Here ends the addled election, the messiest since 1974, and here starts the constitutional mess of making sense of the result as the electorate decides not to decide and gives the problem back to the politicians who're so busy fighting each other they've no idea how to decide anything. Not even their salaries.
The campaign never came alight and certainly didn't grip the nation so instead of doing their job and telling the nation how they proposed to get it out of the mess, the politicians merely attacked each other and warned of dire consequences if the other lot got in while the minor party filled the sky with pie.
Ed Miliband grew in stature while David Cameron shrank and was forced desperately to pump himself up towards the end. Milo at least tried to protect a vision of a better society then spoiled it by proposing a gravestone of platitudes such as "all teeth regularly brushed" and "babies bottoms regularly wiped" while Cameron concentrated on fear creation "murder, rape and higher taxes" if Labour wins and "Sporran stripping if the SNP supports Labour" if they don't quite make it.
Cleggy preached sanctimony, damned the government with faint praise and kicked Labour at every opportunity, UKIP blamed every problem on immigrants most of whom are part time rapists and the greens promised gluten free cheese for every cauliflower while the electorate turned away and went "Awwwwww" about the Royal baby.
I see no sign of a last minute trend like the shy Tories who emerged in1992 though the Tory vote might strengthen a little if people decide to cling to nurse in uncertain times though it might not because nurse gives every symptom of being mad and plotting still more cuts. Media always exaggerate new trends so the SNP might not win as many Labour seats as predicted while the Libs who deserve to lose the lot will retain more than they should because Liberal MPs dig in so well. The Tories will also benefit from the incumbency factor which gives MPs a 2% advantage in their second election.
But none of these trends should be strong enough to break the basic deadlock so though I shouldn't risk a call mine would be that Cam will have first shot at forming a government and fail because they've been such obnoxious bastards and then Miliband will make it with SNP support plus the diminished number of Lib Dems who if they are to be a genuine centre party of government must be prepared to work with both majors and can't be seen to be turning Labour out.
Then we'll have the fun of weeks of negotiations while I and other failures and rejections walk up and down on College Green where huge studios have been erected for the know all to pontificate about what they can't understand and the new Clarions of the People prostrate themselves to get on telly and have their say, hoping that's it will stand them in good stead in the run up to Election II and possibly III. Should be fun
I've already recorded my bit for the Jeremy Vine show on Monday holding up cards like Bob Dylan ("don't follow leaders.Watch your parking meters").What lessons would I give to new MPs?
1)Don't do it
2 Be independently wealthy or increase pay
3 Move parliament to York- so much more convenient for Grimsby
4) Have three year parliaments- much better for keeping in touch with the people
5) Introduce proportional representation. It's the only way of working multi party politics.
"dunno" is the best I can do for a prediction.When you've got such a gulf between politicians and people,when the nation is so fed up and doesn't trust any of us and when the only response politicians make is to blame everything on each other rather than offer guidance to the future you're going to get non elections which neither stimulate nor excite leading to no score draws which can't produce a clear winner or a firm government.
Britain has entered a new era of uncertainty, and the age of strong government is over. Leadership by dictat is no longer possible, coalition building and concessions are the only way forward. But will they work when the politicians have no clear idea of what to do except attack each other, the electorate has no respect for them and doesn't realise the scale of the problem and our malign media proclaims the myth that Britain is still a world leader and a major power when it's a third rate minor power which hasn't the foggiest idea of what role it wants to play.Unhappy Daze.
Don't worry about a long period of argument and indecision with no party in a position to form a government. New Zealand had six weeks of neutered government , Belgium's had a year and Denmark several months and it's done none of them any harm.
The media will bang on about the collapse of sterling but that's good for exports.The rich won't leave en masse nor will the banks and if they do it will be easier to tax their British earnings. The multinationals will stay and manufacturing will expand because it's more competitive.
In any case no government at all will be better than the last lot slashing spending and benefits, paring back the state and imposing a painful and unnecessary austerity for purely ideological reasons. No government is better than misgovernment. It may even end up with making Boris leader of the Funservative party instead of the sour Neo-Libs and Conmen in charge today. That would be marvellous.