Well some of the Political Blogs predicted it (most notably Dan Hannan) and they were right. Before I went into the count on Sunday night I said to my colleagues the same thing that it will happen. The local returning officer then set out how the count was going to take place. With 14 different parties and a ballot paper the size of an unravelled piece of toilet roll, it was going to take a military operation to sort out. He said "we will sort the ballots into the four main parties - The Conservatives, UKIP, Lib Dem & Labour and have a fifth pile for others. The others will then get sorted out into ten different piles". What a mistake he made - the Labour Party should have been included in the others pile and the Greens to have a separate pile for themselves. For it did happen the Labour Party came an amazing fifth in the South East. Incidentally they also came fifth in the South West and if you take just Cornwall they came sixth behind the Cornish Nationalists. Not since 1918 has a major political party done so badly in a set of national elections. Nationally they got just 15.7 % of the vote. Labour is on its knees but Gordon Brown lives to fight another day.
The only disappointing thing amongst fantastic night for the Conservatives who came first in Wales- was that my friend Therese Coffey missed out on a seat in the European Parliament by just 5,000 votes across the whole of the South East.
The Full results - % share of votes:
Conservative -27.7 %
UK Independence Party - 16.5%
Labour - 15.7%
Liberal Democrats - 13.7%
Green Party - 8.6%
British National Party - 6.2%