Purfleet, by Allister Webb, June 13, 2017

General Election Count  for NWN and SWN at Lynnsport King's Lynn
General Election Count for NWN and SWN at Lynnsport King's Lynn

So where do we go from here exactly?

The election that was meant to give Theresa May the mandate she allegedly needed to negotiate Brexit has instead left us with a weak, minority administration, propped up by a handful of Northern Ireland Unionists, at least until we go to the polls again.

Now, it’s probably only fair that I make a couple of admissions at this point, which perhaps say more about me than anything else.

First, I thought Theresa May would make a decent prime minister when she inherited the job last summer. She looked the most capable of the available candidates, even when striking fear into all those who care about the standing of our nation abroad by putting Boris Johnson in charge of the Foreign Office.

Second, despite my efforts to follow the examples of both Brexit and Trump as a means of taking money off bookmakers through politics, I was prepared for a fairly predictable election night, ending with a comfortable Conservative victory.

So what changed? Well, apparently, not enough to improve my finances but maybe I wasn’t alone in being less impressed by Mrs May the more I saw of her during the election campaign.

Yet her party’s share of the vote was higher than under David Cameron two years ago, while Labour also had a significant surge in its share of the vote. And with the range of surprising individual constituency elections, the academics and analysts tasked with working out why we voted as we did will have their work cut out.

But where does it all leave us, and what does it mean for us in West Norfolk? During his acceptance speech in the early hours of Friday morning, the newly re-elected Sir Henry Bellingham talked of using his mandate to secure the best possible Brexit deal and securing greater investment into this area from the new government.

That all sounds good, except I daresay there were about 300 other newly elected Conservative MPs saying very similar things for their areas. And given the power the Democratic Unionist Party will now have over this government, it’s not hard to imagine substantial resources being diverted in the direction of Northern Ireland either.

That, however, is not the problem of us mere mortal voters. Having said he wants to do that, he now has to deliver and I’ve no doubt we will not be the only ones watching closely to see what goodies come this way for however long Sir Henry and his colleagues are at Westminster this time.

The broad consensus in the Lynnsport counting hall was we will be doing all this again soon, perhaps as early as October. That doesn’t fill me with any great enthusiasm. But we are where we are. The question is how much harder will it now be to resolve the questions we have to resolve.