A special edition looking at election results across the UK, with Evan Davis in the studio and Kirsty Wark in Scotland.
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It is absolutely great to be here. We hung on and we got support in a
We hung on and we got support in a lot of places.
The parties each have their triumphs.
But they also have their tribulations.
We'll try to make sense of the complicated map
These results suggest that we are now in an era where no
Labour and Conservative, the two big national parties,
And what does the defeat of Zac Goldsmith imply
It is amazing that, of all people, it is Zac Goldsmith who ends up,
if you like, bringing back the Nasty Party label to the
In Scotland The SNP won an historic third term
in the Scottish parliament, but not a majority, in an election
We will govern with conviction, with ambition and with determination,
but also with humility and a willingness to
But the big story was the Conservative comeback,
No, I don't have any particular party allegiance but this time
I'll be discussing why voters trust the Tories more than
And Artsnight returns with David Baddiel asking
if the Great Man theory of history has any relevance today.
There is no longer a pool of adoration waiting to seize on this
There are many more writers than there used to be.
Results day and more evidence of the new kaleidoscope politics
that has replaced the old two-party system in Britain.
It's not just that we have different winners in different
parts of the country, we have different contests as well.
While the SNP got Scotland, Labour got Wales and London,
and the Tories did OK'ish in the rest of England,
Plaid Cymru making progress, Ukip getting over 10%
of the British vote, and even the Lib Dems
stubbornly refusing to die, in fact getting 15% of the projected
The main preoccupation today has been to ask,
as we always do, what does it mean for the next general election?
Can Labour win in 2020 or is it obvious the Conservatives will?
But right now it's not even clear what Labour and Conservative
Is Ruth Davidson's pro-EU Conservatism in Scotland
the same as Boris Johnson's brexit-leaning metropolitanism?
Is Sadiq Khan really a representative
It's a complex map - different colours, and different
And to help make sense of it, our political editor Nick Watt.
Nick, make sense of it. What today did provided us with a reminder that
we really live in the 30-something era of politics. The two main
parties were scrabbling around in the early 30%, but in the general
election it looks like the winner cannot get above the late 30s in a
percentage and the second party, Labour, is in the low 30s. Why is
that? They both face structural problems. Labour has the structural
problem of now not existing in Scotland and a problem in southern
England. The Conservatives have a problem in northern England and
London. That means neither of the parties is going to get into 40%, so
we will not see the politics that we grew up with, a dominant Margaret
Thatcher, a dominant Tony Blair. It is interesting, you were talking
about the kaleidoscope. We will find the kaleidoscope is shaken this
year, not today, but on the 23rd of June when we have that referendum.
That is the big picture. Let's focus on the stories people focus on these
days, what it means for the leaders of the two main parties. The Jeremy
Corbyn camp are saying they have seen of what they are calling a
pre-coup copout. They mean that they were expecting those who have
problems with Jeremy Corbyn's leadership would come out of the
trenches overnight, their would-be MPs we have not heard about saying,
it is time to think about his leadership, and they were expecting
the coup would be launched on the 24th of June after the referendum.
They are confident that is not going to happen. But what the critics are
saying is it is OK for the moment, but you have got a year. But we will
believe it when we see it. There is unease in the Conservative Party
over Zac Goldsmith's campaign. We decided to stand back and have a
look, what have we learned from these elections around the UK?
A balmy spring evening outside London city hall as the parties wait
for one of the final big results on the UK's attempt at a super Thursday
election. What can seasoned political observers take away from
these results? Labour is still in the game and a coup against Jeremy
Corbyn is off the table until after the EU referendum and probably
beyond. But these results suggest the parties have got a very long way
to go to show it is a potential government in waiting. But let's
have credit where credit is due. The leadership ran a very effective
operation to manage expectations over Labour's performance. For the
first time since 1910, they have come third in their traditional
stronghold in Scotland. When the seats change and the boundaries
changed at that the general election they will need to be 13% ahead in
the polls in England in order to win and this does not suggest this is
going to happen. Most leaders of the opposition when they start their job
and go into these elections gain hundreds of seats. This is the first
time in decades somebody has not achieved that. No conservative
colossus despite what those pictures of Dave and Barack Obama might
suggest. A poor showing in the southern shires in England will
cause disappointment in Number Ten, though Ruth Davidson's success in
Scotland suggest the Conservative and Unionist party is on its way
back to being the party of the whole union once again. The fact Unionist
party and the Conservatives gained seats in Scotland in quite a
significant fashion, taking them away from Labour, is very important
for the Conservatives who talk about being a real one nation Conservative
Party. The United Kingdom is just that little bit more secure. The SNP
failure to maintain its parliamentary majority means it will
be more difficult to ask for a second referendum after a Brexit
book, but the green success means there is a pro-independence majority
in Hollywood. Quite a tough campaign, but not too tough. Sadiq
Khan's campaign shows tactics must deal with facts and must not fear
into US style culture war. That is the lessons that Goldsmith is
tonight. Lynton Crosby is not invincible as an adviser to the
Conservative Party. He understands Middle England and that was his
point about their victory in the 2015 election. This suggests he does
not understand modern London. Ukip is back in business, its success in
Wales means it has a visible footprint in all three parts of
Great Britain. It is a bit of a mixed blessing for Nigel Farage who
sees his party slip into fourth place in the national vote share.
Unlikely political bedfellows. Jeremy Corbyn is delighted that
Jeremy Corbyn is safe, but so too is David Cameron who believes that
every day the Labour leader remains in office will really help his
successor as Tory leader when the next general election comes. Next
week, we will see the EU referendum campaign picked up speed again. That
is really an event that could reset British politics for a generation.
We'll focus on the Conservatives first.
A lot of controversy about the campaign in London.
Zac Goldsmith's sister, Jemima Khan, tweeted this: "Sad that
Zac's campaign did not reflect who I know him to be."
Sayeeda Warsi, former Tory Chairman tweeted,
campaign lost us the election, our reputation and credibility
Well, it was said to be a campaign by the playbook of Tory
It wasn't him in fact behind Zac, it was his company.
But in strange timing, he was knighted by the Queen today.
Earlier, I spoke to David Cameron's former right-hand man,
Steve Hilton, never one in the mould of Sir Lynton.
What did he make of the election of a muslim mayor in London?
I think it's really great news, frankly.
I think it is very powerful and positive message about London.
It was interesting, last week and the week before I have been over
on the east coast of America, in New York and Washington,
and it was really interesting how much interest there
Most of it was centred around the fact that this great
cosmopolitan city could potentially elect a Muslim Mayor.
You say all of that, a lot of people will say that
Zac Goldsmith's campaign was, if you like, expressing the very
opposite sentiments to the ones you have just expressed,
which was dog whistle, bringing, in quite subtle ways,
I don't know what your thoughts were about that campaign.
The overall impression I got from Zac's campaign was of a rather
old-fashioned and, frankly, uninspiring campaign.
I was surprised about that because Zac, who I know pretty well,
is actually a really interesting, thoughtful, somewhat
antiestablishment character in politics and he has got a very
interesting set of views of different kinds
And it seemed to me that none of that actually was
Which, to be honest, I found rather weird.
But what I would say is that, at the very least, it's rather
careless to allow your campaign to be characterised in that way and,
frankly, it's rather amazing that, of all people, it is Zac Goldsmith
who ends up, if you like, bringing back the Nasty Party label
You would think something like that can be used to re-toxify the Tories.
You were obviously involved there, trying to detoxify them back
I think that is certainly what people are saying.
As I say, I am not in a position to judge whether it is fair or not.
But, you know, I have been involved in campaigns and you have to be
careful to make sure that what you say and do cannot be
misrepresented in ways that are fundamentally unhelpful.
Of course your opponents are going to say things you don't
agree with and try and distort what you do and so on,
But I think that the way this particular accusation has
been allowed to stick - frankly, even if that is unfair -
shows that there is something there that at the very
And, I think, could be pretty damaging, yes.
I am sensing that you prefer something a little more positive
and maybe think that this negativity has shown its limits?
It seems to me that Zac's campaign was a real missed
opportunity because London, it feels to me, is the kind of place
where you could really do well with a more modern,
less partisan, more inspiring and optimistic kind of campaign,
given the kind of city it is and the fact that it is not
necessarily the case that you have got so many people
there who are dyed-in-the-world Labour or Conservative,
I think that, therefore, a fresh, modern campaign could really have
Well, let's talk to Matthew Hancock, Cabinet Office minister.
It is not official, but we know Sadiq Khan has won. Do you welcome
the fact that it is a great cosmopolitan city and it has a
Muslim Mayor? Yes in a way. I voted for Zac Goldsmith, I think he would
have been a better Mayor. He may well still be, we have not had the
official declaration! But I think the fact that London can have a
debate between two people of different religions reflecting the
fact that we have got a multireligious city is overall
positive for London. What did you think of the campaign? It has been
widely panned and now we know definitively it did not work. It was
criticised before, but now we know it did not work. I wonder whether
you think any lessons need to be taken from that? I think that is a
little unfair. I think the campaign had positive elements on housing and
transport and especially on the environment which Zac Goldsmith has
got a long history on and has been working on for many years. If you
look at the statistics we have seen so far, the proportion of the boat
that Zac got is very similar to the proportion we got in the general
election a year ago in London. I think there is a bigger question.
London has proved that at the general election last year that it
is more difficult for us than other parts of the country. If you look at
the rest of the country, we did pretty well in the English council
elections, we took seats and we got cancelled away from Labour in key
battle ground areas like Bury, in Lancashire, and Nuneaton. We all
remember in Nuneaton. And then of course Scotland, which is a positive
result for the Conservatives. In a word, are you satisfied with
the campaign or does the Tory Party need to learn lessons that did not
work in London, which is different from Nuneaton and Scotland? Clearly.
What I am saying is there is something about London that is
changing in a different way to the rest of the country. I think it is
unfair to pin that specifically on this campaign. There is a bigger
question. And that is clear from the fact that we did about as well in
London at the General Election last year... What lesson do you take from
the success of Ruth Davidson in Scotland? David Cameron implied if
you campaign moderately, you can get votes and that is a lesson he drew
from that, perhaps a failed criticism of Zac Goldsmith? I think
she is a wonderful politicians. She is a modern, compassionate
conservative. She is up meat and vibrant and is a potential for real
realignment of politics there. When you give the powers of tax and spend
to Scotland, instead of this Scottish debate being constantly
just about how you are going to spend the money that comes here,
instead it becomes about how much as well and should be put up taxes?
There is space for a centrist, sensible Conservative Party to make
the argument that has not been heard in Scotland for 30 years. Would be
nice if she was later -- leader of the Conservative Party overall? That
cannot happen, cannot? David Cameron has just had a pretty good set of
results. This is a new patchwork. We have a government that cannot get a
majority of 100, that they used to, and will have to U-turn on
everything. Today, another big U-turn on the academies programme. I
will not waste time trying to list the others. Amazing what this is
meaning? We can come back to that but I want to pick up on the
question, you said that no longer can we get the sort of majorities we
used to. Actually, one of the most significant results from tonight is
that because in Scotland the SNP have entrenched, they lost the
majority, and we came second above the Labour Party, it is almost
impossible for the Labour Party to win the next election without the
support of the SNP. And that is astonishing. That is no scare. That
is a fact and it was at the last election and it looks like from the
results tonight, it will be a fact at the next election. The Scottish
result in significant within Scotland, the Conservative Party
coming second, what it is also important for the next General
Election. Talking of skiers, eight police forces investigating
Conservative election expenses and they have an extension on the time
they are allowed to investigate this. Are you and the party scared
of the implications of that? Something like 27 MPs, the expenses
being investigated from last year? No, as far as I understand all of
the rules were followed and I'm sure the investigation will...
Administrative errors? There is an investigation and I will not get
into the details but as far as we know those rules were followed.
Thank you. Well, it is a feature of these
results that two of the politicians who stand tallest in the UK right
now, are from Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon and Ruth Davidson,
the scottish results producing Let's go to Edinburgh
for more on that. In the Scottish elections
it was the Union versus independence and that created not one,
not two, but three stories. The SNP won an unprecedented third
term with a result just short Ruth Davidson lead the Tories
back into contention after decades of decline
as the main opposition party, leading David Cameron to tweet
"she will stand up to the SNP and give Scotland
strong opposition." For Labour it was a disastrous
result, their worst in history. It's now a different political
dynamic in Scotland, one which Nicola Sturgeon recognised
when she said today she would aim The government I lead will be an
inclusive government. It will be firm on our determination to deliver
on the commitments we made to the Scottish people but it will also
reach out and seek to work with others across the Parliament to find
common ground and build consensus. So what were the voters
telling the politicians? I began the day in Glasgow,
now in constituency terms Glasgow's political history has been
turned upside down here. In the vast post-war
housing estates Labour Even a decade ago,
it was unthinkable that this constituency of Glasgow Pollok
would do anything other than elect a Labour MSP
with votes by the bucketload, but this is how much
things have changed. In 1999, in the first elections
to the Scottish Parliament, every single constituency MSP
in Glasgow was Labour. Last night, the voters of Pollock
helped ensure that every single So what contribution do the 16
and 17-year-olds make in Pollock as they become the first
under 18s to vote in People are saying now that in this
election it was still Yes, independence obviously matters
because it is a big issue. Especially since the referendum
and a result that a lot But it is not the only
issue that matters. It is not as if education
and taxation are not They say when you want a piece
of wisdom, ask a taxi driver. The question - when Labour was last
dominant in the country, who or what The reply came back -
Donald Dewar. I think we what we need to do
is identify how we speak And therefore we need to find ways
to give back to those individuals We need to build trust over the next
few years so that people can have I'm genuinely convinced
that the long-term solution - there is perennial debate
in Scotland about the constitution - is to have a federal Britain
and the Labour Party The Edinburgh-Glasgow divide
is often exaggerated but in political terms now
it is stark. I have left the West and I'm headed
East to the capital. If Glasgow is firmly
pro-independence, then in Edinburgh, people have voted for the party
they think will do the best job Does this election tell
you that there is no appetite I think there is a range of things
going on out there with voters. Some voters see perfectly well
that the case perhaps wasn't made last time and not everybody
was convinced and they are prepared The person the voters think will do
best at taking on the SNP is Ruth The Conservatives are now the main
opposition in Scotland. They have knocked Labour
into third position. That is an astonishing feat
and total embarrassment for Labour. And I think Ruth Davidson has gone
some way to banishing the ghost She doesn't think that
many of the people who voted for her are necessarily
what she calls true blue, They voted for her because they have
given her a political job to do. And I met one voter who did
exactly that. No, I don't have any particular
party allegiance but this time I did
vote Conservative. Just because I felt that
Ruth Davidson would offer the strong opposition that Scotland has been
lacking for so long. It almost feels as if the SNP has
had an unchallenged run The SNP's historic win of a third
term but short of an overall majority by two puts a degree
of power in the hands And that is exactly the way
the Scottish electoral system The Greens do pose
a bit of a difficulty. They are far to the left of the SNP,
their position on fracking and income tax is not something
the SNP would be comfortable with. So it could be that even
the Lib Dems come back into play Aside from all the horse
trading that lies ahead, the constitutional argument isn't
going to go away. But this result reduces the chance
of another referendum I am joined by Fiona Heslop, the SNP
minister, and Myers Briggs, a mSP and Tory MP. The historic third term
but no overall majority, that rules out any idea of another referendum
in the lifetime of this Parliament? It is a historic win and the first
party to get over 1 million votes but we will listen to the people of
Scotland. The people don't appear to want another referendum on
independence. If you look at the numbers, there is a majority in
favour of independence in terms of MSPs that were elected but we
clearly said in the manifesto that our job is to persuade people and
that is exactly what we will do but in the meantime we have to govern
well and it is a record victory. Would it be fair to say that Ruth
Davidson did not even think she would get this result? It has been a
spec that can result for the party and we are honoured that the people
have put their trust in the Conservative Party at the selection
and we have become the official opposition. As we heard, and she
said herself, a lot of people who voted Tory are not Conservatives and
presumably Apple temper the agenda you put forward? The people of
Scotland has asked us to do a job which is to hold her government to
account and we are saying that it is time to turn the page on the concert
usual arguments. This is the way the process was designed. Is it good for
democracy to have to be held to account more tightly and have to
negotiate, line by line? This is our third term, the first German had
only 47 votes and we ran in minority government and we now have 63,
effectively administering the government is only 64 votes over the
past period so it is perfectly possible but good politics means
that when we were a majority, we behaved like a minority as part of
the process is taking people with us and we have a good system that can
involve the parliament and take things forward so the journey we are
on is about constitutional development in Scotland and the
Democratic excitement. We will talk about the key policies in a moment
that talk about the budget because you will remember, the last time
there was a minority SNP administration the Conservatives
voted with the SNP to get the budget through. Will you do that again? We
need to see what the SNP put forward in this Parliament and we will work
constructively with the government and we think it will help to me
Scotland forward but we want the government to focus on the issues
that matter to people, who want them to look again at repealing the nine
person policy which has seen every child having a state guardian
allocated to them and we want to focus on creating jobs and growth in
the country, we are falling of the UK in terms of the economy so we
need to see action. It is fair to say that the main Guardian policy
has been very controversial? Because certain media have made it that way.
The issues that people are interested in, they want jobs for
the young people and a Health Service, we need investment above
inflation, we have a good track record in terms of achievement and
tacking the inequalities in Scotland. That is what people want
to see us focus on and that is what we will do. In a progressive way.
Things like the doubling of childcare provision for 2 euros and
three rows? Will you back that? Yes and that is in our manifesto, we
will work together when we can improve the country. It does sound
very cosy. Leadership and vision. It will not intrude on the very public
grief, but will you work with Kezia Dugdale in this way? We have a
minority government so all the parties I hope can put forward ideas
and policies and the government will listen to us on these and we will
work together to try to take this forward and Kezia Dugdale will have
areas she will want to pursue but as the official opposition our key
project in this Parliament and the thing people voted for is for us to
hold the government to account. We know that in the parliament we can
take everybody with us in terms of a number of issues that we have laid
on and it isn't in port and we engage, Scotland is very engaged in
politics. It was to see the Parliament striving Scotland forward
and I think that is a good example of how democratic mandates can work,
we can have a different type of parliament in Scotland and the rest
of the UK and we can do that successfully. 17-year-olds getting
the vote, a very proud example. Thank you.
We enjoyed seeing the dog have a bit of refreshment in the background.
Let's talk about Labour now, and its identity crisis.
It's not involved in one simple battle against the Conservatives,
In Scotland it's fighting for Unionist votes with the Tories.
It's competing for left-wing votes with the SNP.
it's trying to keep UKIP away from its working class votes.
And it's fighting the Tories in London and elsewhere.
But perhaps the most important battle is for the heart and soul
We'll discuss Labour's challenges shortly.
But Katie Razzall went to Nuneaton today, to canvas views there.
That of course is the Midlands swing town that went Tory last year,
telling us on election night, that Labour had no hope of winning.
Big glasses, embarrassing photo opportunities, the parallels
And of course there is often a nasty surprise in the end.
So, did last night's results leave the Conservatives smiling
Or is the picture just a little bit more confused?
Here in Nuneaton the main act nationally is the Conservatives.
In 2015 with the general election still up in the air,
David Cameron said he knew he had won when bellwether Nuneaton
But locally Labour are the only show in town.
Last night the Conservatives won three seats from Labour.
The swing from red to blue in Nuneaton Bedworth was around 11%.
But Labour still controls the council with 25 of the 34 seats.
With Labour also keeping control of nearby Coventry and the Tories
losing control of Rugby, I sought help from Nuneaton's Conservative MP
The Labour Party should be making more gains than they have,
they should certainly not have lost any seats at all in a place
like Nuneaton and they should have been worrying us in some
of our safest seats and increasing their vote share and trying
That is one way of looking at it, but it seems the same result can be
I do remember when almost everybody in this village worked in the pits.
In a place with reminders that this is prime Labour territory,
old colliery country, the Labour leader of the council had
We made very minor losses, we are very pleased with the results.
So you think what happened in Nuneaton is a good result
25 out of 34 in the council, that is a very good
Did Jeremy Corbyn come up for you on the doorstep?
I have to say that the only people who have mentioned Jeremy Corbyn
We have had no comment about Jeremy Corbyn whatsoever.
I have been on the doorstep, I have been in ballot stations,
nobody is mentioning Jeremy Corbyn in Nuneaton.
Ultimately, though, if Labour wants to win places like Nuneaton in 2020,
whose scalps Labour are offering will matter.
Did Jeremy Corbyn come into your mind at all?
It might be different with the general election,
He comes across as honest and genuine.
He is a radical lefty, so it's almost too far left,
but then again it is nice to have two-party politics.
The Prime Minister is literally getting away with stuff.
He can be a bit more tough with his questioning.
Nuneaton is fairly typical of these local elections.
Here turnout was low and of the people I spoke
to who voted, a lot had not, many told me they voted on local
issues and that insulates national trends.
But in turn that makes judging Labour or Conservative success
Results in Nuneaton and the like have not given
Corbyn Labour a resounding mandate, nor offered his opponents legitimate
This noisy internal row does not look like ending any time soon.
I'm joined now by Lord Falconer, Charlie Falconer,
Good evening. We are trying to work out whether we should interpret
these results as telling as anything interesting about the direction
Labour is taking and its leader. Sadiq Khan winning London, is that
an endorsement of Jeremy Corbyn, or is that an endorsement of Sadiq
Khan? Traditionally in London you have to be a defined, identifiable
personality in order to win. Ken Livingstone, Boris Johnson, Sadiq
Khan. You cannot win in London if you are simply a machine politician.
I think probably the success of Sadiq Khan in London is his
personality, plus the fact it is essentially a Labour city in
politics. I think it is more to do with Sadiq Khan... And Jeremy
Corbyn. That is right. What about the failure in Scotland? One of the
things people said was when he Jeremy Corbyn became leader he may
be able to lay more with the left wing voters to defected to SNP, but
that has not worked. That is not his fault. What happened in Scotland was
that from September 2014 there was a detachment of the heartland vote of
labour to the SNP and there has been a fundamental shift. It has not come
back. It has not come back because September 2014, or the build-up to
the referendum, was when it started. The next acceleration was the
general election in May, 2015. The process in Scotland is about, I
think, anti-Westminster politics with a plausible alternative, namely
Scotland first, and a non-Westminster party. The battle in
Scotland is about who is the opposition to a party that is, as it
were... May be the Conservatives were a clearer opposition than
Labour. As time goes on, Labour can regain its position in Scotland if
it becomes a plausible national party. Although the Tories have
overtaken them because they appeared completely solid on the union, at
the end of the day the party that can make a difference in Scotland is
the one that can connect Westminster with Scotland and I do not think the
Tories will ever get back like that. No real lesson in London that Corbyn
is working, no less than that he is failing in Scotland. The English
councils, he did quite well in that. Crawley is an example. They were
expected to take a pounding. Are you drawing any conclusions there? In
terms of what happened in England, indeed the whole country, we ended
up ahead of the Tories and we were ahead of our position. Unless you
benchmark it against wipe-out, it is terrible for an opposition. I would
not accept it was terrible for an opposition. What I would say is the
way the public are responding, for all the public, whether you are
responding to the Tories are Labour, things are very much in flux. The
Tories have gone down. It was significant that David Cameron went
to Peter borough where they did not get one extra place as his
triumphant place to go to, he was clutching at straws. Tony Blair won
2000 seats, you lost seats. Tony Blair took power when we were at the
point of going up like that, Corbyn took a position when we were on the
way down. How did it reconnect? It is still early days, but you do not
want to be paralysed saying, is this going to work or do we need to
change tack? When will you decide? You need to have a leadership that
is capable of convincing the public that it is not an apologist, for
leaks, but is genuine, and also convinces the public that by having
such a party it will not destroy the prosperity of the country. It is
when you get to that point that you connect. We either party at the
moment that is the strongest on the first. If you do not pick up seats
in Scotland in 2020, you need to win seats like Canterbury in order to
have a majority. You are miles away. I do not know the precise details of
Canterbury. One of the things that happened today in Crawley, Exeter,
Southampton, we held on in those places. But you need to win 100
seats in England. There is a process at the moment as far as the public
is concerned of looking across the political firmament and making
decisions. I do not think remotely that you could say either party was
in a position where the next election is fixed.
It's been a difficult day for pundits with such mixed results.
No party has been blown to oblivion, no knock-out winners either.
I'm with the New Statesman's Stephen Bush, and Isabel
I think we should start on Labour. Stephen, what do you think either
lessons you can pick up about the leadership? We know Jeremy Corbyn
does very well in places where voters are diverse, well educated
and young. He does well in a young city like London. It looks like
Labour will win Salford and Liverpool and Bristol may Orrell --
Mayers. The question is whether or not they can find a way of appealing
not just to the future, but to the present and at the moment it looks
like they are not doing it. You did not think the scores in England were
very good for them at the end of the day. They were ahead of the Tories
on vote share. Jeremy Corbyn has done a very good job of his
expectation management, but it is a big flashing light warning sign for
the opposition to lose seats in mid-term. That has not happened
since 1985, which was the prelude to a landslide defeat for Labour and
there is no reason to suggest that will again. We are still waiting for
the evidence that Jeremy Corbyn is leading a popular movement that is
galvanising support from people who are not normally excited by
politics. It is the opposite spectrum, but it is like Donald
Trump invigorating new voters. It makes it more difficult for him to
claim that he is taking the Labour Party forward and he has to make
arguments that suggest he will defy the laws of physics, in the same way
Ed Miliband said he had to even though he was behind in the
leadership and the economy in the general. Election For Jeremy Corbyn
not to be making gains when an opposition party should be making
gains, makes it much more harder for him to say that it is conforming to
conventional politics. It is hard to see a route out of leadership for
Jeremy Corbyn at this point. It is hard for his opponents to knock him
aside. Yes because the Labour membership has always had a strong
urge for unity. If you look at that losing votes in four different
places, I do not think the average member thinks there is anyone who
can achieve that task, so they might as well stick with a guy who shares
their values and go down in style. Where do you think the Conservatives
are left at the end of this? They are not crying. They must be sighing
with relief because they have had a terrible couple of months ever since
the budget on the number of policies they have had to make a U-turn on,
including today on the academies which they sneaked out when
everybody was writing about Labour. For them not to lose seats is a huge
relief, but the London result has not been good for them and it has
tested their campaigning instincts. They are conceding that London is
not the place for them, which is not a great place to be if you are a
government. There are seven or 8 million people in the country. It
may be a test of negative campaigning, but it is also a test
of whether you can have a candidate who does not look like he wants to
win in London. People come to London from all over the world to realise
their dreams. If we have somebody running for political office who is
not driven, that does not go down well in a city where everyone works
long hours. I am not suggesting Ruth Davidson for leader of the
Conservative Party, although lots of people have, but that she sure what
the new leader of the Conservative Party could look like and what the
party could unite around? Yes, a happy warrior, somebody who has not
gone to a proportional, somebody who people say, she seems nice. That is
that post-Brexit future, somebody in the recent Davidson mould. It is all
about brand Ruth, so if you have got somebody who can build something
based on their own name, that could work quite well, like Boris. I said
it was another nail in the coffin for the 2-party system. It is like a
patchwork. It is difficult for Labour to win in different parts of
the UK with one message. It has got different challenges in different
parts. Can Jeremy Corbyn really need the party with one united message?
Even if 2-party politics is not dead, one party cannot speak with
the same voice around the country any more. It is complicated. Thank
That's it, at the end of a long election process.
And we go through the whole voting thing again in seven weeks.
That's it from Newsnight, now for Artsnight.
David Baddiel travels to New York to ask whether Thomas Carlisle's
theory that Great Men shape the main narrative of history has
This programme contains some strong language
the thinker Thomas Carlyle came up with the great man theory -