2 p.m. – We turn on the TV at the pub to see shots of the long lines of voters forming in the United States. I get nervous.
3 p.m. – One of our regulars, Ian the lawyer, drinking his pint of Stella, says he can’t imagine McCain winning. “That’s like here saying okay, you’ve got the Labour Party versus an escaped mental patient, and it’s too close to call.”
5:30 – The Aussie bartender and I learn about electoral college votes by reading the Daily Record.
6:30 – I attend a book talk at Waterstone’s that was advertised as a talk with an author who has written about American politics, on the eve of the election. It turns out to be a talk with an author who has written about American political movies. I am disappointed.
8:00 – I settle onto the couch in my flannel pajamas with my laptop, my knitting, a cup of hot black current squash and the BBC.
10:00 – A BBC reporter describes America as “a country of fast food and short attention spans.”
11:20 – the BBC starts its for-real election coverage, with British journalists questioning American panelists.
12:00 – McCain wins Kentucky. Obama wins Vermont. Everyone talks about how unsurprising this is. Then they talk about how race is and isn’t affecting the race. Again.
12:15 – The BBC correspondant in New York interviews…Ricky Gervais. He says he’s never been that interested in politics.
12:18 – Christopher Hitchens joins the panel. He has a nice poppy on his lapel and not one of those crappy UK ones with no pin!
12:43 – Panel mediator starts to get crabby that more results aren’t coming in. The American panelists speculate that ‘the networks are being cautious’. Finally.
12:54 – South Carolina goes to McCain.
12:59 – Mediator: ‘Okay, the polls in 16 states close on the hour. Lets see if we actually get some results this time or if we just have to wait around some more.’
1:00 – Obama projected to win Pennsylvania! Also Illinois, DC, Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland. McCain gets Tennesee.
1:08 – Obama leads in electoral votes, 103-34.
1:28 – Ted Koppel gives a brief history lesson on Black People In America.
1:30 – My internet has totally crapped out. Everyone seems quite confident in an Obama victory, and I think about going to bed for the night.
2:03 – I’m still up. The BBC announces that Fox has called Ohio for Obama, and I take that as my cue that it’s alright to sleep soundly. Good night.
9:12 a.m. – I leap out of the bed and turn the TV back on, to see the numbers 162 McCain, 349 Obama on the screen. The rolling headlines at the bottom say he won not only Pennsylvania and Ohio, but Florida, Virginia, Colorado. I cry tears of joy. America, I’m so HAPPY for you! (And for the rest of us). THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!