Yesterday over 30 million people cast there vote in the snap UK General Election. Hundreds of MPs won or lost seats, but at the end of the day, as the dust settles, it looks like nobody really won.
Of course the parties will find things to spin, but here is my take on a party by party basis:
I suspect that since the exit poll result was announced most if not all commentators were predicting a bad night for the Conservatives. They decided to call the election, the had a huge lead in the polls and they had a majority in parliament. Now they have to explain how they lost what looked like a safe (albeit small) majority and as such may have jeopardised many of their plans for the coming years.
Many said that Jeremy Corbyn couldn’t win the next general election. They were right. While they have gained seats they are still some way off being in Government. Labour tried to convince us they could run the country, but ultimately the voters didn’t agree.
This is despite any gains they may have made from Tory blunders (such as the so-called ‘Dementia Tax’). I also wonder if this may be the last election Jeremy Corbyn contends, after all in 5 years time he would be 73. This would make him the older Prime Minister to ever take office if that was to happen (see data here). Of course, who knows when the next election might be!
Scottish National Party
Loosing a third of their seats leaves the SNP with the worst result of the night in terms of percentage of seats lost for any of the major parties. The people of Scotland clearly told us they wanted something different. Whether this was a reaction to the SNP call for another Scottish Independence Referendum or gains made by the other parties in getting their message to voters I don’t know. But like the Conservatives, I suspect there will be a period of reflection as the look at what went wrong.
The Lib Dems had a mixed night. Overall they gained 4 seats (a 50+% increase) but to achieve that they lost 4 seats and therefore gained 8 others (see buzzfeed for the details). This included the loss of their former leader (and former deputy PM) Nick Clegg. Overall though they are still the fourth largest party with significantly less than the 57 seats they had in 2010. Clearly the Lib Dem resurgence is going to take a while longer.
The UKIP results are probably the least surprising. For many UKIP were a protest party for those who opposed our membership of the European Union. While they have tried to position themselves as a rounded politic party (rather than a single issue party) many voter have deserted them. I suspect now that Article 50 has been triggered, many UKIP voters have returned to their previous political allegiances. They lost their only seat in parliament and took massive losses in the recent local council elections. With most of their remaining politicians currently holding seats in the EU (which due to Article 50 is now a temp job at best) it is entirely possible that UKIP may soon become extinct.
The only other party to reach 500k votes were the greens. While they have retained their sole seat, there percentage of the vote has dropped slightly. While not a disaster for the greens, they are also not making much progress in growing their representation in the House of Commons.
This is the election many people didn’t want. I suspect that the Conservative losses were party due to people who were tired of elections and saw this as a party political move rather than something being done for the good of the country.
The end result though is a country that is further divided, a Government with less control (and a questionable mandate), and all while facing one of the most pivotal negotiations in the UKs history. Undoubtably we have a interesting time ahead.