The first person to greet the revellers who walked in the New Statesman‘s election night party was the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump. Standing stock still in oversized trousers and a shiny red tie, the controversial leader said not a word to those streaming in to the eighth floor of London’s OXO tower. This might have had something to do with the fact he was made of (incredibly realistic) cardboard, and something else to do with the fact that – had he wanted to – he couldn’t get a word in edgeways.
There is only one way to describe the party’s reaction to the exit poll, beamed up on to television screens at 10pm sharp. Screaming. For posterity, the affair was captured on film:
Our reaction at #nselectionparty when the exit poll came in pic.twitter.com/EkDrcuINJM
— New Statesman (@NewStatesman) June 8, 2017
But after the screams and chants (and single, solitary boo) died away, there were intelligent words to be had. How did the party’s many attendees feel about the shock result?
“If the exit poll is right … that’s just extraordinary,” said Private Eye editor and Have I Got News for You team captain Ian Hislop. “As usual, everyone wrong about everything – fantastic!”
One attendee, who wishes to remain anonymous, had emotive words: “This is a sensational vindication of Jeremy Corbyn’s two leadership wins, neither of which I voted for – but Big The Man Up!”
As the cardboard cutout of Theresa May that once stood so strong and stable fell to the floor, the journalist Peter Wilby weighed in: “If the exit poll is correct it falls into the category of sensational.” Incidently, so were the canapés.
Masks of May were donned and the party overspilled onto the balcony, with breathtaking views of London coming second to the shortness of breath felt in that one, magical moment. “The exit poll is extraordinary and the sense of shock in the room was palpable,” said Newsnight deputy editor Jess Brammar.
Tob Kibasi, director of the Institute for Public Policy Research added: “This evening maybe June will see the end of May.”
We will leave you, then, with the words of our own special correspondent, Stephen Bush:
“I’m so happy. This is the happiest I’ve been since my wedding day.”
The New Statesman would like to thank everyone who attended to make the event such a special night. We’d also like to thank the Showtime Photo Booth for providing a dash of fun with their photoboth and props, and the Oxo Tower Brasserie for putting on such a welcoming spread.