After five weeks of campaigning, there was little evidence of what was yet to come as it was widely speculated that no party could get the 326 seats required for a majority. Nonetheless, the Tories were able to gain enough ground to do just that, with 331 at final count. That’s over 50% of parliament, compared to just under 37% of the popular vote, an unfortunate reality of first-past-the-post systems like the United Kingdom’s. It was the largest share of the vote however, making Cameron’s victory clear as day.
The other big winner on Thursday was Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP, who won 56 of the 59 Scottish seats in addition to a majority of the popular vote, completely obliterating what was once a Labour stronghold. Sturgeon said that “the tectonic plates of Scottish politics shifted” after the vote, as the Scottish people made very clear that they want a stronger voice in Westminster.
Meanwhile Labour leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, and UKIP leader Nigel Farage all announced their resignations today after their parties’ poor performances overnight, with Farage in particular losing his own seat in South Thanet.
And with the election now behind him, David Cameron has already begun forming his new cabinet-now devoid of any Lib Dems from the former coalition-before the new government meets for the first time on May 18th. From then on the Conservatives can basically do whatever they want, from cutting NHS funding to securing a departure from the European Union, all while facing minimal-albeit fervent-opposition.
And depending on your situation, that can either be very bad, or very, very bad.