In 2015 Paddy Ashdown promised to eat his hat f the exit poll was correct. He never did but the same dietary commitment in 2017 would have produced a mass titfer munching. All the pundits, papers, pollsters, know alls and Mitchell were wrong. Our herd instinct let us down.
Three things dominated this election. Brexit, prospects and terrorism and we got it wrong on each of them. A nation which has been buggered about for far too ,long took its revenge, said they simply wanted a better life and better services and put the politicians on a shorter leash.
Brexit didn't fly. Theresa wanted to make it the main issue.Having only got a majority of 379 to begin negotiations she felt fragile and asked the nation to back her. The majority accepted that Brexit is inevitable and were prepared to suck it and see but they also saw that it's not up to us whether we get SB (strong Brexit) MB (mild Brexit) or FAB (guess). That will be decided by how nasty the EU decides to be, not by whether Mrs May is strong and stable weak and wobbly or some combination of all that. Recognising that its in the lap of the Euro-sods, electors decided to ignore the issue and vote their party preference.
Terror didn't work either. The media and May both tried to portray Corbyn as soft on terrorism , possibly a secret member of IS, the IRA or Fatah or even president of of the National Union of terrorists and Related Trades. People thought that a little unlikely for such a nice old chap and put the blame on a government which has savaged police spending and drastically reduced the numbers of cops. Very wise.
Which leaves us with prospects, both personal and national. The two are interwoven. Theresa held out the hope of a nicer Tory Party committed to looking after all of us and in favour of the regular brushing of teeth (for those who have any left- given the costs of dentistry) No one believed her.They saw that they were no better off, inflation was increasing and they were heavily in debt.They were fed up of austerity which clearly wasn't working and wanted something done about the health service, social care and education all of which are seriously underfunded .They were even prepared to pay more taxes for them, particularly if the weight of taxes was more fairly distributed.
Faced with these three pressures people chose the one which was most important to them, decided that Corbyn was nice and harmless and far from the monster they'd been told, and that and Theresa was too timorous and cold to be the new Boadicea . So they voted for better prospects,hoping to get it by a Parliament that was confused and cautious rather than strong and stable. A hung Parliament they saw would make the politicians more sensible. The politicians wouldn't like it but who trusts them nowadays. Better to keep them all weak and nervous to ensure they'd listen for a change. So, though the result surprised the political class, it wasn't a huge revolutionary change. Just a shift to sense.
My guess is that there'll have to be an early election .So the test running up to it will be for the each party to hang together and learn sense rather than squabble as usual. . The Tories may want a leadership contest and the Remainers will want revenge . Labour will be in danger of reviving the anti Corbyn putsch as the designers struggle to get back on the bandwagon and the Blairites (RIP) complain that only the return of Tony and Mandy will make their party clean and wholesome again. The Cleggless LibDems will purge Faron and turn to Cable.
But all of them will have to hang together, play nice, stop talking austerity and begin to spend until the next vote decides who's going to govern That's a far harder test than just fighting elections
Meanwhile I'm off to eat a few hats. Let me see. The straw boater with pesto will be nice, followed by the Trump cap with jam. Yummy