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A look back at the election campaign


So the campaign is almost over. Months of planning, miles of travelling, and at least a few moments of madness. As the party strategists wonder whether their campaigns have worked, I've got five minutes to look back at our own campaign.

We started with the ambition that we'd reflect your concerns, your issues, your priorities as closely as possible. We'd let you talk direct to the politicians, and engage with the debate and with our programmes, at all times. We'd get all round the UK. Have we achieved it?

On Breakfast, you've been able to question the leaders on the Phone-in. Victoria hosted four live audience debates where 200 of you came along to debate crime, immigration, the economy and trust with senior politicians - all four were electric and its fair to say you didn't hold back with your views!

Tony Livesey also invited an audience to debate the debates every Thursday night. Unlike the TV audience, ours jeered and cheered throughout. Gabby Logan introduced us to the 5 live election families - floating voters who may well decide this election like never before. Peter Allen spent a day travelling with each of the main three party leaders. His conclusions? It's all a bit frantic...

Lesley Ashmall spent three days in Scotland, reflecting a very different political dynamic. Mark Hutchings gave us the picture in Wales, and Stephen Nolan presented this weekend from Northern Ireland. Our political reporter Chris Mason thinks he's done three and a half thousand miles criss-crossing the UK.

But despite all the planning, this election took all of us by surprise. Not even the most seasoned Westminster hacks claim to have predicted so-called Cleggmania. And then there was Gillian Duffy. We're at our best on a breaking story, and across last Wednesday afternoon and evening we gave our audience every twist and turn of this mini drama (or soap opera, depending on your viewpoint) as we all watched a white front door for longer than we ever have before.

We worry that the election, and politics, are a turn off. Unlike our telly colleagues we don't get daily audience figures. But today Gordon Brown attracted huge numbers of calls and texts, and we had record numbers of you getting in touch during "bigot-gate".

Tomorrow, as the nation votes, I'll be having a bit of a lie in. And then I'll be among the team here overnight, when Victoria and John Pienaar bring you all the results and the unfolding story of the night live, and once again you'll be at the heart of our coverage. And then, whether there's a clear majority or a hung parliament, there'll be a huge story to report on Friday when we've cleared the schedule for an election special with Peter and Aasmah. We've got presenters out with all the major parties and with our audience across the UK.

It could be a very busy weekend. I'm not sure when I'm going to get a lie in again...

Hayley Valentine is 5 live's Head of News


  • Comment number 1.

    Throughout the campaign I reckon, being a 5 live regular listener, 80% of the coverage of the campaign for me has been through 5 live. Please congratulate everyone involved on professional and entertaining coverage throughout. Whilst all contributors to your programmes have been of high standard, may I particularly single out Nicky Campbell and Stephen Nolan as shining lights in the few weeks now coming to a close

    Well Done !

  • Comment number 2.

    Well, if you have not listened or watched many other political programmes on any other tv or radio channels, haven't thought through reasoned opinions from in the newspapers, you are indeed left with Vote Labour!! by the presenters of Five Live. It has been the most biassed station by far.

    Having said that, Victoria has done a great job on her live programmes.

  • Comment number 3.

    Valentine's (contractual) ooze - is written, like so much else here by 5-Dive, as a patronising school hand-out or an end of term report. There have been no (uninterrupted) speeches from the parties, no attempt to get beyond the hype or machinations of the election. Only, self-serving, self-justifying wafer thin personalities
    delivering just enough to make the pub-bores and fantasists reinforce their prejudice.

  • Comment number 4.

    For me this election went on too long. It was being rammed down my throat morning, noon and night. I don't know if it is just that I am more aware of it this time, perhaps due to the debates being thrown into the mix or because I hate Brown with a vengeance and have never had such antagonism towards a PM candidate before, or that the media have actually gone to town more vociferously than previous elections but I had definitely had enough by the day after the first debate. Unfortunately, we're likely to have to endure it all over again in a couple of months!

  • Comment number 5.

    The highlights of the BBC coverage of the campaign was uncovering that a BBC staff handling election complaints was a Labour party candidate (see: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/bbc/7608921/Labour-Candidate-in-BBC-news-role.html )

    Which explains why my complaint about bias on the Live blog coverage wasn't upheld, and also explains this outcome (check out the disparity in coverage between Labour, Lib Dem and Conservatives) here: http://beebbiascraig.blogspot.com/2010/05/live-event-blog-tally-day-29.html

    5Live by contrast was relatively balanced. Thank you.

  • Comment number 6.

    So after your election coverage are you not going to put a blog up to discuss the actual election result?


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