I have never been more happy to be wrong (by 40 seats) in my life. Though it makes little difference now, I did wonder whether I was underestimating the Labour surge, it turns out by a lot, as they have taken Canterbury and dramatically increased their vote numbers nearly everywhere.
For myself, it’s led to a bit of soul-searching. I voted and campaigned (quite hard actually) for Lib Dems in the end, as from historical data (something I always find hard to ignore) and pre-polls, it showed that Labour wouldn’t come anywhere near close to winning my seat, and if they did, Corbyn should have a majority anyway. They were wrong, and the result was in that spot where Labour came within a few thousand, over triple the amount of votes they have ever gotten before in the same seat and one of the biggest percentage increases in the country, the second-biggest with Bristol West being an anomaly. While I’d find it hard to name a Lib Dem policy I didn’t like, while I want them to do well as a party as well as Labour (in an ideal world they’d be the opposition to Labour and I’d never be unhappy) and crucially I hold strong pro-Remain views which did tip the balance, I found myself arguing more for Labour away from my local scene as the campaign went on and I was always hoping that Corbyn would have a successful night nationally. It’s not close enough that I think I could have made a difference, and at least it shows me the way forward for the next time, assuming I still vote in this seat then, but having voted with my head (well, that isn’t fair, I wanted both parties to do well) only for all previous results to collapse in on themselves, that makes me feel a little empty, even though I could not have seen that coming. Especially when it is so close nationally.
HOWEVER, that aside, what a ludicrously brilliant result, in comparison to what we were expecting. The exit poll showed us something I didn’t dare hope for, an embarrassment for the Conservatives and gains for Labour, and the reality didn’t turn out to be much different. Labour gains in places like Canterbury, Canterbury, a seat never held by Labour before, Peterborough, Ipswich, Portsmouth North, all incredible results. Elsewhere, huge vote increases for the big labour figures like Corbyn and Abbott, while many high profile Tory MPs shockingly close to losing their seats, it all played out much better than I could have hoped for. Now, May is probably going to form a government with Northern Ireland (at least the DUP but they will be the only NI party taking their seats this time), who, collectively with Scotland, had a much worse night in terms of results, and they probably saved the Conservatives from not being able to form a government. But I cannot imagine that it will be a strong government and certainly not a stable one, and yes, that was an open goal. It won’t be able to push through any more of the hard-right Tory nonsense, the mandate for a hard Brexit has been lost, according to some at least, and it leaves hope for the future that Labour will get back into government proper under Corbyn next time around, assuming the Conservatives mess it up as they are likely to now.
Still a lot to figure out over the next few days, but it will be an interesting time. I probably won’t make any more posts on this, I’m not a politically-focused blogger, but I won’t make any promises if UK politics continues to be interesting.