Sean O'Grady: A few anoraks shouldn't keep us up all night

Share
Related Topics

The nostalgia for the all-night election show is overdone. Before the 1970s it was normal for many constituency results, especially rural ones, to be counted and declared the next day. When Harold Wilson's Labour Party narrowly won in 1964, it wasn't until the following teatime that the result from Brecon & Radnor was declared and Mr Wilson could be sure of his invitation to the Palace. The Chinese exploded an atomic bomb and the Russians deposed Nikita Khrushchev overnight, but the delay in forming the government didn't seriously harm the national interest.

How many of us stay up long enough to hear David Dimbleby munching on a Mars bar? For most elections, the broad outcome is known almost as soon as the first results arrive, before 11pm, historically from Guildford, Sunderland South or Torbay. In 1979, the well-balanced James Callaghan went to bed early, aware of his fate.

When the first marginals results appear an hour or two later, then the game is up – as Neil Kinnock knew when Labour had its "Basildon moment" in 1992, failing to hook Essex Man. I well recall working for the BBC in May 1997. After a few historic swings of 10 per cent-plus came in, the Blair landslide was certain. I put up my feet and enjoyed the show. True, it was worth waiting up for Portillo, but why should local authority workers and the rest of the nation have to fight fatigue just for the sake of a few anoraks like me?

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP & MVC Frameworks

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing company in Belvedere ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior PHP Developer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you looking to work in a sm...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Specialist - HR Team

£26000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are the go-to company for ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A man enjoys the  

If you really want to legalise cannabis, then why on earth would you go and get high in a park?

Peter Reynolds
 

No wonder 1,000 women a year are getting abortions because of extreme morning sickness. When I was suffering, my doctor said it would 'cure' me

Jo Crosby
Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

Open letter to David Cameron

Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

You don't say!

Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

So what is Mubi?

Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

The hardest job in theatre?

How to follow Kevin Spacey
Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

This human tragedy has been brewing for years

EU states can't say they were not warned
Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

Women's sportswear

From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

Clinton's clothes

Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders