Thursday, May 05, 2005

Election Blog (19)

Those who breathe a sigh of relief today that the election campaign is over will have an idea how some of us feel when the Olympics come to an end, although the coverage of those and the disruption to TV schedules is far greater than for the election.
Even during an election, Newsnight on Monday had to be moved to avoid interfering with snooker coverage which prompted Paxman to make some tart observations about the priorities of public service broadcasters.

Sanctimonious Thought For The Day: those who whinge about election coverage, condemn all politicians as liars and can't be bothered to vote - or even go and spoil a ballot paper - should remember that even our imperfect and limited form of democracy is a rare phenomenon both historically and globally and one for which people have sacrificed their lives.
For just one day every five years - today - our rulers are totally powerless and that's a salutary experience for a Government as authoritarian and Presidential as that of Tony Blair. And without the election campaign neither Blair nor Labour MPs would have discovered the true scale of public distrust and, in some cases, loathing of Tony Blair, nor the fact that concern over the Iraq war was far more general than just dinner party conversations in Hampstead or Islington.


Election night, for those of us who do follow politics closely, is a greater mental and physical challenge than sports fans ever have to face when watching things like Cup Finals and will disrupt our sleep patterns and biorhythms for days to come.
The BBC's coverage is continuous for 13 hours, starting at 9.55 this evening, although I'll probably start with Sky which kicks off an hour earlier. My longest stint thus far was the 1997 election when I slept for only one hour between 5 and 6am. My chief memory of 2001 was making futile attempts to get the details of my local result on the internet because both the BBC and Guardian sites kept crashing.

Of the TV coverage one could say that never in the field of political conflict have so many laboured so hard for the benefit of so few. The BBC operation requires nearly 2000 people, weeks of rehearsals and cutting edge technical wizardry for an audience that in 2001 didn't exceed 4 million. Many more modest prime-time shows would be axed if they only achieved those figures.

My own preparations are all in place. This afternoon I shall sleep for as long as possible. At 8pm I shall lay out my provisions for the evening: crisps, roast chicken, a succulent bread pudding, a moist and fruity banana cake (both these freshly baked yesterday) plus some fresh bananas for urgent energy fixes.
At 8.45 I shall make flasks of strong, black coffee and also have chilled mineral water on hand in case of dehydration. A radio will be on in the kitchen, ditto the bathroom, to avoid missing a result when boiling a kettle or having a pee. A spare television and external aeriel is on standby in case the main television fails or the cable company suffers a terrorist attack.
At 9pm I shall settle down for my solitary vigil at the temple of Demos, clutching my remote control like a crucifix for some occasional zapping between the brothers Dimbleby and that woman on Sky that nobody's heard of.
Tomorrow I'll get a life.


At 9:40 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll be following a similar regime, Mr Lupin, with the addition of a few cans of Stella in the fridge so that I can raise a glass every time a snivelling Tory twunt (oops! sorry, meant to write Conservative MP) falls off the gravy train. Hope it won't be too much of a swing, though. Don't want a hangover like the one back in 1997.

- Tony -

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

We few, we happy few.
I'll raise a glass to you, Tony, even if it's only mineral water, every time a a Tory twunt joins the unemployed. Two glasses if it's Letwin, Davies, May, etc.

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Graham said...

As much as I'm Totally arsed off with this election,politicians,Tony Blair and Uncle tom cobbly an all I'll miss your Election Blogs enjoy your night,good luck you'll need it

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Willie Lupin said...

Thanks, Graham. I found it an exciting night (well, whatever turns you on).
Maybe I'll start my blog for the next election immediately.

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Peter said...

Hope you enjoyed it all. My own little commentary, irreverent as usual, is in place, and that will probably be that. I leave the serious stuff to people like yourself with more self confidence.


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