The headlines so far recount the closeness of the race between the two top parties, Conservatives (34%) and Labour (33%), and the fact that together they share barely two-thirds of support from voters, which is down from 90 plus percent during most of the post WWII period. To form a government, the front running party may have to ally with two or more smaller parties.
The field of smaller parties has new players. The Scottish National Party is likely to sweep all the seats in Scotland, up from a handful won in the last election (2010). And, an anti-immigrant party, UKIP, that now has more voter support than the Liberal Democrat Party, which after the last election was in third and became part of the government (in spite of more support, UKIP (14%) may receive one to three seats, whereas the Liberals (8%) may win 26 seats due to the single member first past the post voting system).
Forming a government requires 326 seats. The third largest bloc in the new parliament will be the Scottish National Party and it is a logical member of a Labour coalition. Most analysts see Conservatives getting the plurality of seats, but having a poorer chance to form a government than Labour.
Like elections in most western democracies, protest is in the air with broad based distrust of longtime parties and established politicians.