Firstly the winners and losers, so far, with results still being announced:
- Conservatives - performed far beyond expectations, even scraping a majority
- Scottish National Party (SNP) - also exceeded expectations, destroying major Labour MPs
- UKIP - massive vote and strong turnout
- Greens - again, huge vote
- Labour - awful performance not only against SNP but against Tories in England
- Scottish Labour - worth repeating, Labour have been annihilated in Scotland by SNP
- Liberal Democrats - annihilated across the UK, reduced from 57 to 8 (current results)
Early this morning, 12 hours ago, I wrote about how "The UK Voting System Is An Insult To Democracy". It was pretty angry, and predicted a hung parliament which would reveal how appalling our voting system is.
I was right about our voting system, but wrong about the hung parliament. Everyone was. A huge late swing to Tories in England left all those polls - which were stable, fixed, unmoving from January right up until the shock exit poll some hours ago - completely ridiculous and miles off.
I followed the New Zealand election in September last year and felt sick with the surprise result. After 2 terms of selling off national assets (privatisation), spying scandals, environmental scandals, you name it - everyone I knew predicted a Labour/Green victory. Instead the rightwing National Party government gained a momentous victory.
It was a shock, even watching from "over the ditch" (Tasman Sea) in Melbourne, like a physical impact. The lefties did not see it coming because we did not know how most of New Zealand felt.
8 months later and virtually the same thing has happened in the UK. Why did Labour do so badly? How did it happen? Why were the polls so wrong?
It is a chaotic result - we now have many parties making huge impacts, but complicated by our frankly Stone Age voting system First Past The Post (FPTP).
For example, many countries - New Zealand, Australia, some in Europe - all understand multi-party politics, but our system is geared specifically to favour 1) large parties, like Labour and Conservatives, and 2) geographically concentrated parties, like the SNP.
So we have:
- SNP destroying everything in their path, marching on Westminister with pitchforks and flaming torches (and separately governing the Scottish Parliament too). Nearly all of Scotland is bright yellow.
- UKIP enjoying a huge number of votes (maybe 1 million or more) in the East and North of England. There will be many people who are proud they voted UKIP, a xenophobic party full of homophobic and racist members. In towns and villages, racists and thugs will feel more confident with public bigotry.
- Labour reduced to the cities of England, ready to play the games of "blame everyone" and "sacrifice the leader". It is not a healthy place to be.
- Conservatives swamping the English countryside and towns, even creeping into typically Labour seats in cities. Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls being unseated by Tories is the icing on their cake.
- The Greens taking over 1 million votes across the UK - still only 1 seat, Caroline Lucas in Brighton, but a much stronger position than ever before.
- And of course Lib Dem graves being dug all over the country, particularly England and Scotland, major politicians and cabinet ministers being kicked aside by the relentless SNP.
You know what, I was going to write some personal analysis and interpretations, but I'm really tired - mentally - and I don't have the energy. Nothing I write here now about "voters decided at the last minute" and "emotional decisions, not rational ones" (no shit Sherlock!) will be helpful or practical in any way.
It's hard to tell which is worse, the shock surprise or the result itself.
I find it very hard to remember the last election in UK, NZ, Australia, which I felt really happy about.
I'm going to have a whiskey, mix some loud music, and go to bed early.