With neither Gordon Brown nor David Cameron considering defeat, this will be the tightest general election campaign for a generation.'I do hereby declare the votes were cast as follows … " The sound of the returning officer echoing early in the morning in a local leisure centre can be as beguiling as the sound of the guillotine being sharpened. For party leaders, however, the terror of election night is on an altogether higher plane. The weight of responsibility is huge, and the vindication or rejection horribly personal. The verdict on years of campaigning is brutally delivered in a four-hour blizzard of results.