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V Day and the Long Night Ahead

V Day and the Long Night Ahead

🕔07.May 2015

After the longest campaign in living memory, it’s arrived. The polls are open, voting has started (I know, four million postal votes have already been cast). The politicians can do no more; for one day the electorate is back in charge (well, at least in marginal constituencies and most of Scotland).

V Day is an odd affair. After all the heat and fury of the campaign, all we’ll hear for the next 15 hours are updating predictions on turnout and comments on what the wives of Cameron, Miliband and Clegg have turned out wearing at the polling station.

Then, as the polls close at 10.00pm the media will go into overdrive, with David Dimbleby (and Messrs Bradby, Boulton & Paxo et al) taking centre stage along with a whole host of live blogs and frenetic activity on twitter. Exit polls will dominate the agenda for the next couple of hours before official results start trickling in.

Not to be outdone, we’ll have our own live blog on the go from around 9.00pm when Old Joe (in the form of chief blogger Mr Dale) descends upon the Birmingham count at the ICC. He’ll be tweeting through the night as well as adding to the rolling blog. The Birmingham supercount may not be interesting enough for big BBC names, but you can’t keep Dale away.

Birmingham’s parliamentary seats will be counted and announced at the (now privately owned) ICC, under the direction of the Returning Officer, otherwise known as Birmingham City Council chief executive Mark Rogers. As if he doesn’t have enough worries already.

As well as the Files, you can follow the Council’s own coverage of the count. It has gone social media mad, with innovations on WhatsApp, Periscope as well as Twitter itself, YouTube and the rest. Good on the Council, but we’re just hoping the wifi holds up long enough to publish 140 characters every now and again.

We’re expecting the Edgbaston and Ladywood results at around 12.45am and the rest (including Yardley and Northfield) around 3.30am. Go on, stick with us.

When all the results are in, we’ll fully digest and analyse the local outcome as well as reflect on the emerging national picture. Whilst the national results are likely to be both close and complex, in Birmingham very few seats if any are likely to change hands. Party HQs will be keeping an eye on Yardley and Northfield, as well as beyond the city boundary in places like Solihull, Nuneaton and Dudley North.

Counting of the Council’s own seats will begin at 2.00pm on Friday, with first results due around 4.00pm. Again, we’ll be live at the count with a rolling blog as well as updates via twitter. Council results, in local terms, are likely to be more interesting. Whilst overall control of the local authority will remain with Labour, there could be a few Cabinet scalps. It will all make for a fascinating backdrop as the Labour leader faces his annual challenge in just a few days’ time and the Council returns to business to face up to its significant financial and organisational issues.

We will round up all the results and explore what it means to the Labour administration.

I will be at my own election hub (OK, my living room armed with every TV, computer, iPhone and iPad I can lay my hands on) through the night, adding my own generally meaningless and nerdish commentary to the proceedings.

You can read all our posts from the campaign here, including the key Westminster and Council seats to watch.

If, like me, you are a politics and elections superfan (of which there is a good chance as a Chamberlain Files visitor), enjoy the night (and probably days) ahead. It’s likely to be fascinating on several levels. I look forward to sharing several drinks (alcohol and caffeine based) and energy boosting nibbles with you on twitter in the small hours.

I know it goes without saying (especially for Files visitors) but please do make sure you cast your vote today.

Whatever you think of our politicians, their policies or the political system it’s imperative (in my view) to turn out. Mark your crosses, or spoil your ballot paper if you must. But do exercise that most fundamental right that we enjoy in this, albeit imperfect, democracy. It’s been hard won.

Finally, good luck to all those who make Election Day work, from clerks and counting assistants to the police and Mark Rogers and his team. Free and fair elections come at a price, so we should be grateful to those who oil the democratic wheels.

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