Tuesday, September 08, 2009

An end to election nights?

Apparently, 40-80% of local authorities are considering counting the votes at the next general election on the day after the poll.

Now this obviously makes absolute sense in terms of having sufficient people, refreshed and rested, ready to deliver the result in a business-like manner.

But I can't help but think that this will destroy the nature of the event. We'll have results dribbling in during the working day, rather than having people staying awake into the wee small hours to get an idea of the colour of the next government. Many people with no other interest in politics will stay up to see the results come in, something that will be denied to those who have to work the next day.

For those of us who are more involved and actually get to be at the 'sharp' end at the count, there is something very exciting about the rush of adrenalin that keeps you on your feet throughout the night, the desperate seeking of information about other parts of the country (believe me, the count is the last place to be if you want to have any kind of overview), the thrill of the results being announced and the wild rumours flying around throughout the night. And then you stumble out into the night air - or more likely into the glow of the sun rising over the City and whether you are off for a quick celebration, a drowning of sorrows or just dragging your exhausted body back to bed, you know that you've been involved in the making of a little bit of history.

Delaying things until the cold light of the next day will drain away all that immediacy, the excitement and even some of the passion.

Maybe I'm imbuing this with more than it deserves and perhaps it only really appeals to the political anoraks, but I don't want to see electoral counts delayed. Get the results as fast as you can - news is always best served hot.

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