Alex Salmond's spectacular wins in Scotland, the trouncing of the LibDems and the further retreat of Labour to a rump of areas in the NE and NW are really not good news for Cameron, despite what the papers are saying. On the face of it, the Tories have come through the local elections pretty much unscathed, have maintained a good vote share and were on the winning AV side. You'd forgive them for some complacency this morning. The innate small-c conservatism of the Brits which on balance favours the status quo has asserted itself; this doesn't actually signal any real support for Conservatism. In fact, the opposite may hold true.
Apart from the handful of 'Yes' areas, which I'll bet coincide with the location of the Guardian's most devoted readers (Oxford, Cambridge, the London Muesli belt), the nation voted against electoral change, but not for a continued political duopoly. Don't expect to see the changes in the 2015 Parliament, but 2020 may signal the end of Red - Blue Britain. The third of voters who vote for parties other than Labour and the Tories will continue to grow; when something over 40% of votes are for brands other than Coke and Pepsi then seats will start to fall like ninepins.
The future for the Lib Dems looks grim. With only about 60,000 members and no natural large donors, they're hard strapped for cash. The Committee on Standards in Public Life is set in the next few weeks to dismiss the tax-funding of political parties, something the LibDems had set their hopes on. The loss of so many local councillors is a grievous body-blow. The Coalition has exposed the LibDem party membership as being more disunited than either Labour or the Tories - the EU-loving LibDems from the Muesli belt have nothing in common with the EU-loathing LibDems from the South West. Their votes will find their way to the Greens, UKIP and others. For the first time in my lifetime, national politics is not only starting to look interesting but the centre of gravity is dispersing from the metropolitan centre. The smaller parties will now fight for Conservative votes.