On Thursday night, many people across Britain settled down in front of the telly to watch that staple of British life, a BBC electoral coverage all-nighter. Feet up and cuppa in hand, the results were keenly anticipated. Little did they know what was in store for them, though.
And the Election results were keenly anticipated for good reasons.
With the Labour Party racked by a series of damaging Anti-Semitism allegations, the election results were seen as a test for Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of Labour. Political pundits were more or less unanimous that Labour would be devastated across the UK and that Corbyn may very well not survive the night.
For their part, the Conservatives had their own troubles. The upcoming referendum on EU membership had highlighted divisions within the Party. Worse, the last few months had seen a series of embarrassing policy U-turns, most recently involving forcing schools across the country to become academies.
And what about UKIP, LibDems, SNP, Greens? Would they be able to capitalise off the misfortunes of the major parties?
Everyone was looking forward to Jeremy Vine’s astute assessments of electoral results as he wanders around his virtual worlds of charts and graphics
— Kate (@pritchardkate) May 5, 2016
Well OK, maybe not everyone.
— Dan (@tweetingteach) May 5, 2016
Oh dear lord. It's Jeremy Vine dancing on a crap infographic.#bbcelection
— Jon Abbott (@jon_abbott) May 5, 2016
Early in the coverage, some were growing impatient for results.
— Complete Toffee (@CompleteToffee) May 5, 2016
There was perhaps an early warning of things to come with Tory MP Nicky Morgan’s claim that London Mayoral candidate, Zac Goldsmith had run a good, honest campaign. That seemed to go unchallenged by the Beeb, despite widespread allegations of Islamaphobia from many miring Goldsmith’s campaign.
— Neil Davis (@WeeNeiller) May 5, 2016
Nicky Morgan does have her fans apparently. But they didn’t seem to be tweeting on the night. This was fairly typical.
Nicky Morgan is a jabbering ventriloquist's dummy, whose human operator has nipped away for an inexplicably long dump. #BBCelection
— Cliff James (@cliffjamester) May 5, 2016
Former Conservative Party Leader, Ian Duncan Smith’s presence was generally not looked on favourably either. It’s probably best that Jack is a cat-person.
— Jack Caramac (@borisflats) May 5, 2016
Some viewers started getting a little irritated with BBC’s Political Editor, Laura Kuenssberg’s apparent anti-Labour bias. Her narrative for the night appeared to be that the elections were going to be bad for Labour. Early poor results for Labour in Scotland seemed to fuel the fire of this criticism. That narrative seemed to continue, even after the results increasingly began to show that Labour was actually having a pretty good night.
— Andrew Henley (@AndyHenley1) May 5, 2016
#bbcelection I love the BBC and will fight to save it, but I'm saddened to see Laura K talk to Mr McDonnell with such contempt.
— James Bateman (@JamesBateman16) May 5, 2016
— Shlomo Anker (@Hapoel4) May 6, 2016
It seems, how well or badly Labour was going was just a matter of what previous election performance it was compared to.
— Nick (@Mr_Nin) May 6, 2016
— Scott Nelson (@SocialistVoice) May 6, 2016
Kuenssberg’s own tweets didn’t seem to be helping with those perceptions of anti-Corbyn bias.
Senior MP tells us Corbyn 'has until this time next year to prove he won't hand 2020 to the Tories on a plate'
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) May 6, 2016
— Dave Robinson (@davidrobbo66) May 6, 2016
And the Stephen Hawking Award for Political Analysis with a Physics-slant goes to…
Then came Kuessenberg triumphantly presenting John McDonnell with his ‘secret Labour documents’. Or… err… notes as many of us might put it. Even some of Labour’s opponents were beginning to complain.
— Keep Labour Out (@GetLabourOut) May 6, 2016
This is the moment Kuenssberg triumphantly presents Shadow Deputy Leader, John McDonnell… with his own notes.
Though of course, not everybody minded.
I think I'm in love with Laura Kuenssberg. Watching her knife Watson & McDonnell was the hottest thing I've seen all week. #BBCelection
— KING SILVER (@boogiepants) May 6, 2016
Contrary to popular opinion, not everyone on Twitter is a Corbyn fan.
Lefties incandescent with rage as Labour getting stuffed, they should get used to it as its all downhill under Corbyn #BBCelection
— Jim (@Hansig_jw) May 6, 2016
Meanwhile in Sheffield, Elmo looked happy despite losing heavily to the Labour candidate.
— Ethan Wood (@ethan_wood__) May 6, 2016
More than one person felt compelled to throw things at the telly.
— Susie Stewart (@susiepip) May 6, 2016
I’m reliably informed that the satsuma was successfully fished out from behind the telly the next day.
And for those into extreme sports… A BBC Election Night drinking game.
— Danny Embargo (@dannyembargo) May 6, 2016
Then there was the increasingly bitter fight for London Mayor. Early polling seemed to be wide of the mark.
— The National Leaf (@TheNationalLeaf) May 6, 2016
But pretty soon after London Mayor election results started coming in it became clear that Sadiq Khan was likely to win. BBC Commentators appeared to be distancing Corbyn from the Khan’s electoral success. And that was noticed too.
— Touchy (@Bulletproofdog) May 6, 2016
Some people had mixed feelings about Katie Hopkin’s pledge to run through the streets of London naked, with a sausage up her bottom if Khan won.
— Complete Toffee (@CompleteToffee) May 6, 2016
Some people were scratching around for answers to explain the BBC’s apparently biassed coverage. A few thought they’d found it in the form of former BBC Political Editor, Nick Robinson.
— michelle maher (@mmaher70) May 6, 2016
The BBC’s Electoral Coverage was such that it took a long time for many to realise that overall Labour seems to have had a pretty good night.
— Marky Corleoneo (@MCorleoneo) May 6, 2016
strange comments by Blairites saying "Corbyn is a disaster." Results if happened in G.Election would mean Tories would have lost Majority
— Shlomo Anker (@Hapoel4) May 6, 2016
— JeSuisFedUp (@JeSuisFedUp) May 6, 2016
The BBC had been surprisingly silent of allegation of widespread electoral fraud. The morning after the Elections, they finally get a mention. But some were suspicious.
— Question Spacetime (@pbcqt) May 6, 2016
As the dust settled the BBC viewers on Twitter searched around for comparisons to the BBC’s Election Night coverage.
I have started to gather my news from more reliable sources. Bins, forest floors, chemical containers. #bbcelection
— Christopher Brodie (@atomictimepiece) May 6, 2016
— B.B.C (@mediabias_inUK) May 6, 2016
And, of course, like most things in life, it ended with the inevitable petition.
— Saunvedan Aparanti (@saunvedan) May 6, 2016