The Exit polls are predicting seats as follows (my guess from 3 weeks ago in brackets); Tory 306 (310), Labour 262(240), Lib Dem 55(60) and Other 27(39). I did make a further prediction when the 'clegg surge' happened where I increased the Lib Dems by 30 at expense of Labour, but the biggest shock of the night was the Lib Dem squeeze.
It seems as you can see from the chart opposite that the Lib Dems suffered a last minute 'third party squeeze'. This often happens in first-past-the-post elections because people rightly worry about wasting their vote and letting the party they fear the most of the 'big two' benefiting.
As you can see, BOTH the Tories and Labour do very well out of this system. The Tories claims were becoming more surreal as the night went on. Michael Gove claimed this as the best election win for the Tories since the 1930s. This is because the Tories made over 90 net gains, but that is partly because they did so badly in 2005 they were coming from such a low base. Typically nobody at ITV, BBC or Sky pointed this obvious fact out. It would be like a 30 stone man claiming to be thin because he had lost 5 stone.
The media narrative seems to be designed to suggest that Cameron has the 'moral' right to be PM. The Tories even hark back to Blair's 36% of the vote as a 'clear mandate' to rule. Come on, since when does a party on 36% have a right to rule? It means 64% of voters rejected them!
The truth of this election is that, despite having nearly all the print media on side, despite scaring the BBC into promoting Tory propaganda, despite the most unpopular Labour party and PM in history, despite the worst global recession since the 30s, and despite having opinion poll leads well into double figures just a few short months ago, people have rejected David Cameron.
The Lib Dems will be crazy if they play into this media narrative without getting a commitment for a REFERENDUM on electoral reform.
The media are suggesting that the Lib Dems might demand voting reform, they are not. They should demand a REFERENDUM on voting reform. The Tories are refusing to let the people have their say.
The Tory media will suggest that the economy will suffer, that a referendum will not be in our interests. The simple fact is the the people should decide what system they want, not the media.
The Lib Dems cannot be seen to prop up Gordon Brown, even if a referendum is on the table. The media will cry foul if there is any sort of Lib-Lab deal. Even if the Labour party manage to remove Brown to seal a deal with the Lib Dems, the media will make sure it plays badly and use it in their campaign against voting reform.
The truth is, if Clegg does not get a referendum out of this and just sits idly by while smug Cameron manouvres for another election in the Autumn that only the Tories have the funds to afford to fight, then he will have failed those who voted Lib Dem. It is the least that is expected.
PS Well done to Caroline Lucas in Brighton Pavilion and commiserations to Nancy Platts. Both Caroline and Nancy did amazing to trounce the Tories into 3rd place despite the Lib Dem vote holding up. I did expect Caroline to pull it off, but it is still a remarkable achievement - the first Green to be elected to a national parliament under first-past-the-post anywhere in the world. Nancy would have won if she had not had such a national popular party figure to fight against.