Election: Disjointed thoughts from my tired brain
I spent 12 hours at the joint count at Richmond Park and Twickenham. Vince Cable got 32,000 votes (and the Tories grew their vote too). But in the neighbouring Libdem constituency Susan Kramer was ousted by Zac Goldsmith.
How come? Zac ran a high profile zippy campaign with blue windcheaters, electric bikes and what looked to me like several chapters of Debrett's peerage in tow.
Yet he - anecdotally - took votes off the Libdems and Labour in the least affluent wards.
Just like Tommy Carcetti in Series IV of The Wire, he took in one ward 2/5 of his opponents' base. As a result he had a 3,500 majority compared to Susan Kramer's 3,500 before.
Does this hold any lessons for where we go next? I think it might. Goldsmith won because he looked unlike a traditional Tory. The Zac machine "k-i-nd of fitted" on top of the traditional Tory machinery, the constituency Chair told me, with a long melismatic swoop over the word "kind" that indicated that it had not been easy.
Zac won, Caroline Lucas won, the Alliance ousted the DUP's figurehead Peter Robinson. People voted for change - but their idea of change was not the same as that of the major party leaders.
The political system was not capable of capturing it (that's not to say any other proposed system would be any better either).
So where now? I've said before the markets factored in the idea of a hung parliament, but not a chaotic one, where the arithmetic is so tight that small parties call the shots.
What's changed is that Britain's political stasis emerges in the middle of a global panic over two linked things:
a) Europe's fiscal crisis is getting out of control
b) Europe's political class does not have the skill or willpower or institutions to sort it out.
As of right now - with the polls predicting 306 Conservative MPs - Britain fits very neatly with point b) even if our fiscal situation puts us last on the list of economies that will fall over if the Greek contagion spreads.
I think just because Cleggmania fell away it does not mean that the new enthusiasm of young voters, and their clamour for something better, will go away.
I see the Zac phenomenon, the Greens in Brighton, the Alliance in East Belfast as part of the same wave. Also the massive queues outside hapless polling booths betoken the enthusiasm of young voters.
Now we are the other side of the big vote, all that prevarication about not specifying tens of billions of cuts will come home to roost.
It is very hard to imagine a minority government getting through an emergency review of the public finances which discovers the existing budget to be "fiction", then an emergency budget and £6bn of in-year cuts.
But the scale of the debt panic in the world probably also demands more in the way of credible fiscal austerity than Labour were offering, and a faster move towards cuts.
The crisis is, once again, moving faster than the politicians' brains, and the political institutions can cope with.
In the midst of it all I can only leave you with an image from the end of Zac Goldsmith's triumphant count. As his supporters filtered out, looking like the cast of Brideshead Revisited would if they had discovered hair putty, one woman said to another: "I feel so alive!"