Been in Germany (convention report to follow), so watched the BBC coverage of the election dubbed in German. Hilarious, you really had to be there!
Full election result
Anyway, superb result for the Lib Dems. While the Tories made significant seat gains, their share of the vote hardly increased at all, indicating that the population still don't see them as a viable alternative.
Labour meanwhile, seriously underestimated the strength of feeling on issues like Iraq, foundation hospitals and tuition fees. As is traditional, they fought solely on the back of a strong economy and it was their undoing. That a government in power for 8 years couldn't find one other significant success to fight this election on is astounding.
The Lib Dem share of the vote is a tremendous and my only hope is that this is the start of something special. I guess my biggest fear is that the vote rise is solely because of Iraq, in which case we could see people returning to the Labour fold in 2009. However, for the timebeing things are good.
Personally, I feel that Tony Blair will be ousted by Christmas. His position is becoming untenable and I think he will face a hostile crowd come the September conference season. Howard meanwhile is trying to promote a young image for the Tories by selecting a 33 year old as shadow chancellor. I honestly don't know what the tories can do to win back power. Their negative politics did nothing to help their cause in the election.
For Charles Kennedy, a lot of work lies ahead. He needs to strengthen the policies he has created and work to remove the label that the Lib Dems are just the anti-war party.
And finally, the Independent has started a campaign to have our electoral system reformed. As in my recent blog (Time for PR?), the argument that our first past the post system does not accurately reflect the voting intentions of the people seems to be gaining momentum. With only 36% of the vote, Tony Blair has a third term. Perhaps if everyones vote mattered (instead of just those in marginals) we would get higher turnouts in places like Brightside (my constituency) where only 36.9 of the electorate bothered to vote.