HERE’S a little known fact: Journalists never stay up beyond midnight, we are all tucked up well before the witching hour. So when there is an election count to cover, you will find reporters tweeting pictures of tins of Red Bull, black coffee, sweets, and all the other ‘supplies’ needed to do the unthinkable and stay UP ALL NIGHT. It’s going to be a loooong night, they – we – will breathlessly tell Twitter.
The survival kit tweets, often from young reporters who I’ve heard have no problem staying up to the wee hours when out dancing at the discotheques come the weekend, may be a curious trend. But that doesn’t make counting ballot papers through the night a strange format for working out the winners, particularly at a local level. As we’ve seen from previous council elections, the borough will not collapse into chaos if we have to wait a few hours longer for the results.
You might think the best idea is to simply lock the big black boxes up for the night and count the contents at a more leisurely pace, and with fresh eyes, the following day. This is apparently likely to happen in neighbouring Islington. P’ah, say the spotters who read and write niche political blogs, for whom election nights are like cup finals.
And possibly concerned that our election contest in Camden is lacking a little drama – there are long, long odds on a change of power at the Town Hall a la 2006 – it has emerged the council here wants to pull an all-nighter on May 3 for this year’s count-up. Back we will head to the gym hall in Somers Town, then, for a red eye session. Like the time you stayed up for the Superbowl without being 100 percent sure why, I’m sure most of you will be up at home with the popcorn waiting for the crucial details of Labour’s majority in St Pancras and Somers Town and so on.
Of course, if the council really wants more of a spectacle, it could restore the old tradition of running a bar at the count centre. A little juice always used to make for some interesting analysis as the results come in.