Thursday was a marathon day of visiting polling stations and getting out the vote. I had fish and chips and a glass of wine to induce three hours kip before the count. When it finished at 6.30am, I felt shattered and excited, which has meant no more sleep today. I was surprised by the size of the majority. Although I had been hearing positive noises across the constituency, as a candidate, I had too little perspective to judge the result.
Campaigning in South West Norfolk in spring is a pleasure, not least because of all the farm shops and asparagus stalls en route. 2010 has been very different from previous elections - there have been more direct questions and interest in the political process and delving into the detail of what parties have proposed. There is a widespread understanding of the level of government debt and a desire to get to grips with it, although not consistent views about how to do so.
Some have said that this hasn't been the "internet election" after all; I'm not sure about that. The way I see it, internet contact doesn't replace face-to-face interaction - it supplements and increases it. I have tweeters saying "you walked past my house in the village but didn't stop" and meet people on the doorstep that I have already had an email conversation with. I hope this is a new start for a more meaningful engagement between the public and politicians. One thing I want to start doing is not just be available for specific cases but also have wider public discussion about current legislation and use the internet to publicise meetings and reports. I would like to see a more direct link between constituents and parliamentary activity.
This is not reality at the moment; at present I am in the setup phase. After giving my acceptance speech I was passed an envelope containing details of the parliamentary induction process. Following an intense period of activity, I am being hurled into another. Logistics will be critical as I will be recruiting staff for a South West Norfolk office and establishing it in the constituency, as well as finding my way around Westminster. While I am doing this the political wheels continue to move nationally. With a large number of new MPs entering parliament I believe that change is under way.