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Saturday, March 02, 2013

Eastleigh: the recriminations continue

Afrter the fairly traumatic week and a half that the Liberal Democrats have had, I hope I can be forgiven for looking at the tribulations of the other mainstream parties stemming from the result of the Eastleigh by-election.

Without a doubt it seems that it is Cameron who is in the most trouble. His party came third of course in a seat they should have won and already we can hear the knives being sharpened.

The Independent reports that Conservative MPs have rounded on their leader to demand a dramatic change of direction in his leadership amid fears about the growing threat posed by the UK Independence Party:

Mr Cameron and senior ministers insisted they had suffered from a mid-term "protest vote" that had boosted Ukip support but would melt away when the country went to the polls in 2015. They firmly dismissed suggestions that the Prime Minister would alter direction. But Michael Fabricant, the Tory vice-chairman in charge of parliamentary campaigning, said Ukip had evolved and no longer only appealed to people hostile to the European Union.

He said: "It also speaks to voters concerned about issues such as law and order, immigration, benefits and so forth.

"This has traditionally been the Conservative blue-collar vote which we are at risk of losing. We need to become better at communicating the work we are doing in so many areas to reflect the heartfelt views of British voters.” Mr Fabricant, who has previously called for an electoral pact with Ukip, added: “The Conservative Party needs to find itself a new voice that speaks with clarity to a sceptical and tired electorate.

“Unless we do that, and if Ukip is able to attract the finance and logistical skills it currently lacks to fight an effective general election campaign, then the dynamic of British politics might be changed for decades to come.”

Right-wingers protested that, under Mr Cameron, the party had lost its rapport with its natural supporters over such issues as Europe, immigration and gay marriage.

Stewart Jackson, who resigned as a ministerial aide over Europe, said: “He is out of touch with the party. Both gay marriage and EU migration feed into a narrative that too much emphasis is going to the liberal metropolitan elite and not enough to the blue-collar working vote Margaret Thatcher had the support of.”

There is also a backlash against Ed Miliband, whose party frankly should have done much better if it is to live up to its claim to represent the whole nation. The Telegraph says that one Labour MP described the outcome in the by-election as a “disaster” for his party and called for a new approach by Mr Miliband:

Austin Mitchell, a Labour MP, posted a Twitter message expressing worries about the by-election and suggesting Labour needs a new “nationalist” approach. 

He wrote: “Eastleigh disaster. Labour needs a nationalist appeal. The nation is being betrayed, weakened and sold down river. We sd say so”. Paul Richards, a former Labour adviser, said the party should be worried about the Eastleigh result. 

“Doing as well as we did in our second-worst-ever election defeat is not much consolation,” he wrote for the Progress think-tank. 

 “At the 1994 Eastleigh by-election, on the road to the landslide, Labour came second in Eastleigh, and the governing party came third. We were never going to win this time, but that there were no signs at all of a switch to Labour is a huge cause for concern.” 

After nearly three years in Government it is nice to see other parties suffering for a change.
Meanwhile on the 'home front'

-/> UK's manufacturing/export is going down the tubes ...

Exploit innovation or go the way of Greece... but hey, we are focused on recriminations ... while Rome is burning. So be it Britain.

More underemployment, more decline, less to spend on essential services... we can be like France or Spain or Greece or Italy, or we can be Great Britain. cw
Mr Cameron says his party wont lurch to the right after Eastleigh. What do you describe Teresa May and Chris Grayling pretending they want to rid us of the Human Rights act then. Backflipping to thre right?

Its just a ploy to stem the flood of their voters to UKIP they know that its a non starter but they rely on the voters not knowing that fact
If the Conservatives were seriously worried about UKIP splitting their vote, they would be joining LibDems and a few others in pressing for PR at the next election. ;-)

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