End of the beginning.
All the same, Labour's gains are solid without being truly spectacular. The overall share of the vote, rather than being in line with results where the governing party went on to lose power does instead resemble Labour in the 80s and the Tories in the first half of the 00s. This said, we are still only two years into the coalition and have only recently reached the point at which Labour has been seeing a lead in the opinion polls that would give them a comfortable majority if repeated at an election. If nothing else it will end any murmurings about Ed Miliband's leadership, and about time too.
It is also lovely to see certain Tories so quickly turning their fire on the leadership for not being right-wing enough. It seems to have passed them entirely by that the main concerns at the moment are not immigration, crime, Europe or gay marriage, except among the usual minority, but the economy, jobs and standard of living, all of which they are less quick to be critical about. Likewise, for all the talk of the rise in support for UKIP, it's only turned into a gain of one seat, regardless of how it may have cost the Tories in places; the Greens by contrast have gained four overall. The BNP's collapse meanwhile has continued, leaving them with a pitiful four councillors in total. If there is a swing to parties to the left and right of Labour and the Tories as there has been across Europe, then it hasn't gone to the furthest extremes.
Inevitably, if Ken loses in London as he seems certain to, then the Tories will point to Labour not making the key gain they needed to. As said before, letting Ken stand again was a huge mistake as it allowed Boris to turn the election into a battle of personalities, with policies coming a very distant second. For the most part the rest of the country seems to have seen London and said, nope, we don't want that here. And thank goodness for that.
Update: Approximately 20 years later, it turns out Boris has won by about 60,000 votes. Fairly apparent that with a David Lammy or an Alan Johnson there would now be a Labour mayor to go with the 800+ council seats. Great to see Jenny Jones grab third place, and by 8,000 votes over Brian Paddick, and also impressive that Siobhan Benita ran the Lib Dems close. You also suspect though that UKIP would have done hell of a lot better had they not for some reason been down on the ballot under their slogan rather than as UKIP.