Well – the must have invite of the year – to the American Embassy on election night! I got there about 10.30pm – which is a really late start for an early to bed early to rise sort of a geek like me. However – the general excitement of the potential of the night worked its magic and I managed to stay there until around 2am.
So – what’s it like? Incredibly well organised – as American official entertaining always is. Obviously disappointed to find that there were around 1,499 other invitees – but hey. Amongst said invitees the celebs I noticed (or rather my escort for the evening Ed Butcher – local Liberal Democrat councillor for Stroud Green and my Head of Office pointed out) were: Matt Damon (except I think later this proved to be someone else famous who I had never heard of; Janet Street-Porter, Alistair Campbell, lots of MPs and ministers etc, broadcasters like Jonathan Dimbleby (brother David obviously busy on air) and Nick Robinson, Andrew Rawnsley and lots and lots of others I am sure.
Peter Lord, who had kindly invited me (he is the American officer designated with attending to Liberal Democrats politically speaking) said that Madonna and Gwyneth had been invited – but declined. Their loss, our gain!
Anyway – as I said – Americans do these things well. There were flashing lit American flag badges for the Embassy staff so you knew who to approach to ask any questions. There were stars and stripes hats and tiaras – which I didn’t manage to get hold of. There was a Burger King serving hamburgers, fries and a vegetarian option, a Subway – and loads of drinks bars as well as circulating, fill your glass sir waiters and canapes continually appearing. Well done for hospitality. And there were bands like part of Squeeze and others – not to mention on arrival, cheerleaders outside doing pretty stunning acrobatics!
Then, of course, there were screens everywhere and a big armchaired film theatre where you could go and watch coverage in seated comfort. It was quite difficult to follow what was happening as sound (or rather lack of it) was an issue. However, having studied various screens, I was able to follow what was happening – and it was pretty amazing as it became clear pretty early on that it was going Obama’s way and that the ‘Bradley effect‘ was nowhere to be seen.
So – all great fun – and even I enjoyed it and actually talked to people. I am not a party person to be honest. Give me one to one over dinner – that’s the conversation I am best at. However, I did alright. At 2am I decided that it was time to go home and watch the rest on telly with my daughters – which is what I did.
I must have drifted off at about 3.30am – but my older daughter this morning said something very interesting – and she is extremely perceptive and analytical. She ended up watching ITV’s coverage until 6am this morning because she said it was excellent. She said it was direct, unembellished, used eloquent and knowledgeable presenters, didn’t dress it up with lots of irrelevant stuff and was intelligible and intelligent. She said BBC was overdone and confusing – and CNN was nothing but adverts. Broadcast companies take note.
As for the result! It would have been deadly to wake up and find McCain as President Elect – that much I know. As a Hillary supporter – I moved my allegiance to Obama – with qualifications. He certainly inspires and I don’t think I have ever heard a politician with that level of ability in terms of oratory. So it was good to wake up to a new era – but proof and pudding will be the real test – and that is yet to come.