Fife EU Count: Election Diary

Fife EU election 2019
Fife EU election 2019

Welcome to EU Election night.

It’s a bit like Eurovision minus Conchita, Graeme Norton and dodgy juries dishing out votes to their pals.

Fife EU election 2019

Fife EU election 2019

It’s also safe to say the Michael Woods Sports Centre lacks the wow factor of your average Eurovision stage.

Everything is green. The walls, the floor, the nets. Everything.

Only Jane Anne Liston’s head to toe yellow outfit stands out on this set.

Election nights can be packed with drama – careers ended and new ones started, tears of joy and shock all rolled into one.

The reverse of a media pass at Fife count

The reverse of a media pass at Fife count

But this is European election night, and, so far, the only sound has been the constant rustling of papers spread out over 42 tables. They’re green too.

The process started at 6.00pm and is likely to roll on until some time after 11.00 pm which is a relief to those of us who have experienced all nighters in this green dome.

It’s also welcome, because, in common with everyone else we have no idea how this voting format actually works. We thought d’Hont was the name of the new Hyundai car we saw in the showroom earlier today...

Returning officer Steve Grimmond’s house rules announcement pretty much set the tone for a low key evening. It was a bit like the safety instructions from cabin crew – the ones no-one really listens to – but minus someone wheeling a trolley down the aisle offering the vote counters a selection of snacks and refreshments.

The media gallery was also pretty empty.

In fact only the Fife Free Press turned up. Everyone else took the night off.

Perhaps just as well as the reverse of my media pass had a distinct yellow badge stating ‘candidate.’

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With half an hour to kill before we started, I began work on my manifesto which, I guess, puts me one step ahead of milkshake man, Nigel Farage.

And how do you kill time at an election.

Well, you wander in and out of the candidates and agents’ meeting room where the tea coffee and biccies are kept. Or were until Labour took up a strategic post at the table closest to the scran.

The coffee was strong enough to anchor an oil rig in a storm, and who knew gluten-free shortbread was even a thing?

We played “Spot the Politician” - bit like Spot the Ball only you can’t go wrong marking each one with an ‘x’ on their foreheads. We’re not allowed on the count floor you see – and there’s usually one eagly-eyed officer who becomes Super Jannie and huckles us back across the dividing line which, in reality, is the tram line from a badminton court to ensure order is restored.

We never did find anyone from UKIP, the Change UK Party or the Brexit Party to complete our bingo card.

Most frequent visitors to the media gallery? Take a bow SNP.

We’ve had Jenny Gilruth, Stephen Gethins, Peter Grant and John Beare up for a chin wag – Jenny even tweeted a pic of us all.

We’ve waved to the Labour folk, but they didn;t find their way up to our temporary home. Maybe like daleks, they just don’t do stairs – or perhaps they knew what was coming and didn’t fancy chewing the fat.

They were gone before the chairs were stacked after the results had been announced – all moving faster than Jane Anne Liston on her fold-away bike!

Like all elections, the drama was wrapped around the result.

After nigh on five hours of kicking our heels, it certainly packed a heck of a punch.