Friday, 7 May 2010

Blue dawn

We awoke to the news that, first of all, the "final" (we're still not quite there yet) results have largely conformed to the what the exit poll said at 10pm last night. So it's great that we stayed up a further 6 and a half hours till 4:30am. We didn't even get the results from the Southampton seats in doing so.

Anyway, the upshot seems to be a sub-majority showing for the Tories, but with them pretty close to being able to cobble together some sort of minority government. Not so any potential Labour-LibDem coalition - even bandying together won't get them there, and it's not as if both sides are particularly keen on that idea in the first place. However, since incumbents have first dibs on trying to create a Frankenstein's coalition from the scattered smaller parties, Labour hasn't given up just yet. Although it really probably should, and it's yet possible that saner heads will prevail and the Tories will be deferred to.

It'll be interesting to see just how closely the LibDems snuggle up to the Tories. My theory is that they'd be setting themselves up for some serious future electoral pain if they align themselves too closely. My experience of LibDem supporters, one which is probably drawn from a biased sample, is that while they don't much care for the Tories or Labour, the former are disliked much more. So if the party leadership drag them in too closely, they might find their support suffers an even greater drying up than it did last night. Of which, I think that the failure of the LibDems to get anywhere near the share of votes that the opinion polls suggested they would is one of the big stories of this election. Clearly a lot of people were either lying to the pollsters or baulked when the time came to mark a "X".

Locally, things turned out interesting in the end. Going in, our seat seemed the safer of the two Labour seats in Southampton, but by the time we went to bed last night, it was looking a lot less solid. And so it turned out, with Denham "securing" a wafer-thin 192 vote majority, down from 9302 in 2005. Meanwhile, Southampton Test managed 2413, and a smaller swing to the Tories. So we're still a red city in the almost entirely blue south-east region.

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