Sure, it feels like we're doomed after the Conservatives won, but there is hope on the horizon
So you've read our round-up of what happened and you've decided to book the cheapest one-way Easyjet ticket out of the country. Even though the Conservatives have pulled off the astounding feat of returning to power with an even bigger majority than they had in 2010, that doesn't mean that it's grim tidings all the way till 2020. Amid the gloom and doom of the Tory victory, there have been a few bright spots in the results that have given us cause for hope.
THERE WAS A RECORD TURNOUT OF YOUNG VOTERS
People normally assume that the youth vote is dead in the voter, but this election bucked that trend. The number of 18 to 25-year-olds who voted this year is 58 per cent, up from 52 per cent in 2010 and a depressingly low 38 per cent in 2005. Sky News reports that as many as six in ten young voters went to their polling booth. Are we seeing the start of a quiet electoral revolution among young people? We can only hope.
NIGEL FARAGE DIDN'T GET IN
It was a pretty tense scene when the results for South Thanet were delayed by four hours due to an overwhelming turnout, but we finally found out that Farage didn't get in at 10.30am. The UKIP leader lost South Thanet to Tory candidate Craig MacInlay by almost 3,000 votes. Speaking after his defeat, Farage said that he felt a "weight lifted off his shoulders" and insisted he had "never felt happier". In the past, he said that he would step down if he didn't win the seat – hopefully, this is the last we'll see of the creepy racist uncle of British politics.
THE SNP SURGE SHOWS THE POWER OF THE VOTING PUBLIC
Former SNP leader Alex Salmond described it as a tsunami. The party had a historic win in Scotland, winning 56 out of 59 seats and leaving Labour with only a single MP in the region. But if there's one thing our #indyref coverage proved, it's that the independence referendum revitalised political participation among Scots, especially young Scots. No wonder everywhere north of the border (minus a few constituencies) turned SNP yellow overnight.
THERE'S A RECORD NUMBER OF WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT
Technically speaking, women make up a little bit more than half of the population. Unfortunately, that's never been reflected in our Parliament, where men have dominated the share of MPs since time immemorial. But it all changed this year with a record-breaking number of women elected to power. More than 30 per cent of the House of Commons are female; that's one in three MPs. We've got a long way to go – this year, the country had 102 seats where there was no female candidate in contention AT ALL – but the early signs are encouraging.
OH, AND THE YOUNGEST EVER MP IN OVER THREE CENTURIES IS ALSO A WOMAN
20-year-old politics student Mhairi Black rode the SNP landslide all the way into power: she is now the youngest ever MP since Christopher Monck was elected in 1667. She also unseated shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander in the process, but her victory speech was definitely more articulate and inclusive than anything that came out of our mouths when we were uni students. "Whether you voted for the SNP or not, and whatever your views are on Scotland’s future, I will seek to represent you and everyone in this constituency to the very best of my ability," she said. "This election is about making the voice of this constituency and the whole of Scotland heard more effectively at Westminster than ever before."
WE MIGHT ACTUALLY CHANGE OUR VOTING SYSTEM NOW
It's been long acknowledged that our voting system is deeply unfair – a political party could receive a big share of the national vote, but not see any candidates elected if they failed to beat the incumbent in their constituency. The Greens have long championed electoral reform, which would involve changing the first past the post system to a equitable form of proportional representation.
The only problem is that proportional representation tends to benefit smaller parties, and that will include UKIP. This year, it gained 12.5 per cent of the national vote, but only ended up with one seat while the SNP got 4.9 per cent and ended up with 56 seats. Proportional representation could change all that, but hopefully other left-wing parties will step in to balance Farage's troops out.