I hereby declare
At 4 a.m. I gave up, took some more Migraleve and put my earphone in to listen to Radio 4’s election coverage. I had turned it off around 11 ish when Kate Adie had reported the first result: a Labour victory in one of the Sunderland constituencies. What was noticeable at 4 a.m. was the general raggedness of the studio presenters: the doughty James Naughtie and Caroline someone. At 11 p.m. it was all perky, but by the time my head was raging they too were on their knees in the broadcasting sense. Who can blame them? I think they did a great job with interruptions all the rage and Naughtie saying to one guest: for goodness sake it’s 4.30 in the morning you can say what you think! I did notice we were told it was 4.30 in the morning for about half an hour. Maybe they had hit the wall.
Some old Radio friends were drafted into newsworthy constituencies to mumble their way through results and interviews in the wee small hours. An almost inaudible Jenni Murray with a contrite Hazel Blears in Salford and John Simpson and Jane Garvey despatched across the “kingdom” as Naughtie quaintly referred to the UK. I heard Peter Robinson losing his seat in the Northern Ireland: be careful what you wish for he said, the personable Communities Minister losing his seat in Yorkshire primarily because of boundary changes. The zillion independents dividing their votes between them in Luton South with a certain Esther Rantzen doing the best of them but still losing her deposit. The list was endless…
I had no agenda, with my thumping head I was just hoping for some sleep but I noticed a pattern emerging. Every time a Returns Officer mentioned the BNP candidate in each constituency I went rigid, fearful that they might somewhere end up with a majority, or even a “respectable” showing. As it turned out (so far) the biggest numbers I heard were in the low 3000s, more were in the low 1000s. Then Nick Griffin came on from Barking and announced that the “Liberal Elite” had organised immigration policy in Barking and Dagenham to a) smash up white working class communities and b) keep the BNP out of office. He said in summary: it is full of Africans. The studio were nonplussed. Oona King was offended, politely. I thanked God for the Africans, who I suspect many of whom can’t vote anyway.
The BNP have fielded a candidate in every constituency in this election and the result is it will have been a costly failure. Even as Gordon Brown attempts to gather Little Nick unto his lapels and David enjoys his moral, if not actual, victory I am just glad that my head is a little less painful and that Nick Griffin and his crew have had their butts kicked, if not out of town, at least not into our Parliament.