Some lessons so far from the elections

Laura Kuenssberg
Political editor
@bbclaurakon Twitter

Published
image copyrightReuters
image captionBoris Johnson's had a good set of results - but are there problems ahead?

This isn't a general election, where everything can change, where voters' choices can shift the course of the whole UK in a moment of decision.

But the scale of these votes means our politicians are being given much more than a flavour of the public's opinions right now.

It shouldn't be forgotten that many contests are yet to conclude - hand sanitiser, screens and social distancing have slowed the pace.

Much may yet emerge, but there are some observations worth making.

In Westminster, Boris Johnson has been through a torrid few weeks. But much of the country has just shown again that he is a magnet for millions of voters.

Love it, or loathe it, which other political leader can you imagine having the bottle to pose next to a giant inflatable blimp of themselves?

As his political opponents have found to their frustration in Westminster, the prime minister's prowess as a campaigner sucks oxygen from everyone else - and goodness knows it must have taken a lot of puff to blow up that inflatable.

image copyrightReuters
image captionSir Keir Starmer thought things could only get better after Labour's 2019 general election result

In contrast, Sir Keir Starmer has just enjoyed a few weeks of making the running in SW1. But much of the country has demonstrated once more that Labour turns swathes of voters away.

Caution is still wise, hordes of results are yet to come, and for both of the big parties, and particularly the prime minister, the outcome of the Scottish results is possibly the start of a brand new nightmare.

As things stand, the chances of the SNP taking a majority all on its own are in the balance.

Whatever the final details of the result, the situation is likely to be fraught - stand by for a battle of the mandates.

image copyrightReuters
image captionNicola Sturgeon wants to strengthen the case for another independence referendum

And all the parties have to grapple with the particularities of the electoral map. Whether it's the different scenario in Scotland, or contrasting results for Labour in Wales and England, or town and city, young and old, the jigsaw is becoming more, not less, complicated.

For the primary Westminster battle, however, it's clear the Tories have trampled further into areas where they used to be alien, more reward from a long-term strategy.

Labour, even with its new leader who has been consistently at pains to show the party is different under his stewardship, has to grapple with a new horror - the thumping in 2019 under Jeremy Corbyn may not have been rock bottom.

Elections record only one moment in time - but these results shape the mood, the psychology of our political parties.

For the Tories, more than a decade in power already, they're defying gravity - these results argue for more of the same.

For Labour, the urge to change is more urgent - quite how is no easier to say.