guy looks like a man who doesn't know why he bothers. "The real fight has to begin now" says Thornberry, who has a lot of bad things to say about Boris but doesn't seem to have considered why, with all his flaws, he's winning a landslide. Interestingly, she's referred to her "friend Jeremy" as having fought - in the past tense. Hmm. Speaking of Labour leaders of the past, Ed Miliband has snuck a victory in Doncaster North despite a 13.7% swing from Labour to Conservatives.
3.26am - I switch to BBC just in time to hear Laura Kuenssberg say "My goodness, what on earth is he going to do with it?" I can only assume Jeremy is running amok with a marrow. In Richmond Park there's a crushing defeat for Zac Goldsmith, which I thought had been declared about an hour ago. Everyone seemed to know. A huge 79% turnout, and apparently the Lib Dems festooned the area with leaflets promoting their green policies. Ironic. Speaking of Lib Dems, Jo Swinson's seat is apparently in danger; speaking of Tory losses, the expected seat count on the BBC has dropped from 368 to 357. But wait... we're going back to Islington to see how Jeremy Corbyn has got on. "Nick the Incredible Flying Brick" has picked up 236 votes, a massive increase on the 127 he got in a Stoke Central by-election in 2017. Well done, Nick. Anyway, Corbyn's speech is... odd. He kicks off with complaining about the disgusting behaviour of the media towards himself, his family, and his party. Decidedly weird. Is this a resignation speech...? Sort of. He's confirmed that he won't be leading the party in a future general election campaign, but that's as close as he's come. But he won't last beyond Monday, surely. Like all the Corbyn loyalists, his message is that Labour's policies were popular and it was only that pesky Brexit that lost it for 'em. Someone needs to save Labour from themselves.
3.37am - Bristol North West (my constituency) is a Labour hold, with only a slight fall of 1.7% to 48.9% of the vote. He'd been pushed hard as the Remain candidate, perhaps explaining the low results for Lib Dems & my new friends in the Green party. Leaving Brexit aside, I like him. Sedgefield (Tony Blair's old stomping ground) has gone Tory. In the Channel 4 studio we have someone who might be Nick Hornby or possibly Toby Young. Or probably neither. Portillo is still there and is turning closer and closer to the colour of his suit. Katherine Ryan has just called him Gary. I think the entire audience is dead. Over on ITV and... is that Jennifer Acuri? Er, no. Whoever it is, she's got a "battleboard", subtly different to the BBC's "battleground" because... it's got a different name. Just about. There are literally no other differences between the two. The Tories have held Brigg & Goole, and the people making up the names of constituencies are openly laughing at us. Weaver Vale? Seriously? You're just naming Camberwick Green characters now.
3.47 - In the big grudge match of the night, Lord Buckethead has comfortably beaten Count Binface by 125-96, and both of them have beaten poor old Elmo's eight votes, and some other bloke with five. Yace "Interplanetary Time Lord" Yogenstein managed a few more. The more notable candidate in Uxbridge & South Ruislip (or, as the BBC has it, Uxbridge & Ruislip South), though, is one Boris Johnson, who - despite a surge of optimism from various left-wing folk on Twitter - has fairly comfortably held his seat. His victory speech largely comprised a reiteration of his manifesto slogans, which is an odd decision when you'd expect a little more about how good the night was. In what is surely an undeserved kick in the teeth for Count Binface, Boris has name-checked Lord Buckethead and Elmo but left it there. Results coming in thick and fast now - Jo Swinson has lost her seat! Oh, hubris. As George Osborne has pointed out, if it weren't for Lib Dem support then there wouldn't be a general election at all.
3.58am - Poor Jo Swinson. Close to tears as she makes her concession speech. Much more graceful in her defeat than Boris or Jeremy have been tonight in the seats that they've won. Laura Pidcock - she of the famous claim that she could never be friends with a Tory - has discovered that Durham North West don't want to be friends with her, electing a Tory in her place despite 3,000+ votes for the Brexit party. The BBC forecast now apparently says 365 seats - one for every day of the year. Is that good blog content? Yes. Yes, it definitely is.
4.09am - Kneena is back with Nishka (?) reading tweets from a whiteboard. I'm sure Owen Jones was a regular in the ITV newsroom last time round, but hasn't shown his face tonight - even he can't try to spin this one as a win, I guess. Michael Gove has popped up on the BBC and looks almost as shell-shocked as he did after the Brexit referendum. This is a man who doesn't seem to enjoy winning - and, given that it was only a couple of years ago that he deliberately sabotaged Boris's chances of leadership because he knew he wasn't up to the job, I wonder how he's really feeling tonight. Let's be generous, maybe he's just tired. I know I am. That Brexagons joke... was it really as good as I think it is? I'm starting to doubt myself. Anyway, Nicola Sturgeon says that Boris has a mandate to take England out of the EU. I wonder how the Welsh feel about that.
4.17am - Theresa May joins from Maidenhead, surrounded by three blokes in Tory paraphenalia and looking very much like she's being held against her will. I've just spotted that Andrew Neil, clearly having signed up to the BBC's impartiality guidelines, is wearing a tie that's got blue and red stripes. No yellow, though. It's like the leadership debates all over again. I don't really know what's happening but Andrew Neil is shouting "let them vote!" at May. Scotland? Brexit? I'm a Celebrity? Not a clue. Hey, look, it's Tim Montgomerie, who I'm sure quit the Conservative party but possibly rejoined it. Actually, where's Matthew Parris tonight? Never mind. Tom Baldwin, of the People's Vote (and namesake of the TUSC candidate for Bristol mayor) claims that Boris doesn't have a mandate for his Brexit, and Andrew Neil is understandably giving him short shrift. If nothing else, tonight has exposed the fantasy that the British people would vote against Brexit given a second chance. In split-screen the BBC is showing a slow-moving convoy of cars. Is Boris heading somewhere on bike?
4.30am - Brighton Pavilion, for the Greens to win their single seat with a massive margin of victory. I look forward to Caroline Lucas graciously congratulating BoJo on his victory... ah, no. Parliament was on the brink of passing a People's Vote before the general election was called, she lies. She's holding a lot of pieces of paper, so it does seem like we're going to have a two or three hour speech... indeed, Huw has cut her off before she can fully reel off all her dissatisfaction with the electoral system. Whether it's AV, Brexit or Scotland, it does seem that our left-wing friends are reluctant to accept referendum results. Elsewhere, Kensington - the constituency of Grenfell - has gone from Labour to Tory. Doing the rounds on social media, and now on Channel 4, is Sky TV footage of Nicola Sturgeon celebrating the SNP winning Jo Swinson's seat - Krishnan suggests that it's odd for her to rejoice in the defeat of a fellow female party leader, which seems a bit sexist to me. Sturgeon has every right to take great pleasure in an unexpected gain for the party she leads. By the way, I am now absolutely certain that the Channel 4 audience has all gone home, and we're just getting occasional stock footage of disappointed students.
4.48am - Usually when I stay up for election night it gets very surreal as the sunlight pours in: one of the impacts of a winter election is that it will remain dark until after I've gone to bed, I expect. Rachel Sylvester, of the Times, is on the BBC and has a much higher voice than I would have imagined. Over on ITV, Peston is chatting to Kneena - I think his tie really is woollen - and he's mentioned that, during the campaign, Labour picked up momentum. I think they were more or less already in the bag, Pesto. He has three computer screens, presumably with Netflix on at least one of them. Manchester Gorton has just been declared, a constituency that I can only assume was accidentally invented when someone shouted "How's Manchester got on?". Anyways, Conservatives down to 360 seats in ITV's exit poll plus, and Labour up to 201 - while it's been directionally correct, the exit poll is shaping up to be the least accurate of recent years. Still very accurate, though. Wait! Stop the presses! ITV now have a prediction of 359-203 (a prediction is subtly different to an exit poll plus, apparently).
4.59am - Huw's played it with a straight bat tonight, with fewer errors than Dimbleby but a lot less personality. All just a little dull. And he's let Gina Miller get away with claiming that she wasn't trying to frustrate the Brexit process - Andrew Neil certainly would have pushed back on that one, but Huw was fairly apologetic. I suppose it's a bit of a different gig. Next to them is John Mann, who is very angry and says Corbyn should have resigned already... but who cares about all that, because this is the first time I've seen Jeremy Vine in the virtual reality House of Commons! 362-199 is the way the BBC is calling it, colouring in the seats as ever. Do you remember the year when we got graphics of David Cameron, Ed Miliband et al jostling on the front benches? That was awesome. The BBC graphics team have really phoned this one in, I'm afraid. Anyway, Tories - like a 10 year old - are just 8 away from majority. That's it. That's my worst joke of the night.
5.09am - Are you allowed to have election counts in sports halls that don't have balconies? Everyone always seems to be standing on a balcony. We've reached the time of night when everyone other than journalists and a few interns have gone home, so we get to see near-empty sports halls from a balcony vantage point. In Hertfordshire South West, though, there are still plenty of people around and David Gauke didn't come close to winning against the Tory candidate. Now to Bolsover, where I'm sure we were told hours ago that Skinner had lost. Yes, he has, by well over 4,000 votes. Less surprising than it was the first time we were told... Dennis Skinner doesn't seem to be at the count. "Everybody, across the political divide, respected Dennis Skinner". Erm. Anyhow, Tories now have a majority, officially, with plenty more to come.
5.24am - You know what? I have no idea where Bolsover is. Anyway, Tom Bradby wants to know if Yvette Cooper will be standing for leader of the Labour party while, beside him, Ed Balls would probably prefer that his wife mention it to him first. She sidesteps the question, obviously. Bradby's done a good job tonight: it's clear he's an old hand at this, anchoring very smoothly, with professionalism and a little sparkle. Well done, Tom. The Tories have lost Gordon to the SNP. I'd have sworn he was Labour. Robert Peston has moved from his multi-monitored desk to a seat by Tom Bradby, fully vindicating his decision to wear trousers. He & Ed Balls are now yelling at each other across the studio. Poor old Amber Rudd, on Channel 4, has been losing her voice throughout the night and is very hoarse as she tells the world (unprompted) that her children voted Lib Dem. Since one of her children is in the audience - or was, a few hours ago - a true journalist would have verified that claim. I told you the Rylan would never cut it as an investigative reporter.
5.37am - Anne Widdecombe has come nowhere in Plymouth, and Krishnan Guru-Murphy has said it was a complete waste of time for her. "Maybe she had fun" says Katherine Ryan. Let's hope she did. And I hope you did, if you've been reading this. I'm going to call it a night and head to bed, having manfully abstained from eating one of my bags of sweets and at least half of the Pringles. There will be plenty of deliberations on the result of this general election in the coming days and weeks, but I think two things are clear. Firstly, that Labour need to banish the spectre of Corbynism and move to the centre ground. Secondly, that Boris Johnson - and all who serve in parliament - need our prayers. So, even if you disagree with my first conclusion, please join me in the second one. Good night.
December 18th 2019
Nine years ago I made a video about my 25 favourite albums of the decade 2000-2009 (you can see it here - I limited myself to one album per artist, and didn't include compilations or soundtracks), so I thought I might do the same now, for the years 2010-2019. That proved impossible, because I don't have 25 albums that meet those criteria - once you've removed soundtracks, re-issues and repeated artists, I was somewhere in the teens. So, instead, here are my top ten. No video.
1. Lover - Taylor Swift
2. Wrecking Ball - Bruce Springsteen
3. 1989 - Ryan Adams
4. The 2nd Law - Muse
5. Reflektor - Arcade Fire
6. Divinely Inspired to a Hellish Extent - Lewis Capaldi
7. Night Visions - Imagine Dragons
8. ÷ - Ed Sheeran
9. Mylo Xyloto - Coldplay
10. The Very Next Thing - Casting Crowns
|what was I listening to?
Everyday Life - Coldplay
|what was I reading?
Black Beauty - Anna Sewell
|what was I watching?
Star Wars VIII