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It’s election day

A battered, faded and slightly wonky UK goes to the polls today, with the incumbent party dogged by scandal and ‘rotted through with individually minor corruptions, increasingly detached from the nation it governed, seemingly on the verge of final collapse’. Even The Sun, never shy about regurgitating Conservative talking points, couldn’t bring itself to back them.

As we tune in this evening to watch the results, we’ll witness the peculiarly British spectacle of election winners surrounded by defeated novelty candidates in outlandish costumes, only one of which will be called Jacob Rees-Mogg.

We also have to listen to a lot of blowhards making outlandish claims about the result. In the aftermath of the 2019 election, Donald Trump promised ‘a massive new Trade Deal’ between the UK and USA but couldn’t deliver it; Sir Ed Davey called the end of Nicola Sturgeon’s 2019 campaign ‘not very dignified’, before he spent most of the 2024 campaign deliberately falling in lakes; and the received wisdom among most political commentators on election night was that the Tory ’80-strong majority could be big enough to repel Labour’s next advance in five years’. Ho hum.

But not all of the commentary is nonsense. In the aftermath of the 2019 election, The Guardian’s view was that ‘Mr Johnson has won a great victory. But his problems are only just beginning.’

We couldn’t know at the time how salient that observation was. One suspects that the same will be true for tomorrow’s occupant of 10 Downing Street.

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