I am sitting at my desk a little bleary-eyed at the moment. I have the BBC website on automatic refresh and, as I write, 649 out of 650 seats have been declared. The polls only closed last night at ten in the evening (eleven Continental time), so the first results only started to trickle through at around one in the morning our time. I confess I sloped off to bed around two. Nothing much seemed to be happening. Labour had held three seats and that was about it. I crawled out of bed again around five-thirty and what a different situation now existed! I have been glued to screens of one sort or another and to the radio and the television and earphones and my telephone ever since then. What an extraordinary race! At one stage it looked as though the Tories were going to gallop away with it, but they didn’t. Labour held up well in Scotland and less well in Wales. The Lib Dem surge simply didn’t materialise. There was no ‘Ed Balls moment’. Labour was not beaten into third place. The Conservatives have the largest number of seats (306) but do not have the 326 they would need for majority government alone. Labour (258 seats) and the Lib Dems (57) together have more seats. And now the offers and counter-offers and wooing have begun in earnest. In 1979 Jim Callaghan famously said ‘You know there are times, perhaps once every thirty years, when there is a sea-change in politics. It then does not matter what you say or what you do. There is a shift in what the public wants and what it approves of.’ This was not one of those moments or, at least, if it was, it was a much more nuanced message. But it seems in any case that the leaders of both the major parties are interpreting this result as a message that the UK’s electoral system needs to be reviewed, if not changed. So, whatever happens, this will almost certainly have been a historical election. Despite a dull start, it turned into a fascinating contest.