* It’ll be a long wait for results (many places are counting tomorrow, but plenty tonight), but true political junkies will be staying up to watch what drama there is, with the old stalwart BBC reporters… Updates added to the bottom of this post as the night unfolds.
* First share-of-vote figures in to BBC: Lab -3, Con +6, Lib Dem -4. First results trickling in indicate patchy swing, or none at all, so perhaps local issues have trumped national mood.
* Political bloggers are getting a fairly high profile on the BBC coverage: 3 well-known bloggers, one from each main party, are in the studio. Host Emily Maitlis invites us to submit our “twitter” by email – but makes no mention of Twitter.
* American spectators may not be familiar with David Dimbleby, but he’s a venerable anchor of political coverage, and a comfortingly familiar presence on election night. He’s on his usual disarmingly avuncular form tonight.
* Jeremy Vine has just performed an embarrassingly dumbed-down sketch, presumably designed to impart psephological data in a “fun” way, by impersonating a Texan gunslinger “shooting” vote percentages.
Bring back Peter Snow! His animated jinks, bringing life to the swingometer, were daft but harmlessly amusing. Vine’s attempts are inappropriate pandering to a non-existent audience. People staying up to watch results are interested in election data, they don’t want mindless joking to make it “easier” to digest. Beeb, please stop patronising your audience.
* Twitter must have an aversion to election nights. It’s down for me now, just like before the Pennsylvania primary.
* BBC’s projected national share of vote with 69.3% of wards reporting: Lab 24%, Con 44%, Lib Dem 25%. A very good night for the Conservatives, and the governing party in third place.
* Labour talking head buzz phrases: “This has not been a good night”; “This isn’t a general election”; “The last few months have been a difficult time for the government”; “We are listening and will get back on track”. Lib Dems: “We expected to lose and are happy to do so”.
* Interesting point from Anthony King: the percentage of wards that buck any national trend has grown over the years.
* I wish Jeremy Vine would stop going on about Gordon Brown becoming Mr Bean. It isn’t edifying.
* Seems it’s only twitter.com/home that’s down. You can still read others. Love this tweet from Iain Dale: “Michael Portillo is sitting on a sofa reading a book, not deigning to talk to anyone“.
* This is the first election since the start of the Iraq War in which the atmosphere has not been poisoned by it.
* Anthony King predicts the decline of tactical voting in favour of the Labour Party. He is surely right; there is not enough enthusiam for Labour for people to make a tactical vote against their natural inclination. This will be a major change in the electoral landscape.
* David Dimbleby: “God knows” if bloggers really “have their ear to the ground”.
* Iain Dale sounds very bitter about Michael Portillo: “he should remember the party that made him”. Apparently Portillo thinks 44% isn’t good enough for the Tories. I can’t wait for the next Michael & Diane show. No doubt there will be joshing on the sofa.
* Portillo on Livingstone: It is now time to talk about Ken in the past tense; Ken has been a remarkable figure in London, 28 years ago we all made fun of him for standing up for gay and lesbian rights, that’s now mainstream.
* Why on Earth don’t they count the London mayorial votes over night? Ridiculous to keep everyone waiting.
* I can’t remember the last time the computer-generated House of Commons predicted a Tory government. On the basis of tonight’s vote, projected as if it were a general election, the Conservatives would have a majority of 138. It won’t happen that decisively, but simply seeing the little blue men lining up on the animated government benches must send a chill down Labour spines.