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16 October 2014
Modern Studies: The Scottish Elections 2007

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Election Day Special - Transcript


The time now is 6 o'clock on Thursday the 3 rd of May. This is Good Morning Scotland on BBC Radio Scotland . I'm Isabel Fraser. The headlines this morning – voting is the Holyrood and council elections…

Phone rings…

Hello. Hi, Ewan. I'm up and about, a wee bit anxious, but I've got the coffee on anyway, toast and stuff.

My name's Aileen Campbell and I'm one of the candidates standing in the Scottish parliament elections in the constituency of Clydesdale. This is the first time I've stood in Parliament and it's quite nerve wracking. It's been a long, long campaign. I've been at this for over a year. I've had my coffee, very strong coffee, because it's so early and because it'll be such a long, long day. I've had a bit of toast, although I don't feel like eating because I'm so up to high do and so nervous.

Cheerio, bye, bye. (Puts phone down)

That's my election agent, Ewan, who's checking to see that I'm up because I have slept in a couple of time through this campaign. I feel a bit jittery actually; I don't know what to do next for the best to save time because Ewan's coming in half an hour and I've not even dried my hair or anything. (Laughs)

(Sound of gate opening)

My name's Stuart Robertson, I'm the Janitor at Priorsford School in Peebles. Usually I'm up here for about quarter to eight for an eight o'clock start but obviously change of plans today with the elections on. I got up this morning at quarter past five, up here for about twenty past six. I turned up this morning and who's at the front door, the father in law. He's presiding officer.

(Father in law) I was first, five minutes before parade time. His big problem is today I understand is the Vale's playing tonight and I believe his goal keeper is working with the election.

(Aileen Campbell) I have been told by someone who's been in politics for a long time that women have to wear bright clothes because they stand out because all the men wear suits, so I must pick something colourful to wear so people can see me. All I need to do now is brush my teeth, put some slap on, comb my hair and get ready for the day ahead.

(Door bell rings)

Hi Ewan. Do you want to come up or will I come down? Come up then. Ok. Right we'll have a quick look at the papers before we head off just to see what the coverage is like. ‘Undecided twenty percent hold key to victory'. That's true. The two main parties are quite close but oh they've got the ten seats that are marginal.

(Beeping noise) Good morning. I'm looking for Joan Logan, the Presiding Officer. Hang on, I'll get her for you.

(Joan Logan) Historically the election used to be held in the local school at the top of the road there, but that closed down in the early nineties and at that time I owned the coffee shop and worked in it and since retiring I still do the election and the coffee shop just closes on Election Day. There are a lot of outlying farms round here and we really don't see the locals very much so when they come in to vote they like to catch up on the news so it's usually quite a happy day Ray isn't it? Yes. So we all really quite enjoy it. We need to make sure there's notices up to understand how the voting system works because it's more complicated this time with the extra voting.

(Unknown female voice) I don't think there's been enough publicity, I really do not, I've only seen a couple of things on television about how to fill in your form.

(Joan Logan) The information officer here will do his job (laughs). Tick the boxes, yes go on, there we go, that one's ready for action.

(Aileen Campbell) The polling stations have been open for about half an hour now, probably quite quiet there, so I'll go and place my vote and then we can go out to Larkhall and we can get stuck into Clydesdale (laughs). I've not got any party colours on, you're not supposed to take that into the polling station, so I'll nick in and nick out again.

I'm Ewan Ferguson; I'm Aileen's election agent, campaign manager. We're pretty nervous today because we think we're close. Today's going to be a long day we're starting before seven am and we'll be finishing about, at the earliest, five from what we're hearing. So spending all day working hard, chapping doors. A long day and a lot of work but it's what we've been building up to for over a year. It's been hard on the shoes, hard on the cars, a lot of work but it's commitment.

(Aileen Campbell) That about ten to eight, maybe a little later than we'd planned but I've put my vote down and now we're on our way to Larkhall to get stuck into our work for the day.

(Police radio) Control message for PC Lunberg. Just looking for an update for the station you're at please.

I'm Paul Lunberg. I'm the community officer for the Portobello area. I am currently on election duty today for the 3 rd of May. The weather is overcast, there's a harr coming in from the east coast and still a wee chill in the air. Ten to eight so I don't expect there'll be much happening, I'm just going to introduce myself to the presiding officer.

(Unknown female voice) Hello there, I'm sorry sir it wasn't me!

(PC Lunberg) How are we doing?

(Unknown female voice) Fine and dandy.

(PC Lunberg) Good Morning.

(Unknown male voice) It's the first time we've have an information officer and she's doing a great job but a bit too cheery, it's getting a bit sickening. If she could tone it down a bit that would much more professional, it'll not last!

(PC Lunberg) How's things?

(Unknown female voice) Steady, there's been no incidents or anything. Good. Nobody came in welding knives or machetes at us so we'll considering ourselves quite lucky! We're getting a wee rush on. Two people! Maybe they like a man in uniform, maybe that's what it is!

(PC Lunberg) You never know!

My name's Jim Marple. I'm a GP and I work in West Calder in West Lothian . Catherine's school's closed with the elections.

(Catherine) My daddy's got a day off today but mummy hasn't.

(Jim) That's right mummy had to go to work, didn't she?

(Catherine) So Daddy's looking after me!

(Jim) That's right.

(Aileen Campbell) It's just before nine o'clock and we've come to Larkhall just to scoot round some of the polling stations just to see what's going on. Apparently it hasn't been very busy but folk encouragingly haven't been asking for help for the information officers which means they must know what they are doing which is good. Just had a wee chat there with one of the activists manning the station there and they seem quiet happy with the way things are going so we'll maybe might drop off some of our knock-up sheets, knock up being for the supporters we've identified during the campaign and chap their doors and make sure they come out and vote for us.

(Aileen Campbell and unknown female voice)) Hello, just wondering if you have been out to vote today? Not as of yet, no. Do you need a lift or anything at all? It'll be late afternoon before I get up. What was your name sorry? Eileen Campbell. You're not like your leaflet. Am I not? I'm all smiling there. Are you going out to support us? I've not made up my mind. I'll go in and go eeeny meeny miney …

(Knock on door) (Unknown female voice) I'm not interested; I'm no into politics at all.

(Aileen Campbell and unknown female voice) I just wondered if you'd been out to vote yet? I've not been out yet. I will be going but I don't know when. I've got a lassie who has just turned 18 an all. She's saying she's no going but I'm going to try to force her to go. I'm no wanting to go up on my own so I'll wait till she comes in and maybe try to coax her to go up.

(Aileen Campbell) My feet are getting sore. I wore a pair of heels today which maybe wasn't the best move. I don't normally wear heels but we'll carry on. Dog barking – oh he doesn't like me!

I'm Andy O'Neil, I'm the Head of Office Scotland for the Electoral Commission and I'm wandering round polling stations in Edinburgh observing to see that the election is running well from an administrative point of view.

I'm Mhairi Stuart and this is Scotland Live news and your views this Thursday lunchtime. Today's headlines, voting is underway across Scotland for the Holyrood election…

(Phone rings) Hello Moira Patrick, Depute Returning Officer, can I help you? It has not stopped since we came in at quarter past six this morning. The polling stations staff arrived at six thirty and began phoning in from that point on to let us know they were there and there's been phone calls almost continuously since then. We've had a photographer taking photos in one of the polling stations which they are not allowed to do that because we had the monks from Pluscarden Abbey, which is quite a sight to see them walking down the road from the abbey to vote and the photographer got a little bit over zealous. It's always nerve wracking getting to this point but once the polling stations are up and running and open there's a little bit of a lull, a sigh of relief, until tonight when we go to the count and that's a new experience again with the electronic count. Hopefully on the night though it'll prove its worth because we won't be counting until the early hours, we'll be finished at a reasonable time.

(Unknown male voice) Polling places? Yes we've got lots of interesting ones across Scotland we've got a village hall which was used in Local Hero, Pennan village hall.

(Sound of the waves) My name's Nigel Salford, we're in Pennan on the coast of Aberdeenshire . It's about fifty foot from the sea and now the sun is shining on the sea, sea gulls flying about and the cliffs in the background, a nice place, if you're going to vote it's the place to vote. Pennan is one of the smallest electoral roles I believe in Scotland and even if 100% turn out at seven in the evening we're still likely to be here to the bitter end till ten o'clock at night.

(Aileen Campbell) It's half two now and we're all a wee bit jaded so we've had teas, rolls, dumpling, biscuits, juice, everything, it's been great so we're fed and watered and refreshed and ready to go and start again.

My name's Hamilton Millar and I've been the Club Secretary at Kinneil Bowling and Social Club for eleven years and we've all worked hard to try and give the people of this locality somewhere to come to, somewhere they can relax, have a drink, a game of bingo, or darts, or dominos, or whatever, and they have came and they've shut us down and they've given us a hundred pounds that's to cover loss of earnings from the bar, heating, lighting, wages, everything.

My name's Janis. I'm quiet disgruntled. Tonight I'm in the house instead of being at my local social club. My friends and I meet there on a Thursday and it's a bingo and a couple of drinks and it's been put off because of the elections. But there's elderly women that go there and it's probably the only time in the week that they have people to speak to and that's why we are so annoyed that they have used the bowling club instead of one of the other local halls.

( Hamilton Millar) Getting up at five in the morning and coming away down here and meeting some girny woman at that time of the morning. There are no highlights really, not for me.

(PC Lunberg) Echo Delta Six Five. We're now at Jewel and Esk Valley College at Milton Road , for the second time to see if there's any more action than there was the first time I called. Fighting off the queues? It's no busy anywhere else. Nothing happening? No riots. Party not started yet? How many you had through? Forty one, three spoilt papers. Today we've had more spoilt papers than we have previously, we could do with a few more folk in. I'll tell them to come in and see you. Drum us up some business. See you later.

(Aileen Campbell) It's been quite a long day so far, we're all feeling a bit drained I think and a bit lethargic but just another few hours to go and make that final push and get to ten o'clock and we can have a wee rest and put our feet up and have a cup of tea and maybe something to eat.

(Unknown male voice) How's it going? Pretty good. No problems? I think there's a lot of people that are struggling to understand this single transferable vote. My job started last week when we did the training for all the officers and clerks in the island. Yesterday getting it out and round the island to all the different stations and then tonight it's collecting the ballot boxes in and transferring them over to the mainland. Many years ago they used fishing boats but that took too long so now we use a fast speed boat which gets to the mainland in about half an hour.

(Unknown female voice) Don't fold them! I live up in Loch Ranza and I was up at five o'clock this morning so I'll be glad to get to my bed. I'll have a right big whisky when I get home, knock me out for the count. Don't tell me that's that blooming phone, it's been going all day and if it's not one it's an another.

(Aileen Campbell) Last minute voters are coming into the polling station down in Biggar. There's a couple of candidates out and about, Tom here, I think he's been here most of the day, along with his wife who has the most welcome flask of coffee I've ever seen so we've all got a wee heat because it's getting pretty chilly now, fifty minutes to go, not long now. Its quiet good to see the end in sight however we've still got until five in the morning before the result gets declared but at least that's this part of it ticked off and done nearly. It's in the lap of the gods now. Just have to wait and see. I feel a bit delirious I don't know! Now I have a speech to write. I feel quite lethargic although that coffee has given me a second wind so we'll be able to go back up to Larkhall, reassess what we're going to do, have something to eat and go up to East Kilbride.

I'm Douglas Fraser, Scottish Political Editor at the Herald. We have got two tasks, the major task is as the elections come in we are running a series of editions which run right through until about five in the morning and I hope that the picture has become clear by that time. He other thing we've got to do is to produce a first edition and that's quite a tricky thing to do to write a story when your readers know what the story is and as a writer you don't. Sometimes working as a newspaper journalist it's quite a solitary thing to do, you are out on your own, this is one occasion when you are part of a big team and it's a big challenge to make the team work but we hope by the early hours of the morning a real sense of achievement that we've got the results coming out as fast as we can.

(TV studio) The count for Linda will be 01 02.

Sam, it's John Rigby at Newsnight, you've given me the wrong tape. I have Newsnight Govan in my hand. I have the rushes of Grossman Govan…

(Douglas Fraser) It's only after 10 o'clock that people will relax a little bit, give me a bit more of a background as to what's really been going on behind the campaign and unravelling all these lies that I've been hearing all the weeks about how well they all seem to be doing. They can't all have been doing all that well. We'll very soon find out what the real truth is.

I'm Colin Edgar and I'm Head of PR and Marketing for Glasgow City Council.

(Unknown female voice) East Kilbride ?

(Colin Edgar) Yes

(Unknown female voice) Glasgow Rutherglen, announce there?

(Colin Edgar) Announce there however we can't pack up here until we've announced Rutherglen because…

(Unknown female voice) That's right because you need it for the regional vote…

(Colin Edgar) Yes, No, No. They are announcing over there.

(Unknown female voice) Over in East Kilbride or Wishaw?

(Colin Edgar) Oh Christ where are they counting it?

(Unknown female voice) East Kilbride . I was told it was East Kilbride …

OK it's pretty chaotic in here at the moment it's also very, very hot because there's far more people than we usually have. My name's Alistair McLeod, I'm responsible for news programmes across radio and television.

(Douglas Fraser) Invariably in every election those who don't come out of it well tend then to have a great falling out and the blame game starts and from a journalists' point of view that's fantastic when they start falling out with each other there's a great source of stories there. So I suspect that will start as soon as the polls close at 10 o'clock indeed I'm beginning to pick up quite a whiff of it already.

(BBC Radio Scotland sting) BBC Radio Scotland . It's ten o'clock, the polls have closed.

(Unknown female voice) We're serving steak, hot dogs, sausages, chips, chips and cheese, bacon rolls, just a variety to suit the needs, chips and curry sauce, the usual, good Glasgow fare. We're enjoying a quiet time just now, just busy getting set up, trying to get prepared for the customers coming in. Hopefully it will be a good night for us all. It's slow to start with but once the results start coming in it gets really, really busy quickly and we don't get much chance other than to lift our heads and say ‘who's next'.

(Different unknown female voice) We're all sitting round the edge of the sports hall and not really knowing what's going on.

(BBC Radio Scotland Report) A helicopter has broken down. It should have been bringing the ballot boxes from the island of Barra . The Election Officials over there have apologised for the delay and they say they will now send the votes by the ferry tomorrow morning. So you're not in charge of the helicopters but if any of the scanners start breaking down we should get back to you. Is that what you are saying?

(Unknown male voice) I have every confidence in the technology.

(Unknown male voice) It's about ten forty, we're heading out of Lamlash towards Brodick. We're on time and we're coming down the hill, past the ferry terminal to the small slipway where we'll meet up with the police and people coming from other direction with the other boxes and then we'll start loading on to the boat ready to go.

(Unknown male voice) The weather looks very favourable. You can see Ardrossan quite clearly from here. It looks like being quite a clear run tonight which makes it quite enjoyable.

(Unknown male voice) We're just lifting the ballot boxes and loading them into the rib down at the bottom of the jetty for us to take them over to Ardrossan which will take I think about forty minutes.

Hi it's Gus, we're hoping to leave here in about five minutes, we're still loading, we should be about thirty minutes over so our ETA is about thirty five minutes from now. We'll be there by twelve midnight at the latest

(BBC Studio PA) 5,4,3,2,1. Run VT. Fifteen seconds on titles. We're on air. 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1,0 and go Jeff mix. Queue Glenn.

(Glenn Campbell) Welcome to the Scottish election, the reality show that reveals who gets to run the county…

(Unknown male voice) Once they come in they're unpacked. They are tidied up and put into a box which is then passed to these ladies here who then scan in that box. That verifies and registers the stuff that's coming in. Once they've done that they are not allowed to leave their seats, if they want to pee they have to put their hand up and someone will take their place. The scanners can count 3000 ballots papers an hour so in theory with a 30,000 election we should be through here in an hour.

(Unknown male voice) The verification takes a while. I went through one batch of verification there and it takes quite a long time. Whither you've got ballot papers that people have put crosses or numbers on instead of crosses and they just work it out.

(BBC Journalist) The very good news is in about 5 minutes time we are expecting Wishaw to declare their result…

(Ewan Ferguson) This may be a long and rather telling night I think. I might be chewing up to my elbows by the time they declare. I've never seen Aileen this nervous. She's not a naturally quiet person but the nerves are really showing at the moment.

(Aileen Campbell) There's lots of folk buzzing around in the middle of the room. And of course there's all the people round about, all the different parties, all looking for the same thing, all looking for their vote to come through. Ours is supposed to come through at 5 o'clock. I hope we run them close, we've worked so hard. Maybe there's a possibility, I don't know whither that's just candidateitis, we're just so wrapped in what's going on you think oh we could win it, we could win it.

(Unknown female voice) It's twenty five past three. Despite the machines trundling on there's been no result as yet from East Kilbride . I think we're all slightly delirious now because it seems a wee bit farcical. I'm just kind of tired; I just want something to happen.

(Unknown male voice) I think changing the system for the council election has confused people and we need to have a serious look at continuing that practice. To be honest at this point I'm beyond nervous, I'm just dead on my feet. I've been up for twenty three and a half hours now. It's just nervous exhaustion at this point.

(BBC Presenters) And more logistical problems. The boat from Arran has broken down in the Clyde . Another boat has been sent out to collect the ballot boxes and possibly the people on board. (Laughs) The ballot boxes obviously being the priority here. That's for Cunningham North I think.

(Aileen Campbell) I joined this party when I was sixteen. This is the first time I've stood. I'm committed to the party and I'll work hard for it whither I win, lose or draw.

(Returning officer) There were one thousand seven hundred and thirty six rejected papers.

(BBC Political Editor Brian Taylor) Sometimes people can spoil a ballot paper deliberately by writing ‘none of the above' or writing an issue of protest, these are none of that order. In the constituency so far a total of 454 were rejected last time, the total so far this time in those three seats is 3143, that's ballot papers rejected by the returning officer because the voter's intention is not clear.

(Returning Officer) Attention please. I'll now read out the result for the Clydesdale constituency. Aileen Campbell, Scottish National Party, 10942, Karen MacDonald Gillon, Scottish Labour Party, 13835.

(Aileen Campbell) I feel a bit shaken after that. My knees are trembling. I'm pleased with the result. (Laughs) We've slashed the majority, that's what we wanted to do, that was the aim, and that's what we did. The adrenaline stopped pumping after the speech there, I got some boos. (Laughs) Oh well!

(Music) Lyrics - I've had the same jeans on for 4 days now…

This was Vicky Murray at the count in East Kilbride, this was Ria O'Neil for Making an Election interviewing Douglas Fraser at the Herald, This was Lianne Howison reporting with Portobello Police Station in Edinburgh , This is Sabrina Sharma reporting for BBC Radio Scotland . This is Richard Preston for the BBC at the BBC, in Glasgow . This is Caroline Kennedy on the Arran ferry signing off.

Aileen Campbell, calling at about eight thirty on Friday morning, it's just to let you know I can't believe it, I'm an MSP, I got in on the Regional List, oh its crazy. I think we're going to celebrate now and have champagne with bacon rolls. (Laughs) I just wanted to let you know that. Thanks now, Bye bye.

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