The lesson for American Democrats is obvious. Heavy government spending is not a political winner when the private sector economy is ailing. Britain voted Conservative in the 1930s, even more so than last week, and Americans seem poised to vote Republican in November.

The results were also disappointing for the Liberal Democrats. Their leader Nick Clegg gave a shining performance in Britain’s first party leaders’ debate April 15, and Lib Dems soared in the polls. But they sank when voters learned more about their platform, which included legalizing illegal immigrants and ditching the pound for the euro, and the party ended up winning fewer seats than in 2005.

Lesson: Flashy political newcomers better have some substance…

For American Republicans there may be a lesson here, that seeking the approval of what David Brooks calls “the educated class” reduces your appeal to what is, in America at least, a larger number of ordinary middle-class people who are worried about government spending and increasingly skeptical of global warming alarmism. These are not people Washington insiders run across very much, but they cast lots of votes.