Angleter Election 2018: Election Night Coverage

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    The theme music plays, over shots of the corridors of the Parliament House and clips of the candidates debating each other and campaigning. The title sequence closes with a shot of the Parliament House:

    John Bloom: Good evening, everyone, and welcome to Sirion TV's coverage of election night, 2018. I'm John Bloom. As we enter the small hours of the morning, our team will be all over the country, giving you the news as quick as it comes, as to who, exactly, you have elected to run this country for the next three years. Polls were open from 7am to 10pm today, and millions of you cast your votes up and down the country. Polls have shown a tight three-way race, but tonight we find out the results of the only poll that matters. But before we start, allow me to introduce you to the team who'll be bringing news, views, and analysis all through the night.

    [Camera cuts to a woman in front of a huge CGI map]

    Pauline Armeniakon: I'm Pauline Armeniakon, here to analyse this map, and all the results as they come in, and tell you what each result means for the overall result. I'll be predicting which seats could be switching, which could be staying, and which ones could be the ones to watch.

    [Camera cuts to a man sat at an empty table]

    Matthew Austell: Matthew Austell here, interviewing the big names from all the parties as they give their take on how the night's going for them. Tonight is going to pose a lot of questions, and we're going to get some answers.

    [Camera cuts to a man and woman sat around the table from JB]

    JB: And here's our resident psephologist, Robert Mamiconian from Canvassus, who'll be digging deeper into what the results imply; and Preet Khatter, who'll be looking at the political implications of what happens tonight.

    [Camera pans back to JB]

    JB: So we've conducted an exit poll in association with Canvassus, 12,000 people in 94 constituencies. Hopefully this will give us some decent insight into what the result could be, although, of course, this isn't the poll that matters and these things have been wrong before. But for now and for a good few hours afterwards, it's the best we've got. I'll also note that we've only got a popular vote exit poll this time, since Canvassus found that there were simply too many local swings and close races to be able to come up with such a projection, at least until we get some real results in. Anyway, here we go:

    JB: So, that's the Citizen Alliance, ahead, on 31%. The SDP close behind on 29%, and the Democrats a few points further back on 24%. The CSL on 13%, that's higher than they've polled throughout the campaign, and then Kilroy on 2% and others on 1%. What I can also reveal is that despite the lack of a precise projection for seats, we can predict that no party will have an overall majority in the Chamber of the Plebeians. I'm now going to go over to Robert Mamiconian for some analysis. Robert?

    RM: Thanks, John. This is certainly not what a lot of people were expecting, the SDP had usually been polling a few points ahead and usually on at least 32%, so to see them go second and below the 30% mark is a real surprise for them. The Citizen Alliance will be absolutely ecstatic with that, even if they do ultimately slip behind the SDP - if they're even in the same ballpark in terms of the actual results, then Emryc Isla has a real shot at becoming Prime Minister. The Democrats, meanwhile, I think their response will be 'could be worse', although that still spells the loss of a lot of seats. If they are the third party in terms of seats, then that means they could get to decide whether Sam Courtenay or Emryc Isla gets the keys to the Prime Minister's Office. And finally, the CSL - extraordinary performance for them, not just compared to the polls but also, especially, compared to how the Communists did last time. It all depends on where those votes are, and it's been really difficult for us to work out - if they do get a decent seat haul, then they could just be the ones to put the SDP over the line.

    JB: That's a very intriguing thought, and I should just compare these results to last time, subbing out Communists for CSL: if the exit poll is accurate, it's SDP down 9% on last time out, Democrats down 12%, Citizen Alliance up 10%, and CSL up 11%.

    RM: Absolutely. And it's easy to say, oh, it's the rise of populism on each side, from SDP to CSL and from Democrats to Citizen Alliance, but we haven't found that to be the case. There's all sorts of swings going on. There's a lot of SDP voters going to the Citizen Alliance, for example. There's liberal Democrat voters going to the SDP and even to the CSL. There's some Citizen Alliance voters going to Kilroy, as well. It's a real maelstrom.

    PK: What I find interesting is this thought of what happens if there is, as we're predicting, some form of hung Parliament, and it's very difficult to tell when we don't know what the numbers could be. If we say the SDP and Citizen Alliance are more or less neck-and-neck, then either the CSL have enough votes to bail out the SDP, but perhaps at the expense of Sam Courtenay - remember they think he should be locked up - or it's up to Sue Fareham and the Democrats. And they're a very divided party.

    JB: So you're saying the Democrats could go from 'that wasn't that bad', to a really crippling headache over who to support?

    PK: Exactly.

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    MA: Right, well, to look over that exit poll, we've got our first round of guests: it's Martha Lane from the Citizen Alliance, Terese Sponge from the SDP, David Wannock-Smythe from the CSL, and Irene Ulleries from the Democrats. Terese, let's start with you. What's gone wrong?

    TS: Well, I'm not sure anything's gone wrong yet. As you say, the exit poll isn't necessarily Gospel, there's a lot of variables involved, and it shows us very close behind the Citizen Alliance, so I'm still very much optimistic.

    MA: So you haven't quite kissed that majority government goodbye, yet?

    TS: Not at all. I think we've run a positive, issues-based campaign. I think we stood out for doing that, and I think that's what ultimately will win through.

    MA: Even though you've lost a significant chunk of your vote; I mean, even if you beat the exit poll, it'll be very surprising now if you hit 38% again.

    TS: Stranger things have happened, Matthew. But the fact is we're in a much more crowded political field now. A lot more competition, which is healthy, and it was also always going to be tough after three years of a government where we haven't been able to do all we wanted. I think tonight will prove we've given a good account of ourselves, and I fully expect to see Sam Courtenay back on the job tomorrow.

    MA: Martha Lane, are you expecting to see Sam Courtenay back on the job tomorrow?

    ML: Not at all, and I think if these results are accurate, then it's a really damning indictment of the SDP's time in office. This always happens with them, it happened in 2015 when they squandered a 17-point lead, and it looks like it's happened this time around - when you put the SDP and Sam Courtenay under the bright light of an election campaign, they're always found wanting.

    MA: So this exit poll, if it's accurate, is all about the SDP, then? It's not about yourselves?

    ML: Well, it is about ourselves, because we're the only real alternative not just to the SDP but also to the entire way of doing things in Angleteric politics. I think voters really connected with Emryc Isla, they saw he was different, one of them, and they voted for some real change.

    MA: Will you attempt to govern if you're the largest party? Is there a coalition on the cards?

    ML: We've been very clear that we don't do coalitions. If we are the largest party, then we'll expect a chance to govern and we'll leave it to other parties to decide whether they'll support our programme or prop up the elite.

    MA: That's a good question for you, Irene Ulleries. Are you going to support Emryc Isla's programme or Sam Courtenay's?

    IU: Well, we'll support our own programme, a-

    MA: What programme is that?

    IU: Oh, Matthew, you know we have policies. We want low tax, less red tape, less spending. We've gone back to Angleter's liberal-conservative roots in this campaign, and that, incidentally, is why that exit poll shows us a lot stronger than you all had us just a couple of months ago.

    MA: But it says you're on for third place, and that leaves you deciding between these two.

    IU: I wouldn't be so quick, Matthew. We could easily end up in second or even first place based on that exit poll, especially in terms of seats. I think by the end of the night we could be seeing these two coming to us, not the other way round.

    MA: David Wannock-Smythe, please tell me you don't think you'll be the largest party tomorrow morning?

    DWS: Ha, well, it'd be a very pleasant surprise. But I'm just over the moon at that exit poll. Unless it's way out, it really shows that the downtrodden people of this country are waking up. Our predecessors were at 2% last time, and now we're on course for the mid-teens. It's great news.

    MA: But what if you end up holding the balance of power? Are you going to put Concentration Camp Courtenay, as your co-spokesperson put it, back in the PMO?

    DWS: If we get into that situation, then we'll be guided in every action by the goal of holding the SDP to account and ensuring we get a genuinely radical government of the Left.

    MA: Do you see a role for Sam Courtenay in that government?

    DWS: We're focussed on action, not personality, but obviously we'd have quite a lot of concerns about trusting Sam Courtenay to get the job done.

    MA: Right, well, thanks all. We'll be back again shortly, but for now, back to you, John.

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    JB: I'm pleased to say we are now able to finally go to our first result of the evening. Palmyra Central have got ahead of everyone else once again, and they've counted the votes about 15 minutes quicker than in 2015, so that's good going on their part. Palmyra Central, very safe Democrat seat. Navdeep Khatkar running for re-election.

    [Screen cuts to Palmyra Central declaration]

    Returning officer: -deep Khatkar, Democratic Party, sixty-three thou-


    JB: Well, there's no surprise. Just wait briefly for the full results... and here we go:

    JB: So Khatkar's majority increased slightly, from 38,000 to a shade over 40,000. However, his vote share is down 6%, to 51%. Citizen Alliance up into second, up by just 5%. CSL up from virtually nowhere, from 2% to 15%, so they've gained 13% there. And finally the SDP, down to fourth, down 12%. Also a Kilroy candidate there who barely troubled the scorers. Robert - not what the exit poll was saying?

    RM: Sort of, sort of not. What we're seeing here is the SDP doing even worse than the exit poll would have predicted, and the CSL doing even better. But on the right, the Citizen Alliance increase is muted, and the Democrat decline also smaller than one might expect. Now there might, and I stress might, be reasons for that. Palmyra Central is a very affluent urban constituency in New Birmingham. It's not even remotely close to being fertile ground for Emryc Isla, and so I don't think they'll be too troubled at Citizen Alliance HQ over only gaining 6% there. Nav Khatkar is obviously also a former Prime Minister, founder of the Democratic Party itself, and so he has a very high personal profile. As for the left-wing parties, this is a relatively young and very liberal seat, and this does indicate that a lot of the progressive liberal vote, the so-called 'champagne socialists', might be making their way towards the CSL. But, of course, there's 496 seats left to declare, and only much later on will we be able to say with any certainty whether these swings are a local thing or more representative of the national mood.

    JB: Thanks, Robert. Very informative. Well, we've had the first; the dam is broken. Now we await the flood.

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    JB: OK, so Manbidge was competing with Palmyra Central to be the first seat to declare, so we've got Bill Thomas over there to have a look, but they've hit a problem, haven't they, Bill?

    BT: Yes, John, it's a recount. We'd got a result half an hour ago, but it's within 1000 votes, I'm told, between the Democrats and the Citizen Alliance, and so there is a partial recount going on. We'll be expecting a final result, if there are no delays and no further recounts, within about twenty minutes' time.

    JB: Thanks, Bill, we'll be eager to see the result there. Meanwhile, let's take a look at our map. Our lovely map of all the constituencies, which will be coloured in as the results come in. Pauline, you're in charge of that. How's it looking?

    PA: Well, only one result so far, and that's a blue speck in the middle of New Birmingham, for Nav Khatkar's seat in Palmyra Central.

    JB: Pauline, could you explain for our viewers why Neo-Venetia isn't on the map?

    PA: Er, well, I, er, that... is because there are no MPs being elected from Neo-Venetia, on account of its occupation by the separatist administration there. There aren't any Neo-Venetian constituencies to show, and that's why it's not been marked out on the map.

    JB: Right. That explains that, then.

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    JB: While we're still waiting for Manbidge, we can bring you a couple of results, both of which are good news for the SDP - Pauline?

    PA: Yes, so a couple of seats here where, if the SDP were on course to lose power, you might expect them to be in trouble. First, Ter Zor Diglath, out in Kerkesion, where if we had the sort of national swing the exit poll is predicting, the Citizen Alliance would be within a few percentage points of taking the seat. Here's what actually happened:

    Majority of just over 11,000 for Agatha Fort, which is roughly halved from last time, but better than what we might have expected from the exit poll. SDP down 3%, Citizen Alliance up 11%, Democrats down 6%. That's particularly good news for the SDP since last time there was a Traditionalist candidate standing, and this time there's a CSL candidate, so that might have been expected to be a drag on the left vote there. Now, here's another seat:

    Balbeck North East in the middle of Livan, where Aaron Muhammad has actually tripled his majority, more or less. Again, his vote is down, by about 6% - better than the exit poll - but Democrats down 9%, and Citizen Alliance up 7%. So two results there where the SDP are outperforming the exit poll, and also where the CSL are performing below that 13% mark, and in urban seats as we-

    JB: Sorry to interrupt, Pauline, but we do now have the result from Manbidge.

    [Screen cuts to Manbidge]

    Returning officer: I, the returning officer for the Manbidge constituency, declare that the total number of votes for each candidate was as follows:

    Abaza, Abdul Rahman, Coalition for Socialism and Liberation, twelve thousand, four hundred and seventy-seven.

    De Pforttenhelm, Albert, Traditionalist Communion, two thousand, one hundred and one.

    [Mild smattering of applause]

    Goddard, Esther, National Movement Robert Kilroy-Silk, Led By Robert Kilroy Silk, four thousand, nine hundred and ninety.

    Mellett, Alan, Citizen Alliance, Hashtag No Refugees, forty thousand, four hundred and fifty-two.

    [Cheering and applause]

    Saraffian, David, Democratic Party, thir-

    [Loud cheering and applause]

    JB: Did she say thirty?

    I think she said- yes. Right. Well, he's gone then. It's between the other two.

    Returning officer: THIRTY-NINE THOUSAND, FIVE HUNDRED AND THIRTY-THREE. That's thirty-nine thousand, five hundred and thirty-three.

    Shaw, Barbara, Social Democratic Party, thir-

    [Even louder cheering and applause]

    Returning officer: THIRTY-ONE THOU-

    JB: Well, there we have it. First gain of the evening, and it's quite a shocking one. The Democrats have lost a seat in Dayradestuna, and the Citizen Alliance are the ones who've picked it up. SDP a little way back there, as well. Pauline, some quick thoughts.

    PA: Well, Dayra is about as solid Democrat territory as you can get. This was their weakest seat here, but David Saraffian did have a majority of over 15,000 here before tonight. How did he lose it? Well, he's down 13% on last time, which is slightly bigger than the exit poll projected, and the Citizen Alliance are up 14%. SDP also down 7%.

    PK: That'll actually be a big disappointment to both the Democrats and the SDP. Both the other main parties wanted to take a Dayra seat off the Democrats, largely for the symbolic value of it, but the SDP probably went backwards further than they'd have liked given the effort they put in there. As for the Democrats, the psychological blow of this will be huge. It's interesting that this was probably always going to be a marginal seat considering the polling, and the Democrats could still have a much better night than they'd have expected a month or so ago on a similar swing to this - but still, a relatively good night for them compared to the polling is a massive step backwards compared to 2015.

    JB: So, 'that wasn't that bad' is coming up against 'that's still really quite bad'?

    PK: Definitely. They've got used to being in the 20s in the polls, but losing a large number of seats and probably ending up third overall - as will be the case if these results continue - will be a huge shock to them. Especially when Fortress Dayra has fallen.

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    JB: Results coming in slightly quicker now. I'll just go through some of them, all holds and no surprises. Goulon for the Citizen Alliance; Balbeck North West, Palmyra North East, and Palmyra South East for the Democrats; and Istvanfehervar North, Neomantua Castellar, Dionysias East, Dionysias Central, Damaszka Caffar Susa, and Palvar and East Bank for the SDP.

    That leaves us with 8 seats so far for the SDP, 4 Democrats, and 2 Citizen Alliance. 14 down, 483 to go.

    RM: The popular vote is also interesting. 35% for the SDP right now, 28% Democrats, 24% Citizen Alliance, 11% CSL. Now the seats coming in right now are mostly urban, and that's why the SDP in particular are doing well. The Democrats and the Citizen Alliance will both be looking towards the more suburban and rural seats that are slower to come in. But the CSL might have cause to worry - Palmyra might not be their area, and they've racked up a few good showings in Dionysias - 20%, 16% - but after that exit poll they could be forgiven for thinking that, over these first 14 seats, they might be doing a little better.

    PK: One thing I'll also point out with these results is that, especially in the SDP seats in the southwest of the country, you're seeing swings that are in line with the exit poll, but are absolutely nowhere near switching hands. The SDP are losing 10%, 12%, sometimes worse in some of these seats, and they're getting to the level where the Democrats were last time out. But then, the Democrats are taking a step down as well at the same time, usually also by about 10%. Things are changing, but they're sort of staying the same.

    JB: Pauline, is there a bit more colour in the map now?

    PA: Indeed there is John, starting to fill up, although, of course, still smaller seats geographically that are declaring.

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    PA: ...and with that we're up to 100 seats declared.

    JB: 100 up! And how is it looking, Pauline?

    PA: The Citizen Alliance are now running ahead, with 38 seats, followed by the SDP on 33, and the Democrats on 23. The CSL have racked up 5 seats, while Robert Kilroy-Silk has been returned in Yavur Central. And let's take a look at some of these Citizen Alliance gains, starting with two from the SDP - Einissa in Diglath, one of three Citizen Alliance gains in that province already, and Hulas Valley in Sham.

    So some fairly huge swings here, the Citizen Alliance had been third in both constituencies. They're up by 15 in Einissa and 12 in Hulas Valley. SDP down by 12 in both. Democrats down by 9 in Einissa and 14 in Hulas Valley. This really is exactly what Emryc Isla will want to be seeing. I'll also show you one gain from the Democrats, in Lower Gemayel in Livan.

    And that's Citizen Alliance up 15, Democrats down 14, SDP down 9. Again, another seat where they'd been quite a distant third last time out, and these are exactly the sort of seats they need to win if they want to have a shot at being the largest party at the end of the night.

    JB: I see. But it's not all plain sailing for them, is it?

    PA: Not quite. In fact, we've just had the result from Yavur Central, Robert Kilroy-Silk's old seat, where he was restanding. Now, this is the third time the Citizen Alliance have tried to take this seat; they've unseated the other Kilroy MP, Pete Gabitas, in Yavur North East - Eleanor Ross is the new MP there - but once again, Robert Kilroy-Silk has pulled it out of the bag with a majority of just over 1,000.

    And one of the other big stories of the night has to be the CSL and their shift towards a more young, middle-class voter base. We've already seen them go backwards in Mahin, they've also now lost Talfitt Hill, an old mining area, to the Citizen Alliance, but they've come out already with five seats. Let's take a look at Tadmoor, which used to be a Communist seat, went SDP in 2015, and plays host to both a large working-class community and a lot of students from the University of New Birmingham as well as young professionals and recent graduates.

    So Rita Sandhu BTFO there after one term, Salma Remington, the party's spokeswoman, in, and everyone else quite a way back. Certainly no Citizen Alliance surge in Tadmoor. I'll also point out that the CSL are up to three seats in New Birmingham now, with Asten Central and Palham Junction, both very young seats demographically, going to them.

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    JB: We're now going to go to Edessa North, where Emryc Isla's seat is declaring. Edessa North.

    Returning officer: -as follows.

    Anton, Muhammad, independent, two thousand, nine hundred and twenty-seven.

    Eriadu, Wilhuff, Coalition for Socialism and Liberation, sixteen thousand, seven hundred and eighty-eight.

    [Some cheering and applause]

    Isla, Emryc Paul, Citizen Alliance, fifty-eight thousa-

    [Very loud cheering, whooping, and applause, with some booing]

    Fifty-eight thousand, one hundred and seventy-fi-

    JB: I'm sorry to have to interrupt that. We'll be coming back to Edessa North a little later - we are expecting some delay before Emryc Isla speaks - but we'll give you the full results as soon as we can. We're going to Bostra-de-Sham, where Sam Courtenay's seat is declaring.

    Returning officer: -tenay, Samuel Robert, Social Democratic Party, sixty-three thousand, eight-hundred and ninety.

    [Loud cheering, whooping, and applause]

    JB: Think that's pretty decisive. While they're finishing up there, we can show you the results card from Edessa North:

    Quite a right-wing suburban seat, but a strong CSL presence. Wilhuff Eriadu is, I believe, the only Kaasian candidate running in these elections. Very obvious statement by the CSL, running him against Emryc Isla. But he's done well, come third, beat the SDP. Edessa is a university town, and there's no shortage of students and lecturers in this seat, even if they're nowhere near enough to dethrone the leader of the Citizen Alliance. Among the also rans, there, you've got someone who's renamed themselves 'Refugee Justice', presumably as some kind of stunt, and our good friend Transcensius, who's representing the A*S*C*E*N*S*I*O*N group, which I believe we are actually allowed to call a cult on TV. 

    PA: Well, maybe one of his nine voters can sue us. I have to say, though, last time he ran in Bickenhill and got eight votes, so there's an improvement right there.

    JB: What I would dearly love to know is where they find the other 41 people they need to nominate them. But anyway, we can now go to Sam Courtenay, after we've shown you the full results from his seat:

    Again, very safe seat, although his majority is slightly down on last time. Hortense Miller, for anyone interested, represents The Luddite Party: Solar Flares Can't Destroy Paper. They used to have seats in Parliament, but that was under proportional representation. Anyway, the Prime Minister - for how long, who knows?

    Sam Courtenay: Thank you. I'd first like to thank the returning officer, the volunteers, and the police officers who made sure we had an orderly election. It couldn't have gone at all, let alone gone as smoothly, without you, so I think I can speak for all the candidates when I offer you my thanks.

    I'd also like to thank the people of Bostra-de-Sham in particular for putting their faith in me to be their MP once again - I know it's hard, when your MP has a ministerial role and therefore has to spend more of their time away in New Birmingham, but I have never stopped fighting for this great town, and I will never stop fighting for you.

    And I'd like to thank the Angleteric people. It's early doors, as I'm sure you're aware - there's about 400 seats still to declare, I think - but I think it's clear that we're in a very strong position to form the next government, whichever form that might take. My door is open to anyone who wishes to work with me if that's what the Parliamentary arithmetic demands, and I'm looking forward to getting to work to make Angleter, and Bostra-de-Sham, an even better place to live.

    Once upon a time they said the SDP would never get back power. When we lost it in 1997, they thought we were gone forever. "Angleter's a right-wing country," they said. Then we proved them wrong. And then they said it's just an experiment, that after one term we'd be back in the wilderness, back where we belong, and we'd let the usual right-wing forces take the power back. Well, whatever happens over the rest of the night, I think we've proven them wrong again - the SDP is here to stay. And let me send a message to the conservatives, the libertarians, the nationalists - you underestimate our party, our movement, our people at your peril. Thank you.

    JB: Well, quite an upbeat speech there.

    PA: Very upbeat, very rabble-rousing in tone there, which is no surprise in that great SDP heartland, but what's interesting is he talked about "whichever form" the government would take, he talked about talking to other parties, he even just boasted about being "here to stay." It's about as close as you'll get at the moment to an admission that they're not going to get a majority government. And until about 11pm this evening that had been a very serious possibility.

    JB: He's also confident about forming a government, which indicates that they're expecting their fortunes to pick up somewhat, because right now that is far from certain.

    PA: Either that or he's been talking to the Democrats.

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    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.

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    JB: Let's join Matthew Austell and see if he can draw some insight out of the politicians. Matthew, who have you got over there?

    MA: We've got Navdeep Khatkar for the Democrats, re-elected tonight in Palmyra Central; Fr George Guitmund for the Social Democrats, who's stepping down in La Croix St Leufroy but will, I'm sure, be pleased to see the SDP hold that seat; and we've also got Cajetan Norbert for the Citizen Alliance, who's also been re-elected in Digbeth. I'll start with Fr Guitmund - you're ahead now, will you still be ahead at the end of the night?

    GG: I'm growing more and more confident. The last hour or so we've picked up, we've even made some gains in Kingswinford, for instance, and I've actually been looking at the swings. It's a lot better now than we might have thought from the exit poll. In a lot of seats, we're only down by 6 or 7, and if you extrapolate from that, then we should be the largest party by votes and by seats.

    MA: But that's urban seats, and there aren't that many of them left. You've lost a lot of suburban seats and small town seats to the Citizen Alliance tonight. Does the SDP have a problem outside the big cities?

    GG: I don't think we do. Kingswinford isn't exactly central New Birmingham, we've held steady in Oldknow, in my own former seat of La Croix St Leufroy, and so on. There are different swings across the country, but I think we're demonstrating tonight that we're a party of the whole nation.

    MA: Cajetan Norbert, are the Citizen Alliance a party of the whole nation? You've been struggling to make headway in a lot of the main cities - just look at Cernovcy North East.

    CN: Of course we're a party of the whole nation. I'm very sad that we've lost Paul Harris in Cernovcy, he's been a great representative for that city and a great member of our team, but we're making gains all over the country. Frankly, Matthew, it's a bit bizarre for you to throw that question at me when I've been re-elected in Digbeth, in the middle of New Birmingham, we've got four of the five Asten seats, we've gained a seat in Damasz-

    GG: Where's your seat in Neolombardia, Cajetan?

    CN: George knows as well as I do that barely any seats in Neolo-

    GG: OK then, which one are you going to win?

    CN: Can you not interrupt?

    GG: Gladly, but you said Matthew's being bizarre, and I think it's a bit bizarre of you to say you're a party of the whole nation when you're nowhere in one of the biggest provinces.

    CN: If I were George I wouldn't be so sure about Neolombardia right now. We'll see.

    NK: I've got two words to say about Neolombardia: Lodey. West. That's it.

    MA: East.

    NK: That's what I said?

    MA: You said West. You've already got West, you've won East.

    NK: West, then.

    MA: Have the Democrats lost the working class, Navdeep, and if so, how do they get it back? I mean, you're in single figures in a whole host of urban constituencies, in New Birmingham, Damaszka, Dionysias, and so on. Why can't Sue Fareham's Democrats appeal to these voters?

    NK: Well, I think all parties have areas where they're weaker or stronger, a-

    MA: Not so extreme as you. Where do you find the SDP or Citizen Alliance on 7%?

    NK: But I would say the point is that we do have a broad appeal, we're winning urban seats in big and small cities, we're winning in suburbs, and we're winning in the countryside. Tonight is challenging; we knew it would be from months out. But people went around weeks ago saying we'd be annihilated, and despite that, we're very much still here.

    CN: Just about.

    MA: But what about the leadership?

    NK: Sue is our leader, and I don't expect that to change. She's led us through this campaign and we've made some ground from where we were a few months ago, and I think our party is grateful for that.

    MA: But you dropped that far under her in the first place.

    NK: We all know we've had some turbulent times in the last three years, we've gone through a few changes of leadership, and I think the stability that Sue's leadership has offered has now been welcomed by the party and, it seems, by many of the voters who might otherwise have been inclined to turn away from us.

    MA: You mentioned other past leaders - Maria Sakrakur, Levon Bagratian - is it not the case that the only person who can hold the Democrats together, and make them an electable force, is you?

    NK: No. We have great talent in our party, and this has never been a one-man venture. What we're seeing is the effect of, yes, some of the mistakes we made while in government for six years, and also a much more fractured political field.

    MA: Well, we'll see if we can get more answers from some more heavy hitters later on. Back to you, John. 

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    ((No, you're "behind schedule"))


    JB: We can go now to Bengeworth, not for a result, but to talk to Kirpal Singh Chanon from the SDP, who's awaiting the result there. How's it going, Kirpal?

    KC: I'm very well, John; thanks for having me on.

    JB: Always got time for you, Kirpal. But what a lot of people will want to know is: have your constituents?

    KC: We've been keeping track of the returns, obviously, and I'd say it looks quite good for us. We haven't seen the sort of swing we've seen against us in some other places, so that's a plus. Of course, you can never be certain, but I'd say I'm more confident now than I was when the count started.

    JB: You mentioned some of the swings nationwide against the SDP. What does that say about your party?

    KC: I think it says more about the way that Angleteric politics is changing. It's becoming harder and harder for all the parties, especially the traditional parties, to appeal to larger sections of the electorate. People have more diverse, more individual political tastes than they might have had in the past, even under PR, and we've had to contend with that. On the whole, though, our vote is holding up a bit better than some people might have predicted.

    JB: There's a lot of variation in the swings against you, as you pointed out. What's gone wrong in these other constituencies?

    KC: I don't think it's a matter of things going wrong, and I think we have great candidates and hardworking activists all over the country. What's happened in my constituency as opposed to others is a product, yes, of the work my team has put in over the last three years and in this campaign, but it's also a matter of regional swings. We're seeing a lot of that tonight - in some places the Citizen Alliance are surging, in some the CSL are surging, and in some neither are surging. I'm glad that people in Bengeworth look like they've rejected both today.

    JB: You sound like you expect to be back in Parliament tomorrow. Are you also going to be back in ministerial office tomorrow?

    KC: I expect Sam Courtenay will still be Prime Minister for the next three years. If I'm re-elected tonight, and if Sam Courtenay wants, then I'll gladly continue to serve in whatever role he asks me to play.

    JB: You think Sam Courtenay will still be Prime Minister, even if you need the support of, say, the Democrats or the CSL, to stay in office? If they want him gone, surely he's gone?

    KC: First of all, I don't accept the idea that we'll have to form a formal coalition with anybody. I think we're keeping our options open, and I do not believe that we'll have a change of leadership. The people have voted for an SDP led by Sam Courtenay, and we're not going to let one of the smaller parties say, 'no', you've got to have someone else instead. That makes no sense and we won't have it.

    JB: So you're not preparing a bid for the leadership yourself?

    KC: Absolutely not.

    JB: Thank you, Kirpal Chanon, candidate for the SDP in Bengeworth, and Minister for Economic Affairs. We're expecting his seat to declare after 4am. Pauline, a result?

    PA: Yes, a result. We're going to show you St Dunstan, which is up north in Fitzon. Now this used to be Terry McCain's seat, a very senior Democrat, former Home Affairs Minister, and one of the leaders of the liberal wing of the party. He was defeated here in 2015 by Caroline Mushegh of the SDP, by just a couple of hundred votes, and he's back tonight, hoping to regain his seat.

    JB: And has he done it? I remember there were several recounts here last time, which is why it was one of the last seats to declare. They've made quicker work of it tonight, then?

    PA: Yes, they have, and the reason is, if you see the card here:

    He hasn't done it. Nowhere near. Third place, about eight thousand votes behind Caroline Mushegh, who goes from having the smallest majority in the country to something slightly more comfortable. Citizen Alliance also up into second place there.

    PK: By my calculations, Terry McCain is down about 11 points on last time there, which is a real blow to him. There was a very close primary for the Democrat candidacy in that seat, and it appears that the concerns of a lot of local Democrats about running someone who'd already lost the seat have been borne out somewhat.

    RM: They'll be hoping that's the case, because if it's not a Terry McCain thing, and it's something common to that area, or to Fitzon or the north in general, then that's a real worry. Not an area where they can afford to be running behind their national performance.

    PK: One thing is for certain, I think, and that's that this is the end of Terry McCain's political career. And, perversely, probably a relief for Sue Fareham - she's already under a lot of pressure from moderates in the party, people like Robert Rice, and a stunning comeback for the sort of boss level liberal Democrat could have posed her some more unwanted challenges.

    JB: Alright. Well, Terry McCain is not coming back to Parliament this time, at least.

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    JB: And I'm told we're at halfway. Pauline?

    PA: That's right, we've just passed halfway, with 252 out of 497 seats declared, so it's a good time to take stock. The map first:

    Obviously it's smaller, more urban and suburban seats that are coming in earlier, so that's why the map looks quite a bit less than half-filled. But we can see some patterns emerging - Social Democrats very strong in the west and southwest, and the Citizen Alliance and Democrats fighting over the north and east, as well as a strong Citizen Alliance showing in some parts of the south as well.

    It's the SDP who are ahead, though, with 112 seats, with the Citizen Alliance on 75, the Democrats on 55, the CSL on 9, and Kilroy still on 1 seat.

    JB: And how about the popular vote?

    PA: That's 32% SDP, 29% Citizen Alliance, 25% Democrat, 11% CSL.

    JB: I see. I'll go back to you soon, Pauli-

    PA: And if we dril-

    JB: I said, I'll go back to you soon, Pauline. I just want to get some off the bat insight into those figures from Preet and Robert.

    PA: Bu-

    JB: Preet?

    PK: Well, I'm interested to see what the more local breakdown is there, and what seats Pauline has picked out as being indic-

    JB: Well, I'm interested to hear what you have to say. And you, Robert.

    RM: I mea-

    JB: Tell you what, you tell us what you predict the breakdown to be, and then Pauline can tell us all if you're right or wrong. How does that sound?

    RM: We-

    PK: Look, if you just want an insight into those raw figur-

    JB: No, I want you to tell us what Pauline is about to tell us. We're all ears.

    PK: How about you tell us, John?

    JB: But I'm asking you.

    PK: It's just, you're the one who's so eager to speak and direct this thing. Where's your insight, John? Where is it?

    JB: My job isn't to give insight. That's your job. That's Robert's job. That's Pauline's job.

    PK: And what's your job, John?

    [Several seconds of silence]

    RM: I... think... what we can say... is that the SDP might be pleased with where they are now. Same for the Democrats. I know the SDP especially will lose ground as more rural seats come in, but to be 40 seats ahead of the Citizen Alliance at this stage really augurs well for them.

    PK: It's interesting your point about the Democrats too. They're not that far back from the Citizen Alliance at this stage, which I expect testifies to the incumbency effect in their seats. They're shaping up to be more of a major player and less of a distant third party.

    RM: And it's looking like a real reality check for the Citizen Alliance. They were absolutely jubilant at the exit poll, but as we said, we couldn't be sure about a seat projection. And while the popular vote figures are looking quite accurate, when you account for the more rural seats coming in, it's really looking like the Citizen Alliance are not going to make it as the largest party in the Chamber of the Plebeians.

    JB: OK, that's enough. Back to Pauline.

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    PA: So I am now going to show you some of the more interesting results that have come through. Now the results we've had so far, taken as a whole, might look good for the SDP, but that doesn't mean they're not losing seats, and losing them in ways that might be causing a bit of concern over at their party HQ as dawn approaches. Let's start with a rare loss to the Democrats, Herfastham and Subeibe in western Neolombardia:

    So that's goodbye to Alex Elmham after one term. What happened here, unusually for tonight, is that the Democrats had a much smaller swing against them than the SDP. This seat is right on the Neo-Venetian border and it may be that the SDP and Alex Elmham have been punished for not pushing as hard as people in Herfastham and Subeibe might have liked over that issue. Very hawkish part of the country, not very fertile ground for the Citizen Alliance, and could emerge from tonight as one of the Democrats' main stronghold areas.

    Perhaps more common is this loss to the Citizen Alliance, in Sham:

    Carnathas Green a very working-class area - hence the poor Democrat performance - and this is just a reminder that the SDP are still losing a lot of ground to the Citizen Alliance tonight. Not as much as Sam Courtenay might have feared a few hours ago, but it's still happening, all over the country, but especially in these sort of traditional working-class areas in the southwest.

    And finally, some better news for the SDP, a relatively rare gain, right down in southern Sham:

    Raminder Greywall replacing Albert Stiles there on a wafer-thin majority, but the real story here is that the Citizen Alliance failed to take the seat. It's results like this that could end up making the difference between Sam Courtenay in the Prime Minister's office next week, and Emryc Isla.

    A couple of things from those seats - we need to talk not just about the CSL and the Citizen Alliance, but also about the really small parties, because they are having an effect here. The Democrats had much smaller swings than normal against them both in Herfastham and in Yarmouk, and that coincides with a significant Traditionalist presence in 2015. Those old Trad voters are shifting mostly towards the Democrats and, in a lot of seats, bailing them out, although, of course, in Yarmouk, they fell agonisingly short. Also the Kilroys - the Citizen Alliance will be kicking themselves over the 7,000 populist votes that went to Graham Bruce, and not their candidate, in Yarmouk. These are small figures, but there are a lot of results that are turning on these very small figures tonight.

    JB: Thanks, Pauline. I'm told that Robert has something to say. Do you have something to say, Robert?

    RM: Yes, John. Our team have been looking carefully at the results as they've come in, analysed them as far as we can with the evidence we've got, and we are now able to give a formal prediction, not of seat totals, but certainly of where we should stand by the end of the night. And that is the SDP will be the largest party, but with a reduced seat haul. We're predicting that the Citizen Alliance will get the second most seats, and that the Democrats, and only the Democrats, will hold the balance of power. There's not going to be any route for either Sam Courtenay or Emryc Isla to the Prime Minister's office that doesn't go through the Democrats.

    JB: Well, there we have it. That's our projection for tonight. But projections are, of course, just projections, so don't go to bed just yet. We've still got more to come, as the picture gets clearer.

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    JB: ...and the Citizen Alliance have taken Sanjack from the SDP there. Edith Breteuil replacing Geoff Bramham with a majority of just over 3,000 votes.

    PA: To put that into perspective, that seat used to have an SDP majority of over 22,000. These are the sorts of shifts we're seeing tonight, and even they're not enough, it appears, to get the Citizen Alliance the largest seat haul.

    JB: Well, how many seats have we got left now, Pauline? Is it around 100 yet?

    PA: It is, in fact, 109.

    JB: The sun is up, and the night is drawing to a close. We'll do a full update, I think, when we get to 100 le- now? OK, let's do it now. No time like the present. Pauline, with, er, 388 seats, is it, done, where are the parties?

    PA: The SDP are still ahead, John, both in terms of votes and seats, but it's close and they are way off an overall majority now. The SDP have 154 seats so far, the Citizen Alliance are on 127, and the Democrats are running third on 95. The CSL have added another to their total, so they're now in double figures on 10, and Robert Kilroy-Silk and Edeva Ziert, the Speaker, round out the new Parliament as it stands thus far.

    JB: What does that mean in terms of popular vote?

    PA: That's SDP 31%, still just ahead. Citizen Alliance 30%, Democrats 26%, CSL 11%.

    JB: So, just to turn to you briefly, Robert, can we expect these figures to change much over the remaining hours?

    RM: Yes, but not by much. I'd be surprised if the Citizen Alliance were to manage to come first on either count, for instance, at this point. However, things will move towards them and even to the Democrats as the more rural and remote seats come in. The gap between the SDP and Citizen Alliance in terms of seats is under 30 now, while when we were around halfway through it was almost 40. So it could be very close, but I expect that, in both votes and seats, it'll be the SDP who win out tonight. Whether they'll win in terms of who controls the government is, of course, another matter. I know Sam Courtenay will have wanted a much bigger cushion than this.

    JB: So what about the smaller parties - how are they looking?

    RM: Well, the Democrats have done an extraordinary job in this campaign, and it looks like their result is going to be even better than our exit poll had suggested. Their campaign message was simple - a lot of people said vague - but it's clearly had quite a bit of cut-through. 26%, which could tick up as a lot of seats in Dayra and Quareytene come through now, will be a real achievement. And there's no question now that they'll sail past 100 seats. It's looking more like a genuine three-way than a two-party system with the Democrats as a distant third, which is what we might have been looking at as late as a few weeks ago.

    PK: We had said earlier on that Sue Fareham might be worried as the reality of the Democrats losing dozens of seats kicks in, but tonight might give her just about enough good news to be able to carry on. Being able to pluck the odd seat off the SDP has been a real boon for a lot of otherwise dejected Democrats.

    RM: That's right. Where there might be more disappointment is in the CSL. They're on 11% now and they could slip a bit as almost all the urban seats are now in. It's not a bad performance by the standards of the polls and what they might have expected before today, but our exit poll might have raised their expectations a little too high. Sorry about that guys!

    JB: I see. Pauline, can we get a look at the map before we go over to Matthew?

    PA: For you, John, anything. 

    RM: Get your maps out for the lads.

    PA: Here we go:

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    JB: Matthew! Who have you got up there?

    MA: Well, we've got Kathryn March, former leader of the SDP; we're welcoming back Martha Lane, newly elected in Catherine-de-Barnes, for the Citizen Alliance; it's Alan Gonville, re-elected in Blackrock, from the Democrats; and Salma Remington, co-spokesperson for the CSL and new MP for Tadmoor. Welcome all, and congratulations Martha, Alan, and Salma. Salma, I'll start with you - is Robert right, are you disappointed?

    SR: We're not disappointed by our own performance. To grow from 2% and four seats as the Communists in 2015, to 10% and ten seats at least in 2018, is a great achievement. What disappoints me is the success that the Citizen Alliance has had. For that kind of nasty, oppressive, populist politics to come so close to winning this election is sickening.

    ML: Can I-

    MA: Martha Lane, go ahead.

    ML: Yeah, that's totally wrong.

    SR: It's not wrong, what's wrong with what I said?

    ML: It's not 'come so close to winning'. It's 'winning'. We're going to come first.

    KM: No, you're not.

    MA: Please, please. Martha Lane, Robert was very clear that the SDP are on course for first place. Do you really think you've got 30 more seats left in you than the Social Democrats?

    ML: Absolutely. How many of the seats left out are SDP? Looking at the map, it can't be more than a dozen or so. I have no doubt we'll take around half of what's left.

    RM [shouting from below]There are 32 SDP-held seats still out.

    ML: Right, but they'll lose half of those. They're rural, they're probably marginal. I'm just saying that this 'oh, SDP will win, Citizen Alliance came close but no cigar' is just wishful thinking - from Salma, from yourselves, from all the talking heads. When we get the most votes and the most seats at the end of the night, it'll really show up why nobody trusts the elite any more in this country.

    MA: Well, we will see. Kathryn March, it's looking close - is this what you wanted to happen?

    KM: I mean, it's not what I wanted to happen, of course not. I wanted us to get a majority, and I think perhaps if we did things a little differently, maybe we would have. It really saddens me that we're going to fall short of a majority because 10% of voters have pissed away their votes on Salma's party and, in so many seats, let a right-wing candidate through the middle. I mean, Salma, is that what you wanted?

    SR: I don't make a difference between neoliberal conservatives who cloak themselves in the red flag, and neoliberal conservatives who wear blue or buff. If you wanted us to not be a thing, you should've listened to your voters and not sold out the refugees, the oppressed minorities, women, the LGBTQIA+ community...

    ML [interjecting]Oh, good grief.

    SR: ...the Muslims and Kaasians, and all the people you let down by allying with fascists like Martha here, and Emryc Isla, people who roll their eyes and are like OH GOOD GRIEF at the mention of queer people! It's disgusting! Putting yourselves at the feet of these people for power!

    KM: Oh, no, you're not wrong. We didn't do enough to press a broad left agenda, and I think the leadership got that totally wrong, sadly. The right of our party has always been too quick to embrace centrism on social issues with a little bit of economic red meat, and a lot of very passionate students and people from more marginalised groups have hit us hard on that tonight. But the fact remains that this division is what's ruined us tonight.

    SR: You caused the division.

    MA: This is big stuff, Kathryn. You're quite a major figure on the left of the party. Is this criticism a sign that your wing of the party is growing tired of Sam Courtenay?

    KM: Well, no, I don't have a 'wing' of the party, I want us to have a broad left agenda. But what I will say is that Sam Courtenay has been badly advised in this campaign, and a lot of the people - you can call them 'the left' if you want, I'd call them normal SDP members and supporters - will be very impatient to see him implement the changes we need. It's time for Sam to refresh his team and reorient his approach if we want to get the majority that I think is achievable.

    MA: Alan, you've been a bit silent so far tonight. Good night for yourself, isn't it?

    AG: Well, I'm glad to be back in Blackrock, of course, it's a wonderfu-

    MA: I mean nationally.

    AG: Oh. Ah, right. Well, yes and no. Yes, we've done a lot better than expected, and that's a credit to some excellent campaigners; but it's very sad to have to watch dozens upon dozens of our great colleagues lose their seats.

    MA: So you think credit belongs to campaigners and not Sue Fareham?

    AG: Sue played a role, of course, but we're a broad church, and frankly no leader would be able to have pulled off the kind of gains we've seen in the polls without the dedication of activists committed to an Angleter ruled by freedom. I know they'll be looking to the party to reflect that stand for freedom when deciding what course to take in the next few weeks.

    MA: It's pretty clear you've got the balance of power between the SDP and the Citizen Alliance. Which side are you on?

    AG: As I said, a guiding principle will be a commitment to moderation and freedom. So I'd find it particularly difficult to throw my weight behind Emryc Isla; and I know we'd need some stiff assurances from the Citizen Alliance if we were to go ahead and do that.

    MA: It's interesting because a number of MPs in your party have come out with differing stances. Some are talking about it being very difficult to support Sam Courtenay, and you're talking about it being very difficult to support Emryc Isla.

    AG: Well, we are indeed a broad church, but I expect we'll ultimately be guided by the voice of our members, which as far as I'm aware, is towards freedom, moderation, and liberal conservatism.

    MA: Hmmm. Well, what's your prediction for the final 100 or so seats?

    AG: I think we can push for 150 seats overall, which would be sad considering we'd be down on 2015 and in third overall, but would be great compared to where we thought we'd be a few weeks ago. If you look at the seats out - Murshetpinar, Plumpigeon, The Cubar, Masshouse, Talaffar, Kaf...

    ML: You'll lose Kaf.

    AG: Ha! That's like a 30,000 majority.

    ML: We'll win Kaf. I'd bet you £30 for that.

    AG: £30 plus I'd happily give you £1 for every 1,000 majority you get there. It'll never happen.

    ML: That's a deal. And we'll see.

    MA: We'll see indeed. I'd like to say at this point also that Sirion TV does not condone gambling in any form, and if there are any kids watching, please don't gamble on election results - it's wrong, and frankly, it's a little bit sad.

    JB: Thanks, Matthew.

  • Admin


    JB: Our hourly news round-up, there. Now, Pauline, the last hour had some interesting results come in, did it not?

    PA: It did, John, and here's a select few that we haven't had the chance to cover thus far. We'll start with another couple of Citizen Alliance gains from the SDP, including this very big one in northern Orontes:

    Yes, Lynn Montague, who defeated the Democrats here just three years ago, minister, considered a rising star in the SDP - gone. One of a whole host of seats to cycle through three parties in three elections, and Anthony Newroy becomes the new MP from that constituency on a 3,500 majority.

    Now, we've also got Oxstocks, in northern Sham - a lot of oil workers living out this way:

    George Maconan is the new MP from the Citizen Alliance there on a fairly comfortable 13,000 majority. George Henderson out. You'll notice not much love for the Democrats or the CSL in that part of the world, and it shows that there are a lot of three-ways, yes, but there's also a lot of straight fights. In this case, SDP vs Citizen Alliance, and like in many of these tonight, it's Emryc Isla's party who's come out on top.

    A couple of holds for you now, starting with the Speaker, Edeva Ziert:

    Big, sprawling Fronteria seat this. Much reduced majority after the Citizen Alliance and the Democrats decided to run due to Speaker Ziert's decision not to call a by-election after Judith Gibbon resigned her seat earlier this year. That led to a lot of accusations of partiality towards the SDP, and so the two major non-SDP parties decided to break the normal convention of not running against the Speaker. But she's held on anyway, and the dark blue represents the fact that she is still a member of the Traditionalist Communion, and is almost certainly going to be its only MP once again. And she could well actually end up being a Trad MP again, if the new Parliament - with a lot more Citizen Alliance MPs, after all - is less willing to keep her on as Speaker. Also note the low turnout in the Speaker's seat, and the high CSL vote, perhaps from people who'd normally vote SDP.

    Finally, here's a fairly safe Democrat seat:

    Right in the heart of Neomantua city, this, a good strong urban win for the Democrats in an affluent part of town. They've actually done a fairly decent job of holding on in the cities; it's been the suburbs, the smaller towns, and the rural areas where they've lost a lot of ground. But what I'd like to point to here is the very strong CSL performance. We know the CSL are an urban-centric party, especially in areas with a lot of students and young professionals, but this is one of a small number of those sorts of urban seats where the SDP don't really have a strong presence, and the CSL are becoming the main left-wing challengers. Certainly one to watch for 2021 this - if the next election is then, of course.

    JB: Oh, don't even get us started on the idea of another election, Pauline.

    PK: It is entirely possible, though. If we do have a sort of three-way Parliament, and it does look like we're looking at something like SDP 180, Citizen Alliance 170, Democrats 130, or thereabouts, then that's a very unstable state of affairs, and we could all end up back here a lot sooner than we think.

    JB: May God have mercy on us all.

  • Admin


    JB: We're just going to go to the declaration in Bengeworth, which is Kirpal Chanon's seat out in Quareytene. Cabinet minister and a key Courtenay ally. Again, like Sue Fareham's seat earlier, a lot of resources going into this seat from all sides. Bengeworth.

    Returning officer: I, by the power vested in me by the Province of Quareytene as returning officer for the Bengeworth constituency, do declare that the total number of votes for each candidate was thus:

    Brookeborough, Storm, Coalition for Socialism and Liberation, thirteen thousand, one hundred and one.

    [Some members of the audience do non-threatening jazz hands.]

    Dorncliffe, Alice Christine, Citizen Alliance, thirty-nine thousand, four hundred and twenty eight.

    [Applause, some cheering. JB comments 'that's big'.]

    D'Urse, Jessica, Traditionalist Communion, four thousand, seven hundred and forty-one.

    [Mild smattering of applause. One single 'whoop'.]

    Mardo, George Sergius, Democratic Party, twenty-seven thousand and seventy-six.


    Singh Chanon, Kirpal, Social Democratic Party, forty-

    [Loud cheering and whooping. JB comments 'he's done it'.]

    FORTY-THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED AND TWENTY SEVEN. That's four, zero, four, two, seven.

    I therefore declare that Kirpal Singh Chanon has been elected to represent the Bengeworth constituency in the Chamber of the Plebeians.

    JB: Well, I said he'd done it, but not by much. Look at that.

    PA: Absolutely, although it is a real achievement. That's just a 7% swing from the SDP to the Citizen Alliance, whereas in most parts of the country we've been looking at something between 9% and even 12%. Anything in the normal parameters would have taken Kirpal Chanon out, but he's held on by basically 1,000 votes. As you said just before the declaration, John, the SDP put a lot into saving Kirpal Chanon, and that and the Economy Minister's profile appear to have got him through.

    JB: I imagine the Citizen Alliance will be really hurting at that one.

    PA: Well, yes and no, John. No, because they've more than made up for that with some real coups in the seats that have come in over the last half hour, which I'll show you in just a second. But yes, because on account of them doing so well in some of those other seats, it's now on a real knife-edge as to who will be the biggest party. The Citizen Alliance have actually now just overtaken the SDP for the popular vote, with them both on 30%, but the crucial thing is there's now just ten seats in it for the biggest party in Parliament. With just a few dozen seats left, it could be Bengeworth, and majorities like that one there, that deny the Citizen Alliance the status of largest party - and with that, possibly the Prime Minister's office.

    JB: Right. So where have the Citizen Alliance been picking up seats. I'm sure Matthew and the people up there will want to hear whether they've won Kaf?

    PA: Let's bring up Kaf, then. We do have a result there.

    ML [from above]YES!

    PA: Yes, that's right, it's £30 for Martha, as the Citizen Alliance have taken this seat way out in Kerkesion with the slimmest of majorities. And that, just to drive home how well the Citizen Alliance are doing in some seats, is a 13% swing. Massive. And they've done much the same to the SDP in Antelivan, on the other side of the country:

    Mary Heartfield ousting James Rohanna there on a swing of 11%. So that's what the Citizen Alliance are capable of, and if they're going to get the most seats tonight, then they'll be needing these sort of 10% plus swings everywhere from here on in. Can they do it? It's possible.

  • Admin


    JB: Nigel Martin elected in Hotspring there, rounding out our new Parliament, and as you heard, some slightly acrimonious scenes where Si- sorry, of course, he's not actually a Sir, Pete Waterman, was once again bottom of the pile, defeated by the Sir Not Pete Waterman Party twice in a row now.

    Actually, let's just go to this for a second:


    Sir Not Pete Waterman: Look, I don't wa-

    [PW rushes towards SNPW. The SDP candidate separates the two. PW points at audience.]

    PW: I keep losing hundreds of thousands of pounds a year because of you idiots pirating the songs I write, and the moment I do anything to try and stop it, you all laugh and vote for him! You're crazy! Thieves! And you just can't not build more railways! You've got to do it, Nigel! Got to do it! Simple as that. There's no economic evidence against building a railway no matter how much it costs. You can't not afford it. You're ludicrous!

    [PW walks off stage, shrugging his shoulders and shaking his head.]

    JB: Right. So, anyway, that's the end. Nigel Martin comfortably re-elected in Hotspring, the largest constituency in the country, for the Citizen Alliance. 497 MPs have been elected. Some new faces, some less new. But let's get a final look at the map. Pauline?

    PA: Yes, we've got the map here:

    So it might look from that like the Citizen Alliance are the largest party by some way, followed by the Democrats, and then by the SDP, but that's because the SDP are a lot stronger in more densely-populated, smaller seats. You could probably fit all their seats into Hotspring alone, for instance. But here's an animation showing just what's changed compared to the notional results from the last election three years ago.

    Huge gains there for the Citizen Alliance, from the SDP in the north and northwest of the country - Maien, Fitzon, Maron - and also in parts of Orontes and Sham. But big gains too for Emryc Isla's team from the Democrats in the east. The east used to be Democrat country, but now it's most definitely Citizen Alliance heartland.

    JB: It's almost like the Citizen Alliance are encircling the country.

    PA: Yes, they've had a very strong appeal in the peripheral areas, and especially the border areas. Mountains, deserts, oil towns, and also some of the less fashionable commuter suburbs - look at that ring around New Birmingham for instance. It's a real coalition of what Emryc Isla calls the 'unfashionable, neglected, and proud'.

    RM: What's interesting is how the rural vote has broken down. More marginal farmers have gone decisively for the Citizen Alliance, while Angleter's breadbasket - Dayra, Eastern Berea, Quareytene, parts of Elkhand and Kerkesion - have all stuck by the Democrats. That big blue ball in the centre of the country.

    PA: That's right, and there is one border area that hasn't gone to the Citizen Alliance - Neolombardia, and the border with Neo-Venetia in the southwest. They love the Democrats' hawkish stance there, and it's fast becoming one of that party's few remaining strongholds.

    And as for the SDP - our winners tonight, if you can call it that - this is basically a map of their traditional strongholds, plus a few marginals with the Democrats, and minus quite a few seats in Orontes and Sham that they've lost to the Citizen Alliance. Very few seats outside the southwest and the big cities. If the right wasn't so split, then this would be not far off the classic map of an SDP drubbing. But we are where we are, and that means this is enough to come away with the most seats. Will it get them back in power? Who knows?

    PK: Well, as was said earlier on, what if the left wasn't split? A lot of SDP people will be wondering if things could've been very different if they'd stopped the rise of the CSL, or even kept them at 6% or 7%.

    JB: And what we can be sure of is that, until something changes, Sam Courtenay will remain Prime Minister. That's how this country's constitution works - until a new coalition is formed that topples him, or he loses the confidence of Parliament or the party or the monarch, then the Courtenay government will continue. It won't be able to do anything of note, but we do actually have a government. Ish. Now, let's see the full results.

    PA: Certainly.

    So there's twelve seats in it, and just under 300,000 votes in it too. But going different ways - SDP for the seat count, and Citizen Alliance for the popular vote.

    PK: This actually puts real strain on the Democrats now. There's no clear winner who they can justify throwing their weight behind on those grounds - if they try backing the SDP because they've got the most seats, then someone unhappy with that decision would point out that the Citizen Alliance have got the most votes. And vice versa. So it's a real quandary for Sue Fareham, and that's what will dominate the news cycles for the days, weeks, or even months to come.

    JB: Indeed. Interesting times ahead. But this is where we leave you. It's gone 7am, if you've been up with us all night and you don't have to go to work, then I'd suggest you get a bit of sleep. Certainly what I'm doing, and certainly what our excellent team here at Sirion should be doing too - my thanks to them, and to all of you who've stuck with us or dropped in every now and then. If you're going to bed, there'll be plenty of news to go around when you wake up, I can assure you of that. But to sum up, once again, we've asked the Angleteric people who they want to govern them, and the answer is, we don't know. That's all from us - good morning!

    The theme music plays once again as the camera pans out and the lights dim in the studio, followed by a montage of scenes from the studio and around the result declarations over the night, finishing once again with the ELECTION 2018 title card over the same shot of Parliament House, this time in the morning sun.