This basically meets all my criteria for happiness: Labour have had a kick in the teeth, but not to the extent that the Tories have actually got in, while the LibDems have increased their majority. My only complaint is that more of Labour's lost seats didn't go to the LibDems instead of the Tories. But it still constitutes a good consolidation of their existing position: hell, I remember the days when they had all of 18 MPs, and were proud of it. It's also nice to see a) that their share of the vote overall is now standing at around 23% and b) that many of the places where they made really significant gains have large student populations. This latter means that young, and in most cases presumably first-time, voters are choosing the LibDems, which as those people filter up through the population pyramid should mean a steadily increasing share in the vote overall.
Naturally, all three sides are claiming it as a victory: Labour on the grounds that they won a third term at all, and the other two on the grounds that they increased their holdings. I think Michael Howard has every right to expect his party to keep him on after this, and I'm certain Charles Kennedy is safe. So the most interesting question now is whether Tony-boy will jump or get pushed before the next election.
I'm also very pleased to see three independent candidates winning their seats - apparently the largest number since 1945. We have George Galloway for the anti-Iraq War "Respect" party in Bethnal Green and Bow, Dr. Richard Taylor kept Wyre Forest, which he originally won in 2001 on his "Save Kidderminster Hospital" ticket and Peter Law, a Labour rebel who left the party due to his opposition to all-woman candidate short-lists, has won Blaenau Gwent from the official Labour candidate. I realise that the party system allows effective governments to be formed, but it's always nice to see that it isn't 100% dominant.
In other news, splorfle, splorfle, Mr. Kilroy-Silk, but I do wish more BNP candidates were losing their deposits... :-(