How do you feel that they won the war? Most of the commentariat remains in shell shock.
At Waterloo, Napoleon did surrender. It was as much a surprise to him as it was to his enemies. Over-confident, arrogant, too sure of his own abilities – in the end Bonaparte believed his own spin and became unspun as a result. Theresa May now knows how he felt.
Even after a poor campaign, replete with u-turns and recriminations, May went into yesterday’s vote expecting a big majority. Perhaps not the 100-130 seat margin that excitable pollsters once predicted but a whopper nonetheless. Having conquered Britain in spirit she was going to do so in fact. She has not.
If the Prime Minister has not resigned by the time you read this note it is almost certain that she will face a challenge by the time you’ve finished. She staked her authority and her reputation on this election and that stake is now cashed out. Of the wolves who are circling Amber Rudd, Boris Johnson and David Davis look the most dangerous.
Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has earned a retirement plan of his own choosing. The Labour Right cannot now oust him. They even admit this themselves this morning. Many Labour MPs have been surprised at Corbyn’s popularity and are suddenly prepared to give him a second chance.
We are left in a position not dissimilar to that we faced in 2010. No party can govern on their own. No Leader has won a personal mandate. The difference with 2010, of course, is that we face now a national task of incredible complexity. Back then we had the deficit, now we have a Brexit. If Theresa May wishes to attempt a coalition (unlikely) she will find that she has few friends and little chance of making it through. It’s more complicated. She’s less clubbable.
This election has produced many losers and few winners but write no-one off. As a wise Swedish quartet once said, ‘I feel like I win when I lose’.
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