I've seen all this before, in 1992. No-one in their right minds seriously thought that Major might win that election.
I'm not saying the Tories can't do it. They might well. But I think it's easy to overestimate their popularity when that's being reported through the prism of the media. David Cameron is very media-friendly. There's some evidence that he's less popular with the Tory base than with BBC staff. And he's trying to appeal to the electorate by making the Tories as much like Labour as possible. That's a tricky game, that, and likely to create misleading poll data.
If Cameron persuades a lot of traditional Tories to stay at home, and if a bunch of Labour supporters who've been telling the pollsters that they'll vote Tory go and discover at the last minute that they just can't bring themselves to do it, then the Tories will lose. And are either of those things unlikely? I certainly don't think so.
Like I said, they might do it. But I just wanted to go on record, so that, if they lose, I can say I nearly told you so.
— was going to turn out right. My prediction a year-and-a-half ago was certainly a lot better than David Bloody Cameron's just a few hours ago:
Although there are still many more results to come out, it looks as if the Conservative party is on target to win more seats than we have done at any election for perhaps as long as 80 years.
I'm sure he'll try and spin what he really meant by that, but it's difficult to read it as anything other than a prediction of a bigger landslide than Thatcher. Such a wildly clueless reading of the signs shows the man is not suited to the job.
Reading back over my post now, I see that I even explained — long before knowing such an explanation would be needed — the Libdems' huge pre-election popularity and pathetic actual results. It's not about policies. It's about tribalism. If people don't think of themselves as Liberal Democrats, they won't vote for Liberal Democrats. Sure, a few will, but never enough.
So now I get to say it: I nearly told you so.
As things stand right now, the Tories may still get enough seats to form a minority government without allying with anyone. But, no matter how they spin it, it's a terrible result for them.
But a pretty good result for us, I think.
It does look like Cameron's going to be the PM now, but a weak one. Tory backbenchers are going to be looking at this result in disgust and seriously rethinking whether Cameronism's such a great idea. Its selling point was always "Swallow your principles in return for electoral victory" and that victory's not looking so impressive. We might well have the best of both worlds here: Labour out, but the Tories deciding to become properly right-wing again before the next election, so we can go back to having an actual choice in British politics. That may be today's most important result.
Meanwhile, fantastic results in Northern Ireland. Peter Robinson and Reg Empey both out — amazing and wonderful. Robinson believed that he didn't need to resign when he'd been shown to be — giving him the benefit of all possible doubt here — married to a woman who corruptly abused his position for financial gain, because he had a safe seat. His message to the voters, let's face it, was "Yeah? What you going to do about it?" Well, that seat's not looking so bloody safe now, is it, Pete? Ha.
And it's wonderful to see Reg Empey kicked out after the way his grubby little party treated my MP, Sylvia Hermon — who has just been re-elected as an independent with a majority God must be envious of. Ha.
And now I'm going to go back to working and falling asleep.
Enjoy your new government, whoever it turns out to be. Or, you know, don't get apoplectic over them every single day. That's the best you can really hope for, with governments.