Sensible Tories will realise that Eastleigh was a catestrophe for Labour and good news for the Coalition

1 Mar 2013 at 09:40

If only the Tories would stop behaving like Corporal Jones in Dad’s Army and took a moment to reflect on the how de do at Eastleigh they might realise that the real catestrophe was for Labour. Four thousand votes and fourth place is not a ringing endorsement for the two Eds, nor does it allow for a claim that a fight back has begun.

What I find so remarkable is that the Conservatives treated Eastleigh as its own property. This was a serious error of judgement. Eastleigh is a Lib Dem fiefdom with every ward occupied by the yellows. It was theirs to lose. And if they had the Coalition would be in meltdown as the wolves would not just be at Clegg’s door but ripping him to pieces. So now the silly talk of dumping him will temporarily subside. To win when the last MP faces jail and the party in turmoil over Rennard is nothing short of miraculous. Sensible Tories should realise that this was a good result for the Coalition.

This weekend the papers will be full of the bile and hatred of that small minority of backbenchers who genuinely despise Cameron.They will anonymously vent their spleen. There will be dark talk of signatures, stalking horses and Adam Afriyie. I am reliably informed that he is very serious about a leadership bid. The question is when. Oh dear, someone ought to tell him that the assassin never gets to wear the crown.

And of course there will be the usual primal screams for a change of course. More traditional policies, anti Europe, anti immigrant anti union and an abhorrence of same sex marriage. The delightful irony was that Maria Hutchings represented all of these things. She was the standard bearer of the Amish wing of the Tories. The electorate had no doubt what her views were. They were not remotely Cameroon. So when the usual suspects demand that the party drifts to the right and abandons modernisation they should be reminded that voters were offered all that they consider to be a masturbatory dream and rejected them.

And then there is UKIP. Why is anyone remotely surprised that they hoovered up protest votes from all parties? They have taken over the role from the Lib Dems at the national spittoon. They are not an alternative Conservative party at all. They take the Alf Garnet vote from the Tories, the right wing union bigots from Labour and anyone else who is just pissed off with the world and his wife. They will do well in the locals, clean up at the European elections and bomb at the general. People will vote UKIP in droves when it doesn’t affect their lives.

Statistically there will probably be a couple more by elections before May 2015. I wonder whether Farage would have the courage to stand himself? He is a rather vain man and the thought of any form of defeat horrifies him. If he hadn’t worn the chicken suit at Eastleigh the Kippers would have probably won.

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