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Election night is long, but I’ll be in top form at the New Statesman party

Election night is long, but I’ll be in top form at the New Statesman party
Election night is long, but I’ll be in top form at the New Statesman party

It is an exciting time in New statesman. All hands on deck for the election issue. I’ve been asked to do my part by submitting my paperwork a day early, which means I’m now writing this nine days before the magazine hits stores or lands in your mailbox, instead of the usual eight (or seven, if I’m feeling under the weather).

Anyway, as I write, there are nine days to go. I’m wondering if I should try my luck with a prediction. I know all the political pundits are in the first half of the magazine, but I’m going to vote too, so let me cautiously say this: the Tories are not going to win. So. I’m not going to put any money on it because I only bet on certainties, like when the election will actually be held. I went into a branch of a well-known betting shop and asked what the odds were for a July 4 election, and they told me to walk away. Incidentally, my favourite headline of the campaign is now over a month old, but it actually gets better with time: “Whisper it, but Rishi Sunak is making an extraordinary comeback”, by Camilla Tominey, the telegraphMay 31, 2024.

However, I have managed to call every election wrong since 1974, when I stood for the Socialist Party of Great Britain in my primary school’s mock election and received two votes, one of which was my own. (The SPGB is not to be confused with the SPLITTERS of the Communist Party of Great Britain (Marxist-Leninist) and various other groups of sycophants and quislings.) I always wondered who the other vote came from. I am fairly certain it was the maths teacher who looked exactly like Graeme Garden from The delicacies but it wasn’t that funny. (Back then, all math teachers looked like Graeme Garden from The delicaciesmy description hardly limits the field.)

The other big news at Hove-l is my invitation to New statesmans election party in the evening. I was planning to go to my friend Ben’s, which will be fun not only because Ben is very funny, but also because his wife will be counting ballots in one of the wards and will no doubt be delighted to come back and see a couple of drunken hooligans dancing around her living room laughing at Jacob Rees-Mogg, who I fervently pray will lose his seat. As for Nigel Farage, Ben and I have different views. I want him to lose to the Labour candidate who dresses like the new Doctor Who and sounds like a decent human being. Ben wants Farage to win so he can submit himself to the daily grind of an MP’s duties, loathing his job and his constituents more and more with each passing day until he runs screaming into the sea. I’m a bit annoyed that Boris Johnson or Michael Gove aren’t running; I would have liked to have seen them thrown on their ears. That sentence didn’t originally end with the word “ears”. By the way, who do you think is worse in human terms, Johnson or Farage? I keep changing my opinion on that.

I have to say, Ben enjoyed the campaign enormously. When Farage said he was running because he thought the campaign was getting “boring”, Ben called me to complain.

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“Boring? It’s not boring, it’s fucking psychedelic.” When Farage responded to Sunak’s disastrous D-Day anniversary escapade by saying Sunak “doesn’t understand our culture,” Ben exploded: “Jesus Christ, Farage is a millimeter away from using the P-word about Sunak, and what is Sunak doing? He -” and then went on to describe a tender and intimate sexual act that usually takes place in private and in the context of a loving relationship. But since then, with Farage’s comments about Ukraine, a certain frost has naturally settled into their relationship. I’m sure they will be able to make amends in time.

I apologized to Ben and told him that I would probably New statesman Party. I was there in 2010 and 2015 and I have to say that towards the end of the evening the mood was not quite as boisterous as it had been at the beginning. I was not there in 2019 because I lived in Scotland and tactically voted for the SNP, who were defending a majority of 23 in my constituency. (Yes, you read that right: 23.) Anyway, Ben has given me his blessing to go to the party and also to return to Brighton in the early hours because he will probably still be awake. The only question, as the clever people on the front page of the magazine will no doubt have wondered, is how many seats the Tories will be reduced to. The Telegraph, whose radar seems to be swinging wildly of late, recently predicted they would be left with 53 seats, and I have to say, the thought of that being reduced to mid-double figures is pretty nerve-wracking. I’ve also heard that there are now only about 20 perfectly safe Tory seats, and that would be even more pleasing. But we’re in a weird position when the thought of the Tories winning 100 seats, or even a few more, is seen as a disappointment. You live in hope, but you have to be realistic. In the meantime, I have to pick my party outfit. I plan to behave disgracefully, and I hope everyone else does too.

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