Based on over thirty years observing and working in elections, including sitting nervously in campaign war rooms waiting for election results to come in, and more years than is good for me in communications and campaigning, here for what it is worth is my early take on last night’s results
UKIP benefited from the classic mid term blues and absence of the LibDems as the protest vote vehicle. Whist they remain an issue for both Tories and Labour in terms of their disaffected voters, they are not a Parliamentary electoral force, not least because of our voting system. They wont win a single seat, but will screw with Tory, and some Labour, heads in close run seats. They will increasingly focus on immigration to cement in those disaffected voters. But Farage will melt down in the intense glare of media and political scrutiny in a general election campaign where people will be voting for him against the other main party leaders, not for a local representative to manage the street lights in Lower Bogwallup. Many currently disaffected Tories who may have a “give ‘em a bloody nose” flutter in a local mid term election will not want to see Miliband in No10 and will vote Tory again.
The Tories have not done as badly as they could have given the economy. But UKIP related panic is already opening up the schism that damages the Tories most – on Europe.
Labour did not do as well as they should have. Ed M is still not connecting with the entire core vote or the winnable middle as Blair did. Neither has he established a clear and distinct policy platform as Blair did and we all had handily printed on our “pledge cards”, or convinced that he is a statesman and leader.
The Lib-Dems are pretty screwed.
Likely outcome of the next election is either a Lib-Lab coalition or Lib-Tory coalition.
But given yesterday’s blog on pundits, I am only 50% likely to be right!