Over the past few weeks I’ve been working very hard with Station Manager Lissie on an ambitious project for the coverage of election night at Leeds Student Radio. We sent correspondents to Westminster, Sunderland and Leeds city centre, and broadcast live from 10pm on Thursday the 7th May, as the polls closed, until midday on Friday. We were managing a team of almost 50 incredible individuals who continuously performed throughout the day and night, and it was also thrilling to know that LSR had the longest (and best…) election coverage broadcast out of all of the student radio stations in the country.
The atmosphere in the office was electric in the run up to the first show, with last minute preparations and people delayed only by getting stuck in the chair that eats your clothing (Chair: 58, LSR: 0). I presented the 10pm-12am slot with the lovely Toke, and we had two political specialists, Tim and Ulrik, in the studio to give us the low-down on the exit polls and topics such as tactical voting, and the role of women.
During our show, Sunderland retained their impressive ability to deliver the first count of the night, and we crossed live to our correspondent just as they declared their first result. A recent news story gave an insight into how school children practice running the counts into the polling station as quickly as possible, where the phrase ‘no man is left behind’ is completely disregarded if you drop your box…
We also spoke to our reporters in the bar downstairs in the union, who by 11:30pm couldn’t find anyone less drunk to interview than ‘One-Beer-Ben’ who admitted he was ‘feeling wavy’ before declaring his only insight to be ‘Nigel Farage is a f****** w*****’ live on air. Lovely. Thanks for that, Ben.
The night was a huge success, even if the same can’t be said for the election results – after it was starting to become painfully clear that the outcome wasn’t exactly what many students were hoping for, levels of enthusiasm did sink slightly. But we quickly counteracted this with the one-minute rave (which we had every hour to keep both the listeners and presenters awake!) and copious amounts of pizza – everyone stayed completely professional and upbeat. More so than could be said for the aforementioned bar, where many people were in floods of tears and a fight broke out between Labour and Lib Dem supporters. Stay classy, Leeds.
By 7am I was fairly delirious from being awake for close to 24 hours, and after seeing at least four people being escorted out of the bar in the time it took to get a jug of water (including one guy who had lost several items of clothing), I decided that it was time for me to get some rest too.
The really disappointing aspect of the outcome for me was that, for example, SNP had less than 300’000 more votes than the Green Party, yet now have a substantial 56 seats compared to just 1 for the Greens. How can this be the case, I hear you cry? It simply doesn’t fairly represent what the British population believe in. The emphasis has shifted from the traditional parties and we need a system that reflects the choices we are privileged to have – I wonder how long it will take before the demand for electoral reform is listened to.
Here’s a cheeky petition, with 160’000 signatures currently, in case you feel the same: https://www.change.org/p/david-cameron-reform-our-voting-system-to-make-it-fair-and-representative-makeseatsmatchvotes
However, this election has proved just how engaged young people are, and with one in three MPs now female and UKIP having a rough time, it’s certainly not all doom and gloom.
This was, of course, the first time I have been able to vote in the general election, and despite getting fed up with empty promises, the actual result and Farage’s face, I can honestly say that I’ve absolutely loved it from start to finish.
Please check out some of our coverage here!