There were some very fine speeches by our political leaders yesterday. They would have been among the best heard during the election campaign – if it weren’t for the fact that the campaign is over.
A rumbustious and at times over-wrought campaign turned out to have the most almighty twist in the tail. The polls were not a dead heat, as we had been led to believe. The Conservatives were ahead, far enough ahead to form a government on their own.
How the other parties fared was shown by the rash of resignations we saw yesterday. Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage all fell on their swords. All three made rather excellent, thoughtful speeches, though Mr Farage rather ruined his by turning his supposed resignation into a might-be resignation, once he’s had the summer to think it over.
One thing the pre-election polls got dead right was that the SNP would sweep all before them in Scotland. They won all but three seats.
David Cameron’s speech in Downing Street was the Prime Minister at his best. It was calm and statesmanlike, a far cry from the ranting scaremonger we saw too often during the campaign.
Here in the North East, Labour held firm. The Teesside target of Stockton South was missed but parliamentary and council strength was otherwise improved still further.
We now wait for Mr Cameron to draw up plans for controlled devolution, to take Britain towards a federal model that it is clearly ready for.
The fact that Mr Cameron is now unencumbered by the Liberal Democrats or (far worse) the DUP should make his task easier. He has five years to remake Britain for the better. Let’s hope he’s as good as his word.