I stayed up as long as I could. By 1pm I retired to the bedroom to carry on watching. Big mistake. I must have drifted off around 3 and then woke up again about 5 with Iplayer frozen on a a close up of David Dimbleby’s face.
So what happened? Well, after a brief moment of concern that the exit polls were wrong when the Sunderland result came in, the exit poll proved to be incredibly accurate. Let’s be clear this was not 97. There were a couple of big scalp moments with Robertson and Salmond losing their seats to the Conservatives and the new Portillo moment when Clegg lost his seat in Sheffield Hallam. The rising tide of Corbyn mania from newly register young voters contributed significantly to the winning of seemingly unwinnable seats such as Canterbury or Kensington.
So what did the national picture look like? Rather odd. Conservatives winning more votes, losing more seats than any other party. The total collapse of the UKIP vote, Conservatives winning safe SNP seats in Scotland and Labour winning safe Tory seats in England. Labour gaining the largest share of the vote increase since 45.
So why did I say Prime Minister May achieved half her objectives. May’s rationale for calling the election was to take a mandate with a strong Tory majority into the Brexit negotiations. This is perhaps half true. May needed a big majority not to bolster in her negotiations but just in case the deal she comes up with is unpopular with the euro skeptics. Students of history know you can’t fight a war on two fronts. If May was to be successful in Euro then the Russian front that is Scottish independence must be dealt with. And dealt with, it has been. The political cost however has been high. At the time of writing May has just made a confidence and supply agreement with the DUP. This gives her a working majority of two. This is likely to be gone within a year due to by-elections.
The clock for Brexit is ticking, the sharpening knives have temporarily been sheathed and the opposition is buoyant. Conventional wisdom says the that just like the Lib/Lab pact of the late 70s these things have a short self life and there will be another election within a year if not 6 months. Some countries are used to this but we are not. We have not seen this since the double election of 74. The country has no appetite for another election. We all smiled at Brenda from Bristol’s reaction to the calling of the 2017 election, “You’re joking. Not another one? Oh for God’s sake… I can’t stand this,” said the woman known only as Brenda, in a BBC interview in the western English city of Bristol. “There’s too much politics going on at the moment, why does she need to do it?” If there is another election within the next year I fear we all may become Brenda from Bristol.