Bruce Forsyth and some other highlights

Election 2010: Guffwatch!

Highlights so far. The main one has to be that absolutely excruciating moment when Bruce Forsyth tried to rally a 1985-style BBC boat party into a "To see you NICE" chant. The horror, the horror.

Otherwise let's take a long, hard, analytical look, not at the exit polls but at the . . . BBC coverage! Yes, indeed. First there was a surge of soundtracked strings, à la Hollywood. Then good old David Dimbleby, holding the proverbial ship together as the sound failed all around him, and then, at last, Paxo with his trio of party spokespeople and an odd time-lagged interview with Alan Johnson that made it sound like an awkward conversation between two teenagers hoping for a first date.

But in conclusion. Go, Bridget Phillipson! Sunderland, in the bonkers race to be first, seemed almost to trip over itself with all its bouncing students carrying ballot boxes. But they made it in the end. And if no one else who you like wins for the rest of the night, just think of the election officials of Houghton and Sunderland South, counting those votes quicker than anyone else. Yessss!

Sophie Elmhirst is features editor of the New Statesman

Jeremy Corbyn, Labour leader. Getty
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Will Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn become Prime Minister after the 2017 general election?

Can Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn win the 2017 general election? 

Jeremy Corbyn could be the next prime minister. Admittedly, it’s highly unlikely. After less than two years as Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn is leading the party into a snap general election. Labour behind in the latest general election polls and underperformed badly in the recent local elections. But since the election was called, Labour’s position in the polls has been improving. Can we trust the general election polls?

This isn’t the first vote of national significance since his election, however, since he was in office during the 2016 EU referendum. It’s also not Corbyn’s first serious challenge: after the Brexit vote, his MPs voted “no confidence” in him and Owen Smith challenged him for the leadership. Corbyn saw off that threat to his position convincingly, so can he pull out another electoral triumph and become prime minister? 

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister after the general election 2017?

Do the polls predict a Labour victory?

Since May 2015, the Conservative Party has consistently led in the polls. The latest polls give Labour ratings in the mid 30s, while the Conservatives are on the mid-40s. Recent improvements in Labour’s standing still leave Jeremy Corbyn a long way from becoming prime minister.

But should we believe the general election polls? Glen O’Hara, professor of modern and contemporary history at Oxford Brookes University, points out that the polls have been wrong before, and could be overstating Labour’s collapse. However, a 20-point gap is far outside the margin of error. A Corbyn win would be an unprecedented upset.

What is Labour's record on elections?

At the 2016 local elections, Labour did not gain any councils and lost 18 seats and 4 per cent of the vote. James Schneider, the co-founder of Momentum who is now Corbyn’s head of strategic communications, said this showed Labour was on the right trajectory, but it’s a disappointment for an opposition to make no gains. And at the Copeland by-election this February, Labour lost the seat to the Tories – the first government gain in a by-election since 1982.

Can Jeremy Corbyn become prime minister? The verdict

Jeremy Corbyn’s path to power would be one of the greatest surprises in British politics. But unlikely doesn’t mean impossible. It would take some extraordinary events, but it could happen. Check out the latest odds to see how the markets rate his chances.

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