At the time of publishing this (6.00am), Boris Johnson will command a very comfortable majority in the House of Commons. Jeremy Corbyn’s leftist agenda and dithering over Brexit has cost his party seats and influence in parliament. He will also stand down as leader. The Lib Dems fell flat with a campaign that was too much focused on Jo Swinson. She lost her seat by just 149 votes. The Greens kept their one seat. The Brexit party proved to be a figment of Nigel Farage’s imagination.
A new vote on Scottish independence looks to be on the cards after Nicola Sturgeon strengthened the SNP’s dominance in Scotland. Over the border in Wales, the Conservatives gained seats at the expense of Labour.
The political geography of our country has changed. Outside Scotland, we live in a more illiberal country. All hopes of electoral reform for the voting system and the Lords are once again as dead as a dodo. The two party system survived both in parliament and in media coverage.
We now are aboard a runaway train hurtling towards Brexit. Only time will tell if we are heading towards a train crash for our economy, society and the future of our continent. But the brakes are off. Boris is on the footplate and Donald Trump will be shovelling the coal to light Johnson’s fire.
I am not going to hide the reality that I feel deflated. Support for Lib Dems has always been strong at a local level but we have failed to translate that into a national crusade. The manifesto and campaign were badged as a Jo Swinson product, with the Lib Dem mission taking second place. It was presidential in style. Yet we are a party with a collective, collaborative way of working. The early message that the Lib Dems would revoke Article 50 without a second people’s vote was a mistake. Although that message was changed, it left an aftertaste of the Lib Dems telling the people they know best. That’s not the way we think and work.
But when you get a bad result, you pick yourself up and start over again. We have fielded many excellent candidates across the country. Strong people with a future in politics. With Brexit soon to be behind us, the Lib Dems will be able to concentrate on their core message of a greener, fairer society.
Labour bombed. Corbyn proved toxic. He spouted promises but always looked like an addicted gambler spending up to his credit card limit. He eventually backed a people’s vote but there was always confusion on what his stance on Brexit really was. The election was a catastrophe for him and the hard left Momentum philosophy that poisoned Labour’s campaign. Even the Beast of Bolsover lost his seat taking some of the most colourful language out of the Commons,
The Greens did not get another MP. Caroline Lucas MP for Brighton Pavilion is an excellent MP and deserves some company in the house.
The Tories did well and Brexit was the biggest factor. Environment, health, education and social care were at times reduced to anecdotes on the campaign trail. The concept of One Nation Conservativism was sacrificed on the altar of Brexit.
Our exit from the EU will now happen at break neck speed. We will leave the maelstrom of European politics behind and turn our eyes west to America. Just as Tony Blair became George Bush’s poodle, Boris Johnson will become Donald Trump’s donkey.
Our nation has elected its leaders. We must work with that.