Election Night – What Did We learn?

By the time you read these lines, I will be in bed. Maybe Gordon Brown will be too. I like to hope so – shagged-out, glass-eye in a jar, tucked up with teddy & toddy, dreaming of slipping a ring on Nick Clegg’s finger. It’s gone 6:30am now. There is still no UK government. But apparently this doesn’t mean we’re free to loot things. Sad times. Apart from that, what else have we learnt?

1. The Conservatives are not the only party to fall foul of payola scandals. Thanks to a sponsorship tie-in, the Monster Raving Loony Party is apparently now known as The Monster Raving William Hill Loony Party. Ka-ching. Fitting, as their candidate in David Cameron’s seat seemed to be the dead spit of John McCririck.

2. Joan Collins may die before her face, and someone may then choose to wear her face, like the borrowed exoskeleton of a hermit crab. When Dame Collins came out of her semi-retirement to be interviewed on a boat by Andrew Neil about her undying love for DC, even Olympics minister Tessa Jowell saw fit to make some snarky little quip about how many layers of Botox she was packing.

3. There is no point standing as an anti-sleaze candidate when the sleaze has already resigned. Esther Rantzen’s quixotic attempt to clasp Luton South to her bosom failed comically when tarred MP Margaret Moran decided to stand aside. Stick to the vegetables, love. You know – the penis-looking ones.

4. ITV seemed to be broadcasting the 1992 election. While on the BBC, Jeremy Vine regularly stepped into the set of Lawnmower Man – walking up a virtual ‘path’ to No 10 made of seats, touring a cartoon staircase that showed portraits of former hung parliaments; over on ITV, a series of knock-kneed cub reporters read tweets off newsroom computer monitors as a moist-eyed Alistair Stewart tried not to soil himself. Compare and contrast.

5. Portillo Moments don’t always come to those who wait. Casting around for a scalp to symbolise an electorate’s emphatic rejection of New Labour’s bankrupted ideology (and possibly also the expenses saga) well, there wasn’t one. Jacqui Smith was already effectively downsized by the time the axe fell.

Charles Clarke had been glued to the backbenches for years. Hazel Blears kept her seat. The one they were waiting for – Ed Balls – managed to cling on too. Staying up till 4:30am just to watch him make an arrogant, sarcastic, bullying acceptance speech wasn’t exactly the fun we’d been promised.

6. It’s darkest before dawn. After spending most of the campaign stroking a furry white cat in his underground lair in Belize, the most shockingly unexpected appearance of the night was Tory dodgy-donor Lord Ashcroft. He manifested in a puff of evil smoke at around 5am on Andrew Neil’s couch, and proceeded to give a deeply creepy interview which instantly explained why he’d never been allowed out in public before.

7. ‘Lembit Opek’ was trending on Twitter. Twitter can’t spell too good.

8. UKIP had a candidate called Nikolai Tolstoy.

9. The Lib Dems, eh? You ‘youth voters’ were lying. Obama wouldn’t have made the primaries if he’d had the British electorate’s feeble promises to go on.

10. If we had a quid for every talking head who pulled out that old quip about “the people have spoken, we just haven’t worked out what they said yet”, then we’d have about £11.

11. David Dimbleby is seriously old. Got another anecdote about following Harold Wilson on the campaign trail, David? You do? Marvellous!