Friday, 7 May 2010

The morning after

A few stray thoughts...through the fog of sleeplessness:

The public saw through the platitudes and burst the Clegg bubble, but ironically he's the person everyone's waiting on this morning (about to make a speech as I write).

Brown has just indicated (10.30 am) that he's starting coalition talks, but David Miliband tweeted (at 10.13): 'Just woken up to hear someone on bbc saying I was talking to vince cable. Nonsense! I've been having a kip!

Best news of the night: Margaret Hodge increasing her majority in Barking and Dagenham and the BNP coming third.

Labour are holding on to their northern heartlands, and even regaining seats in Scotland - but losing the 'aspiring' white working-class vote in southern England - Harlow, Stevenage, Basildon, Thurrock have all gone to the Tories. Are we back to a pre-1997, pre-New Labour political map?

Great to see so many women and young candidates (re-)elected for Labour. It struck me that, on the whole, Labour's candidates look like modern Britain - generally, the Tories (viz. Zac Goldsmith) don't.

Update 10.43 Clegg speaking outside Party HQ - as usual being naive and incautious and saying far too much. Says he's sticking to his view that the party with the largest number of votes and seats should have first go at forming a government - showing that he doesn't understand the constitution - as commentators have been telling us all night, it's the sitting PM's right - and duty - to do this. Not that I'm happy with the prospect of any kind of stitch-up. Roll on the re-match - which some think could be before the end of the year.

10.54 Another bit of good news from East London: Labour have seen off George Galloway's challenge in Poplar and Limehouse. Don't think he even turned up for the count. Hope this puts paid to his fantasy of becoming mayor in Tower Hamlets.

11.10 Asked for his reaction to Clegg's statement, Paddy Ashdown waffled something about being proud to have a leader who put principle before party advantage. Translation: The man's a fool - he's just thrown away our best chance at power in a century - but at least he's a principled fool. (I wonder how all those new Lib Dem voters feel about their hero potentially cuddling up to the Conservatives? Go to bed with Clegg and wake up with Cameron indeed..)

11.52 Great minds: I see that Bob and I have almost identical reactions to the events of last night - and we've even picked the same title for our posts.

12.29 I'd been wondering what ordinary Lib Dems would make of the prospect of shoring up the Tories - and especially those who joined the SDP from Labour. But I've just heard David Owen on the BBC insisting in his usual abrasive and pompous way (a fair match, then, for his interviewer, Paxman) that Cameron has the best claim to govern...confirming the Labour prejudice that, for many, the SDP was just a stopping-off point on the way to Conservatism, and that Lib Dems have always been more viscerally anti-Labour than anti-Tory.

12.35 Oliver Kamm's take on the 'result' is worth reading. On this morning of disappointments, he shares my consolatory delight that the Guardian got it wrong.

13.26 And the consolations keep on coming. Just heard that Labour's Rushanara Ali has won back Bethnal Green, pushing Respect into third place. The end of the road for Galloway's Stalinist-Islamist alliance?

14.21 Just opened a Twitter account. Might make this live-blogging business a bit easier in future. You can follow me here:


Minnie said...

Great post,Martin, with vital info I was waiting for (Euro media being vague and waffly, and interviewing the likes of Bonnie Greer - aaargh, pas de commentaire (her neither!) - and a less than sparkling Matthew Paris. Still viscerally, albeit sadly, attached to country of origin ...
Agree with you about Nick Clegg.
Here, all is gloom & doom thanks to medium-sized tsunami devastating the coast from Menton to La Ciotat. Here all 15 of the beachside restos have been destroyed, when the entire Promenade des Anglais was flooded. But it's impressive how quickly and comprehensively reparatory works are begun, & with how much local authority support. We live in hope ... so must you! Bon weekend.

bob said...

Only just caught up with you. I can't believe how identical our thoughts have been!

Martin said...

Thanks for the comment, Minnie, glad the post was helpful. We've been so caught up in our post-election frenzy, I hadn't even heard about the events in your part of the world. My thoughts are with you - sounds (from what you say about the response) as though society is far from 'broken' over there...