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Eastleigh: The Message for Call Me Dave on a night of UKIP Glory, Lib Dem Relief and Tory Humiliation

Tom Winnifrith
Friday 1 March 2013

The Lib Dems held on but UKIP was surging. A couple more days and UKIP would have snatched it. In the end it was wasted Tory votes that let the Lib Dems in as Call Me Dave’s party came third in what is his 40th target seat. Labour was always irrelevant here, its own disaster is not an issue.

The Lib Dems will be greatly relieved to have held onto what should be one of their safest seats albeit in very tough circumstances: Chris Huhne off to do porridge and the current sex scandal. For now Clegg hangs on but if he is shown to have lied about his knowledge in the sex pest cover up he may still face the chop. This is not the start of a Lib Dem recovery, Rennardgate may well still drag that party to Thorpe style lows.

UKIP is now coming second in both leafy southern towns like Eastleigh but also GMSH’s like Rotherham. There is a growing disgust with the entire political class and UKIP is the big winner from that. All the established parties should be worried but they are so arrogant and out of touch that the corrupt establishment will not change tack.

But the big losers right now are the Tories. As long as Call Me Dave stays as Tory leader it is only a matter of time before UKIP gains an MP in a freak by-election – that will I fear be the limit of its success for now. But the Tories are in trouble. UKIP picked up votes from all three parties but the Tories were the biggest losers. This was a humiliating night for David Cameron and for his whole team.

He will no doubt say it was a mid term protest. Or have it down as a single issue cry of anger on Europe and the EU. He is wrong. On a whole raft of issues Call Me Dave has shown himself as the heir to Blair not to Thatcher and those who should vote Tory are disgusted and have had enough and now have another credible home in UKIP. As I have noted before, if the Tories stand for no Tory principles who cares if they or Labour are in Government since it makes sod all difference.

As a social liberal I support gay marriage. Why shouldn’t they suffer like the rest of us? But to make it such a critical issue when the UK has so many problems pisses off me as much as it pisses off the traditional Tories who believe marriage is something for a man and a woman. And on a whole range of other core issues Call Me Dave, his wimpish sidekick George Osborne and his team of effete London based modernisers have quite simply failed: deficit reduction, welfare reform, shrinking the State, immigration, the EU, rolling back rather than increasing State surveillance powers, the real needs of the Countryside. I could go on for ages as the list of failures is a long one.

Call Me Dave has failed his party and his Country and shows no signs of changing course. If he offers a big state, elitist ( in a non meritocratic sense) social democrat agenda, real Conservatives will increasingly look to UKIP. Or at least in enough numbers to see Dave thrashed in 2015.

If only the Tories had voted for David Davis as their leader, there would have been no need for Nigel Farage.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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