JB: Results coming in thick and fast now. I wonder if you could show us where we stand right now, Pauline.
PA: Indeed I can, Joh-
JB: Actually, hold that thought, Pauline, because we're just going to show the result from Phepson, in Quareytene, Sue Fareham's constituency:
Returning officer: -ham is duly elected Member of Parliament for the Phepson constituency.
[Loud cheers; Sue Fareham waves triumphantly to her supporters]
JB: Well, she's in. What's the breakdown?
[Wait of a few seconds]
JB: Ah, here we are. 4,79- 4,796? Well. That's hardly a ringing endorsement, is it? That's Democrats down 7, SDP down 9, Citizen Alliance up 12, CSL up 8 having not run there last time out. Was this expected, Preet?
PK: Sort of, I think is the right answer. The Democrats knew that on the sort of swings the election was promising, their leader's seat could be in doubt, so they did put a lot of resources into it, but the indication had been that they'd been getting more and more confident. But that's more than a bit too close to comfort for them there.
RM: Preet's right, I think. On a flat national swing, this seat would've been right on the edge, like, virtually a dead heat. But it's not that; it's a seat where the Democrats have been piling in resources, and the Citizen Alliance generally seemed happy to let Phepson suck the Democrats' resources out of other competitive seats. I'm surprised that the majority's so small, but it was well within the realms of possibility, even on the exit poll.
JB: OK. Let's hear from Sue Fareham, anyway.
SF: -my deepest thanks for making this election run smoothly. I'd like to turn my attention now to my party. Democrats, we knew this would be a tough campaign. The polls had written us off totally, and it's a real testament to the strength and dedication of our activists, both here in Phepson and across the country, that so many of you kept coming out to campaign for us despite that. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart. And the fruits of your hard work are being revealed tonight. In marginal seats like this, all over Angleter, great Democrat MPs are holding on against an onslaught of leftism and populism. The exit poll says we've done better than anyone would've predicted just a month ago, and so far the results seem to be reflecting that.
I think it's clear by now that no one party will form a majority government. And how thankful we should all be for that. The only thing worse than the Courtenay-Isla alliance would be either Courtenay or Isla governing alone. I want you all to know that, as I expect there'll be a lot of talks in the coming days, I will keep the interests of the entire Democratic Party, our whole broad church, at the forefront of my mind. It's about making the most of this situation to preserve the free market, family values, a balanced budget, and individual responsibility - the principles that made Angleter great. My door is very much open, both to representatives of the other parties, to my fellow Democrats, and above all, to you, my constituents here in Phepson.
It is such a privilege that the hardworking people of Phepson have seen fit to elect me as their representative for the second time, amidst a difficult set of national circumstances. Phepson is a wonderful community of ordinary Angleterics who believe in freedom and responsibility, and I am glad to be able to take their values - Angleter's values - back to the Chamber of the Plebeians for the next three years. I will do all I can to help rebuild the Angleter that people in Phepson and across this country showed their faith in when they voted Democrat today. Thank you very much.
JB: Sue Fareham, there; and actually now we can go to Edessa North and Emryc Isla's victory speech, which follows on from all the Edessa seats being completed:
EI: As ever, I'd like to thank the returning officer, the police, and all the volunteers whose commitment made this election go as planned. It's sometimes hard to imagine all the work that goes into an election - you just turn up and vote, or you campaign and you wait for the results - but none of it would happen without the hard work of dozens of people in each constituency across the country. It's a huge task, and it would be a crime to let it go thankless.
It would also be a crime not to celebrate! Tonight we're seeing the true depth of the dagger that the Angleteric people have plunged into the heart of elite rule. It's gone right through it. To come from nowhere, literally nowhere, just two election cycles ago, to the single largest bloc tonight - certainly in terms of votes, and I'm confident also in terms of seats - is one of the truly great stories of people power. None of us were politicians. None of us were celebrities. None of us were exactly billionaires either. The Citizen Alliance has gone viral, and it's gone viral because it's got an authentic, clear message that people want. It's direct democracy. It's citizens first. It's no more DK war. It's no more political correctness. It's no more green lunacy. And yes, it's no refugees! NO REFUGEES!
So I've already had about 12 billion missed calls from journos probably asking me what I'm going to do about negotiations. Well, I set a little answer machine message for them, which I think gets the point across. I've told them all the exact same thing! My only priority is getting those six policy points through. Whatever best achieves that is what our movement will be going with. It's that simple.
Now, it's easy to get caught up in national politics. But the reason why the Citizen Alliance has made it so far is because it's a local movement, based on the dogged hard work of ordinary local people who believe in our message. I don't like to call them activists, because that's too political a word - to me, they're just dedicated citizens, doing something for the good of their community and their country. My heartfelt thanks go to them for getting myself and hundreds of other Citizen Alliance MPs elected tonight. Folks, this is your victory!
But no amount of canvassing can swing an election by itself, because the final verdict belongs to the people of Edessa North. And I am grateful, so grateful, that you have given me the privilege of being your voice in the halls of power once again. The last three years of speaking up for Edessa North, helping thousands of constituents, regardless of which way they may have voted, and working to make this most beautiful part of Angleter's most beautiful city the best it can be, has been so enjoyable, and I am so excited to be returning for three years more of that rewarding work. Edessa North, thank you. And everyone in Angleter who took part in this great democratic process - thank you too. Tonight, we're on the very edge of something big, something new, and something very exciting indeed. Thank you!
JB: OK, so, Preet, thoughts?
PK: Upbeat addresses from both Fareham and Isla there, as you'd expect. Fareham is certainly not letting her own close shave, or the overall fact that the Democrats are haemorrhaging seats, get in the way of her message, which is 'we've overcome the odds'. I'm really not sure how that's going to go down among a party faithful who, let's remember, just a few years ago were sweeping all before them. It's already a divided party, and I sense there's going to be some real anger in the party at the fact that they've failed to arrest this constant election-on-election decline.
As for Emryc Isla, it's interesting that he didn't make that much of a claim of victory. He said he was confident of getting the most seats, but he didn't say he expected to be, or deserved to be, or was going to be Prime Minister. I don't know if that's because the Citizen Alliance works on this sort of false modesty, this sort of 'yes, I'm a big personality, but oh no, it's not about me, it's about the ideas' sort of thing, but it's certainly intriguing.
JB: Are Sue and Emryc going to be on the phone right now?
PK: Possibly, but I suspect they'll be waiting until a bit later. Neither side, nor the SDP, or even the CSL, really know right now what cards the electorate have dealt them. They can't rush into negotiations when the facts on the ground could change radically in the course of a couple of hours.
JB: Thanks, Preet. Now, Pauline. The map.
PA: Yes, thanks, John. So we've now actually got 160 results in, so we're about a third of the way along.
Now, as more of the urban seats are coming through, the SDP have retaken the lead in terms of seats, with 66 to the Citizen Alliance's 47. The Democrats are on 37, and the CSL are on 9. Kilroy still with just the one seat, and probably unlikely to improve on that.
I'll point out a few of the more interesting individual results. Harran, there, in Maien, used to be Judith Gibbon's seat before her brief time as European Councillor - huge swing against the SDP there, and they've lost that to the Citizen Alliance. Remember there was a huge controversy there about there being no by-election after Gibbon quit. Grandmesnil, in eastern Maron, one to watch out for if the Democrats were in meltdown - well, they're not, so they've held that with a slightly reduced majority of just under 15,000.
Now, Edessa Central and University. Ridiculously big swing and the CSL have taken that from the SDP with a majority of just over 1,500. And we're seeing this all over - CSL winning seats in young, relatively affluent, liberal urban constituencies. Brindley, in the heart of New Birmingham, taken from the Democrats. Neomantua Central, also taken from the Democrats. And perhaps most remarkably, Cernovcy North East, taken from the Citizen Alliance. The CSL appear to be taking votes even off the Democrats, which is all a real vindication of Salma Remington's strategy of focussing on the social issues, not the economic ones.
JB: So the CSL have gone woke, and it's paying off?
PA: So it seems, John. And just before you move on, I'll just point out that while the insurgent parties are making most of the headlines tonight, there are still some very competitive old-school SDP/Democrat races. Look at Lodey East - used to be an SDP majority of just over 5,000; now it's a Democrat seat with a majority of just 1,085. Same goes for Damaszka Paul Road, a Democrat gain against the SDP. And in the interest of balance, Kingswinford West used to have a Democrat majority of just 520, and now it's an SDP seat with a 13,000 majority.
JB: That really goes to underline why this election has been so difficult to read. All sorts of different swings, different contests, and unexpected ones at that, all over the country. What's the popular vote right now, again?
PA: SDP 32%, Citizen Alliance 29%, Democrats 24%, CSL 12%, Kilroy 2%, others 1%. But expect that to change as the more suburban and rural seats start to pile in later.