Politics in the pub

27 05 2010

 

Prime Minister's Debate

By Davet Hyland 

Where were you on the night of the most historical General Election in decades? Were you at a count? On your own with a homemade swingometer and David Dimbleby for company? Or did you spend it keeping the Brighton public informed using nothing but a battered old Nokia in a raucous, partisan pub?

That was my task as part of the Argus’s election liveblog team. I got sent to the Grey’s Pub, Southover Street and was told to tweet my observations of events as they happened. From the start, the atmosphere reminded me more of the pub I had been in the night before. Except it wasn’t Man City V Spurs on the big screen, it was the results of the BBC/ITV/Sky exit poll being projected onto Big Ben.

The punters were a mix of students, young professional couples and political anoraks, but they were united by one fact that quickly became clear: not one of them had voted Conservative. I realised this when chants of ‘1-0, 1-0’ were heard after the first Sunderland result and it became the theme of the evening, the mood of the crowd changing every few minutes depending on whether the latest result meant a Tory gain or Labour hold. The loudest cheer of the night was reserved for the Liberal Democrat gain in Eastbourne, a mixture of local pride and glee at the loss of a ‘safe’ Tory seat.

Chris the landlord made sure everyone was kept refreshed and entertained throughout the night, with filled baps for sale and sweepstakes predicting the seat-count every half hour, and I kept the outside world informed through texts to Twitter. The only disappointment was that the Grey’s license only extended to 3 am, far too early for the Brighton results. I’d like to tell you I stayed up when I got home to see it but I was fast asleep, dreaming of another election this year so I can do it all again.

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