The BBC’s Jeremy Vine took part in a question and answers session on Twitter this afternoon.
Jeremy’s virtual reality graphics will be a key part of the BBC’s television coverage from the moment the polls close on 7 May and throughout 8 May.
Here’s the best of #AskBBCVine
Q: @hankandkath Do you think there will be a time when we vote digitally? Via tweet or email? How would it affect outcome?
A: Not digital-only; some people need a polling booth. Digital-only voting might increase turnout amongst young.
Q: @Welshracer What will you do if the computer breaks down? Hand back to David?
A: It doesn’t jam as often as I expect it to! But yes – pause, stare at it, click it, then call Dimbleby in for help.
Q: @achinton Please can we have less silly greenscreen tosh on election night this year?
A. Maybe one day we will move off green-screen and go back to a wooden arrow on a nail. But not yet…
Q: Stephen Dobson (via email) I know you are a huge Joy Division fan! Would you ever contemplate using ‘She’s Lost Control’?
A: When the graphics misfire – “Walk away in silence.”
Q: Tim, Fordingbridge (via email) Which constituency has been the best indicator or predictor of the national result?
A: Despite boundary changes, Dartford, Basildon & Loughborough have reflected every result since 1974
Q: Tony, Shenfield (via email) What time do we reckon the result will be known?
A: Depends how close result is. If tight (as we expect), possibly not until Friday afternoon, May 8th!
Q: @MichaelHogg77 Is there a way of showing UK map with constituencies in equal size, not geographical area or simply as a dot?
A: We do use a one-dot-per-MP map; we also have a ‘proportional map’ – showing all seats the same size, yes.
Q: @philpursglove Should voting be compulsory?
A: It’s tricky. What if someone’s personal convictions tell them they shouldn’t vote? Would they be punished?
Q: Tony, Edinburgh (via email) What is your favourite statistic from this election?
A: I was looking at the Colne Valley seat and saw the MP had been thrown out for ‘lunacy’ in 1916, he was in shellshock… But if that’s not a statistic, I would simply say: 650 MPs in the House of Commons, 326 for an overall majority.
Q: David, Glasgow (via email) Why do broadcasters turn everyone off by talking incessantly about polls which don’t mean a thing?
A: They are more accurate & detailed than they used to be; they are interesting; we have nothing else.
Q: Euan, Solihull (via email) What has been the most exciting election you’ve covered?
A: I was a political correspondent in 1997 along with @BBCJonSopel and @bbcnickrobinson and was on the Blair battlebus. Lively.
Q: @manatrue Who will win and will they have a majority?
A: I have entered the office sweepstake with a very specific prediction but @benowatt says I can’t reveal it here.
Q: @mancalledczar Do you use special lubricant for your swingometer
A: It’s bloody painful if we don’t
Q: @MatthewHillman Will Prof John Curtice be featuring? How difficult will your job be with the polls so close?
A: Yes, we love Prof John Curtice. His prediction in 2010 was correct almost to the seat. He is the boffin’s boffin.
Q: @unclegagag Do you think turnout will be higher, given how close the parties are?
A: Last time turnout was 65%. But 1992 (a close election) was 78%, so yes, close contest may = turnout
Q: JamesFrost31 Which Egghead would you have next to you on the swingometer?
A: Probably @cjdemooi because if it went wrong he could be speared
Q: @GlennTodd Will more focus be on marginals and Scotland this year given their importance?
A: Yes, hugely. Watch for Midlands marginals around Brum; and the whole of Scotland may now be marginal!
Q: @Haquers How many ideas for graphics are discarded as unusable or over-complex?
A: Many! says @benowatt. (Great question). Balance is always between how powerful a graphic looks and how much it tells you.
Q: @ThisIsStanners What is your favourite ‘set’? The commons, Downing St, or just the normal one with the graphs?
A: For sheer rendering, the shot inside the lobby of the Commons (which pans up to the ornate ceiling) is amazing
Q: Ben, Hosforth Are you looking forward to using the technological wizardry, are you a technological wiz outside work?
A: Ben, I thought I was a bit tekkie until I met the graphics crew and I realised they DREAM of lines of code
Q: @TopTablePlanner Do you think a proportional representation system of voting would be better?
A: You would lose the clarity of ‘first past the post’, but you would lose some of the unfairness of FPTP too
Q: @AndyEdwardsR14C Any plans to visit N Ireland as these people could hold sway in the general election?
A: We refer to it a lot. The dramatic surge of the SNP is more notable at this point. But yes, I recall 1996 and Mr Major..
Q: Rupert, Speen (via email) Will you use a uniform swing to calculate seat projections again? Or how will you do it this time?
A: Uniform swing is tricky now because the UK is such a patchwork on election day. However the swingometer lives!
Q: @yrtheyalltaken Why are elections always on a Thursday? Is it so governments can start on the Monday?
A: It’s convenient for government business, yes. Thursday – long weekend – new govt in on Monday.
Q: @sharonm72 Should broadcasters focus more on policies and less on potential coalition alliances?
A: Lots of ppl do policies – but @benowatt and I are obsessed with numbers. Seats, swings, margins. It’s what we love.
Q: @EddieInburgh Do you have specialist data journalists working on election graphics?
A: It’s @benowatt and @Edsbrown and a technical team called Elect Systems Ltd. Big diff when a graphic moves with live data.
Q: @richardoyorks Which constituency result are you most looking forward to seeing?
A: Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill. Tom Clarke (Lab) won with 27,700 to SNP’s 7,000 in 2010. But a poll says @theSNP ahead!
Q: @garry_thomas Is Peter Snow going to have a walk-on part with the swingometer?
A: He would totally upstage me! Peter is my broadcast hero so I would embarrass him I fear …
Q: @AliAlexander15 Is it a turnoff for viewers when you predict results immediately voting closes, losing element of surprise?
A: I think it’s the opposite. Everyone wants to see our exit poll proved wrong (a la 1992), so there is what they call jeopardy.
Q: @dpphinn How do you think the Fixed Term Parliaments Act has changed the campaign?
A: It has made it easier for us to prep, and definitely removed the governing party advantage of going for snap election.
Q: @andy_wright79 Can you get the #GE2015 to finish at a reasonable hour? I have to look after the kids the next day
A: I wish I had that power.
Q: @agwoolford Will you be dressing up as a cowboy again?
A: If the circumstances demand it.
Q: Mark, Stamford (via email) What are the chances the Conservatives hold their solitary seat in Scotland?
A: Chances are better than some imagine, because Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale now looks like a 4-way marginal!
Q: @ml_davies If no party has overall majority, can the largest party form minority government if others could form a majority?
A: The answer is yes, but it could be very unstable. Depends if PM decides to try to carry on in those circs.
Q: @ThatTonySmith Who’s funnier, you or your brother?
A: I wish I had the guts to say me! Of course it is @RealTimVine, followed closely by sister Sonya.
BBC Newsnight political editor Nick Watt was harassed by protesters on Monday Night. They marched through Westminster shortly before Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced further easing of lockdown restrictions would be delayed until July 19. Oh dear….. that’s such a… Read more
BBC News presenter Katty Kay has announced she is leaving the BBC. Katty will become senior editor and executive producer, of OZY Media, the digital-first media and entertainment company founded in 2013 by CEO Carlos Watson. “After many very happy… Read more