Each party will probably tell you a different story. The Conservatives note how they got the most votes – 42.4%, which is 5.5% more than they had previously.
“She’s won the most seats – 56 seats more than Labour. She’s won the biggest share of the vote for 34 years.” – Michael Fallon
Labour boast about their huge gains in their number of seats – 30 more than 2015 – and their huge increase in their share of the vote, by 9.5%. They also emphasise how they managed to make the Conservatives form a minority Government and how they did significantly better than most polls were suggesting (especially towards the beginning of the campaign).
“We gained seats in every region of the country. We won three million more votes, on a much higher turnout. I think that is a pretty good result.” – Jeremy Corbyn
Meanwhile, the Liberal Democrats, whilst obviously accepting that they were not even close to being in a position to form a Government, still highlight their own successes in the election. After all, they did increase their number of seats – proportionate to their previous amount – by more than any other party.
“I am not just proud that our parliamentary party is bigger, but also that it is more diverse.” – Tim Farron
Even the SNP, who by most accounts had a terrible election (losing 21 MPs and their leader of the party in Westminster), tried to spin the result in their favour.
“The SNP has won this election in Scotland. It will be our second best ever result in a Westminster election.” – Nicola Sturgeon
The truth is that no party won, but there was a winner and a loser. Jeremy Corbyn showed that he can lead Labour and has stifled the dissenting voices in his party. Even Alastair Campbell, someone who has previously been a harsh critic of Corbyn, has congratulated him and has talked of the need for all the members of Labour to come together in a broad coalition. Owen Smith, Corbyn’s former leadership rival, has also admitted that he was wrong in claiming that Corbyn would have no chance of becoming Prime Minister.
On the other hand, Theresa May ended up squatting inside number 10, after having made a speech in which she failed to address how she did not receive the mandate that she was looking for. Her position in her party looks increasingly untenable and she has significantly weakened her hand when it comes to Brexit negotiations.
The real loser, however, is British politics. The protectionism of Corbyn and May has triumphed over the progressive internationalism that was put on the table by the Liberal Democrats. We have regressed to two party politics. Whilst I am sure that in the future the Lib Dems will form a majority Government (however long that may take), it is a shame that we have not seen this in the present – even if our number of seats did increase.