Thursday, 2 December 2010


Saw a book at City Books in Hove today. Well, I saw many books. It was a bookshop after all. But while I was perusing the politics section I came across a title called "were you still up for Portillo?". I was extremely excited by this title. It refered to the 1997 election night in which Michael Portillo, then Defence Secretary, lost his seat on a huge swing, considered by many to be the greatest shock of the night and a key signifier to the scale of the Tory defeat. The loss of Portillo's seat was declared at about 3AM, and so "were you still up for Portillo?" became a leading question for people talking to eachother about the election night.

I take a great interest in general elections (more so than for politics itself) and so naturally I was keen to look into this book. I was disappointed, however, that rather than being a general assessment of the campaign, election itself, it was literally just a blow by blow account of the election night itself. Which is fair enough, because the title does imply that. I didn't buy a copy there, as I didn't want to pay £6 for a facsimile of the televised coverage, which I am able to watch on youtube for myself thanks to ajs41. However, there was enough insight and context in the book (from the excerpts I read in the store) and enough references to other networks' election night coverage to make it something I should like to read. So that's ordered from Amazon second hand for £1.28, a price so low it's almost reminiscent of the Tory seats won in 1997. And the scale of the snow outside is reminiscent of the Labour result - unprecedented, beyond the wildest forecast. In my garden I suspect there to be eight inches - it's slightly less significant elsewhere in town as much of it has been shovelled or salted. But in the park you can see it drifting somewhat, snowdunes.

Hopefully this weather does not affect my travel tomorrow - I am trying to get to Bristol. Contrary to my initial impressions, my investigations have revealed that the journey from Paddington to Bristol might be easier than my journey from Brighton to Victoria.