Friday, 1 March 2013

Down but not out!

The Tories received a bloody nose in the Eastleigh by-election yesterday and they should reflect hard on this.  If you look at the result one can see that all the other major parties were similarly effected by UKIP.  Both the LibDems and Tories saw a drop in their share of the vote drop by 10% and Labour's 10% lead in the national opinion polls evaporated.  So one can say that they were all equally effected by the UKIP protest vote.  (thanks to The Guardian for this chart)

There is no doubt in my mind that the Tories should have won in Eastleigh but they had a woeful candidate who was quite incapable of surviving under the spotlight of national media (see my blog -  This helped gift the LibDems a stunning victory.  Having said that the beards and sandals brigade did wonders to get their vote out after demise of Chris Huhne.

LibDem activist celebrate

There is an important lesson here, which is that localism still counts, despite a huge right wing press campaign focused against the LibDems (The Rennard Scandal) a strong organisation on the ground held firm and they retained the seat.  So where do the Tories go from here, with two years to sort themselves out before the 2015 election they need to do some serious thinking and change/ raise their game! 

I am sorry to  be boring but I have to return to the chart that The Economist publishes monthly on what voters in the UK are worried about.

 And surprise, surprise - its still the economy - see my early blog on this

Okay there are issues around immigration but the Tories have a good story on this, and interestingly you will notice our membership of the EU doesn't even register.  David Cameron can't ignore UKIP but he needs to rationalise why they did so well and the focus on the business of improving the economic stewardship of our country.  For my money the rise of UKIP is based on the general disillusion with all the main parties, Labour because they got us into this mess and the Conservative and LibDems because they look incapable of getting us out of it.

I am sure David Cameron will be true to his word and this poor result will not cause a lurch to the right and he is absolutely correct.  But make no mistake to win in 2015 Cameron will have to lurch somewhere, the status quo will not do.  The focus and the only focus needs to be on improving our economic position - two years is not long but its enough time to turn things around.

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