So it's the evening after the morning before. I was expecting to have seen something truly dramatic last night. I don't know whether to be relieved that really it wasn't all that exciting.
Labour's collapse was the big story of the night, with a nationwide drop in share of the vote of 6.9% and the lose of 5 MEPs. Given how bad some of the local election results were from Thursday Labour should be pretty happy with that result. Obviously they are not but I was expecting something far worse for them (10% or more).
The Tories are crowing about their first place, but surely they must be disappointed that despite the "collapse" in the Labour vote their share of the vote went up by a mere 1%. Perhaps that because of their strong showing in 2004 but still, not the overwealming cry of support that David Cameron must of being preying for.
Nor can they blame UKIP for stealing all those Labour voters as the UKIP vote only went up by a mere 0.3%. Sure staying put is a vast improvement over the predictions of their eminent demise back at the start of the year, and coming second is a great morale booster. But let's not pretend UKIPs support has suddenly surged, it's stagnated and simple stood still as Labour fell behind.
It was a disappointing night for the Lib Dems as well, losing 1.2% of their vote share and failing to make a breakthrough despite the lose of support for Labour. This certainly was not a night for Lib Dem smiles.
And yet another sad story, this time for the Green Party. Whilst their vote went up by 2.4% (the largest of the big parties) they gained no extra seats. This was despite hopes of a real swing to the Greens thanks to the failure of the mainstream parties during the expenses scandal leaving them as the only "progressive" choice as compared to the eurosceptic UKIP and the nasty BNP.
And here we find the real smiles of the night on the faces of some rather hideous people. The BNP gained two seats and slight increase in their share of the vote (thankfully not as much as the Greens which is a good sign, sort of). Thanks to mandatory postal votes in 2004 the BNPs actual vote count went down in both the regions it was victorious in, but that is a hollow victory for those of us in the anti BNP camp. The BNP got in because the turnout was so low not because their message is spreading. It's not. As with just about everyone else, their actual votes have barely changed from 2004.
The true success story of the night was the SNP's amazing growth in votes in Scotland, which is a very sad indictment of the health of our union. But smiles all round in Wales where a unionist party topped the bill (the Tories, first time I've ever smiled at a Tory victory) and smiles again at the poor performance of the EDP.
Finally in NI the DUP and Sinn Fein again got in, with the odious Sinn Fein topping the bill. It's a sorry state when the Ulster Unionist/Conservative candidate (whatever they call themselves now) is the only one I can truly be happy at seeing on the winning ticket.
God, that's the second happy thought about the Tories I've felt in this one blog post. I'm off to ritually cleanse myself with ethically sourced, soya based products ;)
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