I expected the result of this election to be a mess, and even considered another election in November as being likely. I was wrong, and I take little condolence from the fact that nearly everyone else was wrong as well.
This is how I rate the position of the political parties:
- Conservatives are undoubtedly in the best position.
- SNP have done a stellar job, and are in a prime position for the negotiation about the future of the UK.
- UKIP have built a very firm base, but must be slightly disappointed they did not get more MPs.
- Greens have made solid progress, but again they deserved more MPs.
- Labour have lost an election they should have won, and also lost much of their intellectual heart.
- Liberal Democrats are suffering. There is a way back for them, but it will be a long process.
One last note of warning about the leadership elections that face Labour, the Liberal Democrats and possibly UKIP. An orderly changeover to a competent person can play wonders for a party. A disorderly, argumentative changeover to a competent person can irrecoverably harm the new leader. As an example, Ed Miliband never fully recovered from his somewhat disruptive election as leader. The candidates would be wise to remember that as they fight amongst themselves.
Another last note: it is odd to think that the leaders of the main UK parties - Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and perhaps UKIP - might well all be different at the 2020 general election when compared to this one. I've a good feeling that that is (yes, you've guessed) unprecedented.