Last year, I predicted as follows: “David Cameron will realise that UKIP is a clear and present danger and will begin the fight-back by the only way possible. He will adopt their policies and reinforce that by continuing to spray copious volumes of testosterone in Brussels.” ( #17 HERE )
In spite of the Conservatives’ best efforts to smear the Liberal Democrats with the ridiculously-timed media Lord Rennard “Gropegate” campaign, the Party has been humiliated in the fifteenth by-election of this lame government. The majority of all the other by-elections since 2010 were straightforward and predictable “Labour Hold” results – this one was different. Very different.
If the insufferably smug UKIP leader Nigel Farage struts any more zingily, he’ll injure himself! But who can blame him? The incompetence, the 19th Century policies, the 18th Century verbal jousting and lack of cogent communication by the other parties has helped UKIP to begin their final climb to Westminster.
Both main parties will dismiss this colossal electoral success by UKIP as a mere mid-term blip…and they will suffer because of their total lack of either proper analysis or strategy. To both main parties but especially the Conservatives, UKIP has been allowed to become (ironically) like the Eurozone – it has flourished into a problem without solution. UKIP is here to say.
The way any government operates is very straightforward. The first half of its term in office is given over to imposing the necessary “bad bits” – the policies which are bound to be unpopular.
The second half of its tenure (especially in the final 12 months leading to a General Election) is usually distinguished by the giveaways – the “nice bits”. (Tax decreases, new thresholds, share handouts etc).
This time – it will NOT work. It will not work because , in the final analysis – forget policies and promises….we vote for people we like and trust. The present Coalition government (especially the Tories) have no-one particularly likeable to offer and they have certainly “blown” the last vestiges of any pre-election trust that the electorate had in them.
But the REALLY big tactical error that the Conservatives made in Eastleigh was their choice of candidate, Mrs Maria “I say what I think” Hutchings. She was the nearest that the Tories could find to their own ersatz UKIP candidate.
They thought that they might just fool the electorate…………. and failed.
We’ve already had the traditional “Yes, it’s disappointing but I’m sure that we can win the voters back at the next General Election” announcement from the Prime Minister.
Are you sure about that, Dave?
(BTW – well done Libdems………. and Nick, there’s a difference between “stunning ” and “stunned”!)