updates made this lunchtime are in red
1) The Conservatives will form the next Government
- so should we just ignore pre-exit polls in future?(seeing as they got it so wrong)
- and is this an indication of a shift to the right in the English electorate?
Lunchtime Update - Conservatives have reached the magic 326 absolute majority number - and seem to have done so by winning seats off the Lib/Dems
2) SNP have won Scotland, Labour Wales & DUP Northern Ireland
- so what future for a United Kingdom?
- do we need a debate on federalism?
- will "English votes for English legislation" amplify the nationalism issue?
- will increased turnout be revealed as a big factor in SNP's success?
Lunchtime Update - is this a rise in nationalism and if so will the Tories seek to encourage a rise in English nationalism (as some are saying the "anti SNP" message worked well for the Conservatives)
3) The Conservatives are using "one nation", "national interest" & "keeping the country together" language within their immediate reaction to the results
- yet plainly with the SNP results the "Scottish Question" will be a dominating political factor going forward
Lunchtime Update - and it maybe that the only hope for a UK future is a federalist approach - going beyond the "Smith" proposals (the "Smith" proposals are the language the Conservatives are using)
4) Next May's Scottish Parliament elections are key to the Scottish independence question
- next May's voting isn't 1st past the post - so some think they won't deliver a SNP landslide
- next May's voting will show whether Scots are happy with the extra devolution they have/will have
- if the SNP does win strongly then the issue of another independence referendum raises its head
- and that then may well bias Westminster decisions on investment in Scotland to be political (vs economic) and so this may bring into play a decision about whether to keep the nuclear sub fleet in Scotland
5) The "by 2017" EC referendum promised will be another factor dominating politics forward
- plus the Conservatives won't have the Lib/Dems to threaten their right wing MPs when they threaten revolt
- but maybe Cameron will have an arrangement with the DUP to use as a stick with his right wing
- at least the right wing Tories will behave until the EC referendum
- if the vote is to exit that will just strengthen calls from the SNP for another Scottish independence referendum
6) It looks like Farage (UKIP), Milliband (Labour) & Clegg (Lib/Dems) will go as leaders
Lunchtime Update - Milliband is stepping down (as is Harriet Harman), Clegg will quit, Farage has quit (but may put himself forward for the next leadership competition) - is 3 party leaders quitting within 2 hours some sort of record?
7) Labour faces difficult questions as to what direction it takes in the future
- will going left work in England?
- or should they go for the middle (and so say goodbye forever to Scotland)
- how do they escape the Tories message that Labour "wrecked the economy"
Lunchtime Update - given Labour representation is now down to levels similar to their 1987 General Election results should they return to the New Labour approach?
8) If people don't think your leader is PM material AND your don't think your party is economically competent then your chances of winning aren't good
Lunchtime Update - labour commentators are now describing Milliband as a "good & decent man" and in terms of the future of the Party are talking about "policy not personality"
9) Which messages worked and which didn't (within England)
- It looks like the Conservative "its the economy stupid" message worked
- and that the Labour "austerity" and "NHS threatened" message didn't (or was overwhelmed by others)
Lunchtime Update - the Conservatives "beware the SNP" message success is being cited by Labour commentators as one of the reasons for their failure
10) The claim that local popularity of Lib/Dem MPs will save their skins has proven a myth
Lunchtime Update - and the significant Lib/Dem losses mean smaller parties will probably in future be very wary of going into coalition with a larger party