Mockery and parody: Saying goodbye to big name MPs

One by one, as the UK general election results came in, big political names lost their seats at Westminster - and the internet responded with satire, wry comments and memes.

The polls had Labour and the Tories neck and neck in the run up to the election but that certainly isn't how it played out in reality.

After a long night and defeat for the Labour Party, leader Ed Miliband stepped down, handing the leadership to Harriet Harman while a new leader is selected.

Miliband gave a passionate speech in which #milifandom even got a mention.

Image copyright @Channel4News

Another casualty of the night, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg announced he is stepping down as party leader, despite narrowly keeping his seat in Sheffield Hallam.

Twitter it seemed had been expecting it...

Image copyright @AntiAusterityUK

Another big name to go was Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, who lost his Morley and Outwood seat to the Conservative Andrea Jenkyns.

The internet, unsurprisingly, had plenty to say about it.

Image copyright @egorgackiods
Image copyright @ejenk
Image copyright @HannaFromHeaven

UKIP leader Nigel Farage lost the vote in Thanet South to the Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay.

UKIP currently has one seat, as former Conservative defector MP Douglas Carswell was re-elected in Clacton, Essex for UKIP.

Here's the reaction in South Thanet...

In Scotland, there was jubilant celebration across social media from SNP supporters, a group known for their intense presence on social media, as their party took Labour and Liberal Democrat seats. Aides to Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander were rumoured to have conceded defeat to the SNP in the Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey constituency hours before his loss was officially announced.

Image copyright @KWR66 / twitter
Image caption Danny Alexander meets Edvard Munch: this image was shared by an SNP supporter

SNP supporters began to create memes about his defeat, with the image above one of the most shared. ""I have lost an election," Alexander later told the BBC. "That's democracy. I'm sure I will find some useful way to occupy my time."

Image copyright Angry Salmond / YouTube
Image caption The Angry Salmond account posted this video, with an animated Alex Salmond to the tune of "another one bites the dust"

The satirical and popular pro-SNP Angry Salmond Twitter account, as well as its many followers, had set the tone early with videos mocking Scottish Labour as they began to lose seats, deploying hashtags such as #LabourAin'tGotNoSeats and #SexySocialism (first coined during the Scottish Independence referendum).

The celebrations and mockery continued through the night. When Liberal Democrat Jo Swinson lost East Dunbartonshire to the SNP, Angry Salmond tweeted "This is the best night ever!" - in contrast to some political commentators who bemoaned the loss of a "potential future leader". But the real surge came when big Labour names began to lose their seats in Scotland.

When shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander was beaten by 20-year-old student Mhairi Black, in what the BBC economics editor Robert Peston called "this election's Portillo moment," SNP supporters were joined (in an unlikely moment of alliance) by Conservative supporters south of the border. Both used The Simpsons to meme Labour's night of losses in Scotland.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

After Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy lost his seat in East Renfrewshire, his concession speech was widely praised by commentators. But the tone on social media continued to be mocking.

A number of SNP supporters logged on to Scottish Labour's Facebook page and left comments. "An ode to jim Murphy!! Please join in if you know the words!!!! Na Na Na Na, Na Na Na Na, hey hey hey, goodbye!!!!" said one. Labour supporters were quick to react: "Cue the SNP trolling," was one typical reaction. (BBC Trending has reported in the past about accusations that SNP supporters are aggressive online; for their part they maintain that all sides have a minority of abusive people trolling in their name).


During the campaign, Angry Salmond told BBC Trending why SNP supporters are such a major presence online. "The combination of social media and the [Scottish Independence] referendum gave people reason to believe their opinion mattered," he wrote in an email. "It was the first major political event in the history of the British Isles where social media truly was a defining force and that legacy lasts to this day."

"Will the last Lib Dem please turn out the lights"

It was a torrid night for the Liberal Democrats south of the border, too. Simon Hughes, who had represented Bermondsey and Old Southwark since 1983 until this election, earned praise on Twitter but many also remembered the bitter first campaign he fought against Labour's Peter Tatchell, a gay rights campaigner whose sexual orientation became a campaign issue.

"Has been a good MP, but hard to forgive him for dirty campaign against Peter Tatchell in 1983," tweeted one Labour activist in south London. Several others mentioned a Lib Dem leaflet from the time that called Hughes the "straight choice". Hughes later apologised for the campaign.

On the Liberal Democrat Facebook page, many party supporters - and ex-supporters - mostly traded barbs and pointed fingers underneath a post thanking people for voting.

"Voted for you last time," said one. "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

"Please, please, please do not go into another coalition with the Conservatives," wrote one supporter. While another commented: "will the last Lib Dem please turn off the lights."

In Twickenham, Vince Cable lost his seat after 18 years as an MP. "Vince Cable really cared about this country and was a real asset to the government, a real shame," one supporter tweeted. Others were much more scathing. After the former business secretary claimed his party would bounce back, he was mocked with an Alan Partridge joke:

Image copyright @Tomilo

Galloway gone

One bit of good news for Labour came in Bradford West, where Naz Shah trounced Respect MP George Galloway by a margin of more than 2-to-1. While the polls were still open, Galloway allegedly retweeted a message which suggested he was building a lead in the race (the tweet was later deleted or removed). Not only did the figures turn out to be wrong, Galloway also found himself referred to police by the returning officer - releasing poll data while voting is still ongoing is against the law.

Galloway hasn't commented on the allegations but his many political opponents were vocal on Twitter after the result was announced. "The humiliation of George Galloway is one of the few bright spots of tonight," tweeted Labour supporter and journalist Sunny Hundal.

Buzzfeed reporter Tom Chivers revived a photo of Galloway from his appearance on Celebrity Big Brother and Photoshopped him running away from an explosion, a montage that was retweeted and favourited hundreds of times.

Image copyright Twitter / @TomChivers

Blog by Mike Wendling, Mukul Devichand, Ravin Sampat and Kerry Alexandra

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