With the Tories, per exit polls which appear to be accurate, gaining seats and apparently an outright majority, Labour becoming non-existent in Scotland, Liberal Democrats almost nonexistent everywhere, and the UK Independence Party underperforming, here's a few hot take initial thoughts by me.
1. Even if it turns out that Nick Clegg has won re-election for his seat, he has to resign as LDP leader immediately, doesn't he? Even more so if David Cameron has gained enough seats to coalition with Northern Ireland's Democratic Unionists. And, he has, both held on to his seat and resigned his leadership.
2. And, what about Ed Miliband? If Labour turns out to finish as badly as projected, doesn't he have to resign as party leader? Losing every seat in Scotland, losing seats overall, and, if the prime ministership were a direct vote, being var less popular than Cameron, to me makes me think he has to go. Here's three people who have gotten talk as possible replacements before. And, some Labour muckety-mucks are already whispering. Ed has gone, too.
More seriously, does the party shift back to a New Labour focus of Milliband is turfed, or does it chalk up the loss to Milliband personally more than his ideas?
3. Cameron's 2017 EU referendum will go forward. Exactly what it will be about will probably not be discussed in detail for 3-6 months, but will get a crafting after that. The UKIP will get a respectful listening, then ignored.
4. Was the SNP's results a one-off, a result of the failed independence vote, or is this more permanent?
5. Even with the LDP's decline, and with the Tories largely quashing the UKIP, is Britain, even without Clegg getting instant runoff voting in 2011, headed toward a continental-style true multiparty system?
I think not. Eventually the SNP will fall back somewhat at it realizes that any way it comes to power is only in conjunction with Labour. The LDPs have seemingly crested and will look for new direction with Clegg out. UKIP will remain quashed.
And, if the SNP thinks another independence referendum is "inevitable," I'd invite it to think again. A Conservative government will never allow it. A would-be Labour government would never allow it as the price of coalition, certainly not for at least a generation.
6. That said, the Tories — and their American cousins — will use this as a rallying point for budget austerity.