Well, what a night. I grabbed a few hours sleep and woke to the sound of my 12 year-old son laughing hysterically at the news that Alex Salmond had lost his seat. That’s my boy.
The Tory and Labour gains in Scotland are a thing of beauty, for anyone who wants the UK to remain a thing. The SNP lost 21 seats. The Tory surge means, however, that the Conservatives are in the unusual position of only clinging to power in a hung parliament thanks to Scottish votes.
And that is because of the main story. The biggest Tory leadership screw-up (since last year) ushers in chaos, a Tory leadership race and – probably – another election later this year or early next.
Here are some early random observation about what I think matters in a fast-moving situation:
1) In The Times last week I described this Tory campaign as the worst since the War. By which I meant the First World War. I am now upgrading that to worst since the Napoleonic War.
2) May looked crushed at her count and I cannot have been alone in feeling a pang of human sympathy. She was never comfortable in the public eye and her ascension to power last year has been followed with a crashing to earth this year. What a mess.
3) But she and Team – our way or the highway – May made a complete arse of it, by which I mean the direction of the government, and the way it was run, even before they wrote THAT manifesto.
4) Ultra-Remainers – particularly in the London media – are delighted, thinking it means the end of Brexit or at least its watering down so that we’ll barely notice that we’ve left. Perhaps, but come off it. More than 80% of voters voted for parties that are pledged in their manifestos to leave the European Union. Yes, there is now going to be a lot of squabbling about staying in the Single Market and so on, but this election result can hardly be counted a Brexit backlash when Nick Clegg lost his seat.
5) Voters seem to have cared more about public services and the condition of the public realm than the Brexit the Tories told them they were supposed to be voting on.
6) Ruth Davidson is brilliant.
7) Tim Farron isn’t.
8) Corbyn played a blinder. Always knew Jeremy could do it. No, that’s not true, and I still think a Marxist, pro-IRA leader of the opposition is a bad idea, but lots of young voters seem not to care about what us oldsters think about silly stuff like bankrupting the country.
9) Labour lost. Worth remembering this amid all the excitement. Although, Jeremy Corbyn ran a superb campaign, he won only a few more seats than Gordon Brown did in 2010. Two party politics is back in England. Thank goodness. But that means Labour (and the Tories) are in a different kind of fight, which the Tories won by getting more seats.
10) The Tory manifesto included a declaration of war on their own voters. This was a bold if not entirely successful initiative. It should not be repeated in future elections.