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Election notes

Really, really bad night for Labour. Beaten nationally by UKIP. Beaten by the Conservatives in Wales for the first time ever. Fifth place in South East England.

Labour got just 7.7% of the votes in South West England and came fifth. Here in Cornwall, they were sixth, behind even Mebyon Kernow. I shall have to stop taking the piss out of MK as they now seem to be more popular than our governing party. Labour has no councillors in Cornwall either. Remember those signs that some metropolitan councils used to put up saying they were a 'nuclear free borough'? I'm thinking that someone should put up a sign on the Tamar Bridge that says that Cornwall is now a 'socialist free county'.

Not that brilliant an evening for the Conservatives, because a) their share of the vote didn't change and b) UKIP did so well that they now may now look a creditable party in a general election, and that would be really bad for Mr Cameron. Nevertheless, winning in Wales was stunning, and except for North East England, Scotland and Ulster, they had the biggest share of the vote in every region.

Super results for Newton Abbot's own UK Independence Party. They've recovered from the Kilroy debacle to be second overall. Their biggest problem going forward is that most people have no idea what their policies are except some vague sense that they are anti-EU. (In fact, they only advocate withdrawal from the political aspects, not the free trade area.) One of the most pleasing aspects of their result for me, speaking as an accountant, was the election of Marta Andreasen as one of their MEPs in South East England. Andreasen is the Argentinean-born Spanish accountant who blew the whistle on the European Commission's lack of financial controls and subsequently got sacked. She was Accountancy Age magazine's 'Personality of the Year' in 2003.

The Liberal Democrats did badly too. I mean yes, they got to within a couple of percentage points of Labour, but they were fourth overall and failed to take advantage of the collapse of the Labour vote. They are the only really pro-EU party in England and less than 14% of voters voted for them. If you make the (sort of reasonable) assumption that people who think the EU is a really good idea would have voted in the elections and add the Plaid Cymru and SNP votes to the Lib Dems, then only 5.7% of the electorate voted for clearly pro-EU parties.

Fantastic result for the Greens. The way their vote was spread counted against them in terms of the number of MEPs, but the Green Party can argue that they win simply by getting votes, because it forces the other parties to be more green in their policies. (This has happened in fact, although of course not to the extent that they would want.) Also, they should be really optimistic of getting an MP at Westminster. They got more votes than anyone else in Norwich, and there'll be a by-election there soon following the resignation of a Labour MP over the expenses scandal.

The BNP will now represent the people of Northwest England and Yorkshire in Europe. Hmmm. For the most part, they've taken votes from Labour, which makes sense. The knuckle-dragging element of Labour supporters vote Labour because they blame their own failures on the rich. It's a small step from that position to blaming their own failures on immigrants.

Apart from UKIP and the Greens, the other big winners were the SNP. They took votes off all the major parties and now look like the natural party of 'government' in Scotland. I've said this before, but the absolute nightmare worst case scenario for Labour is for the SNP to trounce them in Scotland and the Conservatives to trounce them in England at a general election. That could lead to a constitutional settlement of the West Lothian question by transferring rather than devolving power from Westminster to Holyrood (and thereby taking Scotland one step closer to independence) and taking away the power of non-English MPs to vote in Westminster on purely English issues.

Worse than the BNP's two MEPs is Sinn Fein - IRA's one. The BNP are a nasty bunch of bigots, but they've never to my knowledge killed 1,800 people.