So what have we learned from last night?

  • The Lib Dems surged in popularity last time out, riding a wave of disappointment with Labour and the bright hopes of many that they could be a new force on the left. A force which immediately jumped into bed with a soon-nakedly Thatcherite administration and allowed them to stamp all over the very people who’d elected them with no sign that they might ever do anything to stop them. Having widely disenfranchised their own electorate, and left floating centrist voters picked up from the Tories no real reason to stick with them since they were basically the same thing, regardless of what claims were made during the campaign, the resulting bloodbath shouldn’t be a surprise. Even under PR they’d have taken a hammering. The LDs should’ve learned a lesson from this and I doubt we’ll see another ConDem government in my lifetime.

  • Labour crippled themselves in Scotland by Torying-up over the SNP and the referendum, and did themselves no favours in England by running a mess of a campaign that couldn’t resist borrowing from everyone else in a bid to be popular. Copying the other kids doesn’t work at school and it didn’t work here. They could’ve done their best to stamp their mark as a party of the poor and the poorly-paid, focused on the NHS, workfare, tuition fees, rising inequality and the like, but only briefly played with these in between trying desperately to get chummy with the upper middle class while keeping a finger or two in UKIP’s pocket. When you’re handing out mugs emblazoned with “Labour: # Controls on immigration” and your brightest idea is a fucking obelisk, you’re in trouble.

  • They’re aren’t enough arseholes in any one place to make UKIP a valid force under the FPTP system.

  • People in England, unless, like in Scotland, there’s an overriding reason to want someone out, don’t vote, often because they don’t feel informed enough - or motivated enough - to do so. When the primary concern of most media outlets is keeping corporate advertisers happy in order to stay in business (cf. the Telegraph and HSBC), and politicians clearly aware that lying about the Other Ones in as soundbite-friendly a manner as possible while making sure you never make a promise you can’t wriggle out of or forget is a successful strategy, I can’t blame them. Voters are treated like dairy cattle and weary cynicism and apathy shouldn’t be a surprise.

  • The print media in the UK - a largely left-wing country by percentage - is overwhelmingly right-wing and any pretence of impartiality after this election would be laughable.

  • Whoever spends, wins. See also: media, ad revenue, lying.

  • With everyone bar the Greens running a negative campaign in England (I can’t speak for elsewhere), no one gave anyone a reason to vote for them rather than against someone else. When even the Guardian is running a chart of ’who to vote for if you hate these guys’ - for both Tory and Labour, we’re in trouble.

  • All the hashtags in the world don’t matter. Neither does shrilly yelping at people, “We fought and died for the right to vote!”

So the Tories will go on selling off everything that’s not nailed down for the next five years and blaming the poor for being work-shy slackers, questions will go on lingering about just how long Scotland will stay in the Union without some kind of devo-max outcome (unlikely under Dave), and Labour and the LDs have five years to sort their bloody shit out. We’ll also have to hope that someone’ll come up with a way of actually reaching and informing prospective voters in that time.

And maybe I’ll have a unicorn that craps cheesecake by then as well.