Extracts from letters and diaries on election nightsby Ian Irvine / April 20, 2011 / Leave a comment
More innocent times: Tony Blair and his daughter Kathryn watch the election results on TV at Trimdon Labour Club, Sedgefield, 1st May 1997
Violet Asquith, daughter of future Liberal Prime Minister Henry Asquith, writes to a friend from her father’s constituency in Fife, 26th January 1906.
It’s 9.30 and we’re just back from our polling stations. There are 22 strewn over the whole country—we started at 10 this morning & have been to every one of them. How mysterious voting looks—I was thrilled watching one dirty décolleté man in corduroys after another mumbling his name crossing his little paper & dropping it into the inscrutable box. Outside large (sometimes small) cheering crowds who shook me by the hand grinding my knuckles together until I nearly cried from sheer pain.
Woodrow Wyatt writes in his diary on the surprise Tory victory, 9th April 1992
The final election party at Alistair McAlpine’s house in College Street was far more amusing than any of the others. It was about one o’clock. Margaret [Thatcher] was right at the top of the house in a fairly small room with two television screens on either side. There was an empty chair beside her and she asked me to sit with her. She was quite cross with me when the news of Chris Patten’s defeat at Bath came up. I said, “That’s a small sacrifice to pay for getting an overall Tory majority.” Margaret said, “You’re not being very generous.” I replied, “He was never a friend of yours.” Margaret was also cross, a little bit, with Alexander Hesketh, when he was agreeing heartily with me about how terrible Christopher Patten is. She said, “You shouldn’t talk like that, either of you.”
Margaret got more and more pleased as the evening wore on. I had told her during the evening that they would have won even more votes and more seats had she been conducting the campaign. This is what I really felt. Not surprisingly, she agreed.
She left about a quarter to four… I gave her a great hug and whispered in her ear, “I adore you. You are marvellous.”
As she went out the photographers took masses of photographs and the television was there asking for her comment. She said, “It is a great night. It is the end of socialism.”
Alastair Campbell records in his diary the events at Tony Blair’s house in his…