This is an historic victory for Mrs Thatcher, who's established a 20th century record in winning a third consecutive term as Prime Minister. For Neil Kinnock, it's a devastating blow, after one of Labour's best campaigns that had seemed to promise much. And it's a bitter disappointment for the Alliance who once again have failed to make that elusive breakthrough. What seems to have happened is that voters who were prepared to flirt with the Alliance in by-elections and local elections have deserted them and gone back to traditional loyalties. So Labour have done well in Scotland, Wales and the north of England; the Conservatives have done even better in the Midlands and the south, and the Alliance have been squeezed out to be left with a few pickings on the fringe. What that means is that the political map of Britain is now even more divided between north and south. And, even in her triumph, Mrs Thatcher appeared to recognise that when she spoke to party workers at Conservative headquarters earlier this morning.
It is wonderful to be entrusted with the government of this country, this great country, once again, and I want to say this to you; the greater the trust, the greater the duty upon us to be worthy of that trust. And we will indeed endeavour to serve the people of these islands in the future as we have in the past. We have a great deal of work to do, so no one must slack (LAUGHTER) - you can have a party tonight, you can have a marvellous party tonight and you can clear up tomorrow, but on Monday you know we've got a big job to do in some of those inner cities. A really big job. Our policies were geared education and housing, to help the people in the inner cities to get more choice.
It was just after two thirty this morning when the Conservatives broke through the 326 seat barrier to send Mrs Thatcher back to Number Ten with an overall majority in the Commons. But Mr Kinnock, his voice hoarse from his sustained, almost evangelical oratory on the campaign trail, refused to express the disappointment he clearly felt. Labour's leader predicted that Britain would now be plunged into an abyss of division. It was time to mourn for the victims who, he claimed, would continue to suffer from the divisiveness of Thatcherism.
My hope is that the consequence of that isn't visited upon the people who appear to have voted for it. The ingredient that's missing is the idea across the country that we really can pull together; that we really can get unemployment down; that we really can save the Health Service and we really can afford to provide for the older people. There's a surrender mentality and it'll take more time to erode - especially since we started from such a low position in 83 - and it's taking some time to work it back, but we'll do that.
In a disastrous night for the Alliance, David Owen, the SDP leader, saw his predecessor, Roy Jenkins, lose his Glasgow Hillhead seat. And both Shirley Williams and Bill Rodgers failed to get back into Parliament. And it was a clearly bitterly disappointed Doctor Owen who said he obviously would have preferred a better result.