Excellent analysis from Ciaran O’Kelly on the election patterns in Britain. It confirms what I’d already suspected: ie that the Conservatives largely owe their improved seat total to an effective Lib Dem counterattack on Labour over the issue of Iraq. That doesn’t necessarily augur well for the Lib Dems next time out: they are in second place in many areas where they don’t have an historical presence. But what O’Kelly underlines is the work the Conservatives will have to do to move from Howard’s consolidating agenda to one that appeals to 60% of the UK electorate that seems to be losing interest in them.
Adds: for the upbeat version see Iain Murray’s analysis.