(As posted on LJ, in an attempt to figure out if Technorati has problems with tracking LJ blogs)
Stayed up rather late in the hope that I get to witness the Lib Dems getting their 60th seat in Westminster, but that was not to be.. after wondering whether they’d actually get there, considering a lot of the 20-odd seats left would be in Northern Ireland, which has had an entirely different political map for at least over a century, I woke up late this morning to a nice surprise: Lib Dems are at 62 seats!.
A lot of the gains are taken from Labour, and three of their seats fell back to the Conservatives (but two of those are won at by-elections and one was a Labour defector, so it looks quite good), but the Lib Dems are now in second place in 160 seats, 50 more than before. And they’re doing this despite the reduction in seat allotments north of the border, which on paper should hurt them more since they are historically stronger in Scotland than in England, but turns out Labour losses there more than make up for it.
Students seem to vote disproportionately in their favour, with Bristol West and Cambridge turning yellow, which bodes well for the future. A slight dampener to hopes of a more representative election system (with PR elements, preferably first-past-the-post plus a top-up party list ala the Scottish Parliament) is that apparently some pro-PR Labour MPs lost their seats [This is a low, Guardian blog]. The Lib Dems and smaller parties are currently way under-represented – with their 22.3% share of the vote, in a pure PR system the Lib Dems would have over 140 seats, instead of the current 62 (unlikely to be more than at most 63 or 64 when all dust settles). Meanwhile, Labour has 355 seats to the Conservatives’ 197 despite leading them by less than 3% in the popular vote.
A good analysis of the Lib Dem result here [Markos Moulitsas, Guardian], and thanks to the_wild_iris for linking to a humorous guide [Daily Kos] to the British electoral system. Congrats on Solihull ousting the Cons!
[Update – 1:36PM] It’s amazing how well the exit poll predictions hold up [Scotsman] – Labour majority is now at 65 seats with 5 seats still to declare, compared to the 66 seats predicted yesterday