I'm too young and too American to say what effect this had on the scene back home, but you have to imagine a strong sense of disillusionment. By the time all those bands, inspired by the Sex Pistols, could string 3 chords together, their idols were denuded. The dual forces of market and tradtion proved too powerful to overcome. The response was swift and startling.
What came next was unhinged, unstructured and unsanctioned. This is the era where what we understand as an independent label today was born. For the first time in modern pop history, the fashion got away of the the gatekeepers of the marketplace. This is where the rules of what was cool, let alone what a pop song or rock music could even be, got thrown out the window.
There seems to be no unifying quality in post-punk other than striving beyond your own limits and imposed constraints. From this era of experimentation was born what we know as new wave, goth, dance punk, and industrial and a fistful of other well-known sub-genres. None of them were known by those names at the time. Only after scenes coalesced around these artists, years later, would they began to get cleaved off from their post-punk origins.
Take Bauhaus, now known as the godfathers of goth. Goth wasn't a thing in 1978. Listen to Bela Lugosi's Dead again: it's a strikingly bizarre song. It has a beating heart of dub reggae. A gigantic bass riff in the foreground and echoing rimshots from the drums prop up reverbed vocals moaning over tuneless guitar scrapings. Structurally, it's a mantra—doing away with the verse-chorus-verse format almost entirely. It drones on, seemingly forever. By the time goth was a proper style, this sort of foundation shaking would be tantamount to heresy