Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Fragility of Conservative vote

One of the most significant lessons for the Conservative party from the European election is that it showed the Conservative baseline vote: 27%. This is woefully, woefully short of a majority or even the current level of minority. People did not 'lend' UKIP their vote: they voted UKIP because the Conservative policy on Europe is weak and they want out of Europe.

Our refusal to accept a referendum on membership of the EU is as poor as the Liberal Democrat's refusal to accept a referendum on Lisbon. We should offer a simultaneous referendum on both subjects, campaigning for a "yes" vote to stay in the EU, and a "no" vote on Lisbon. At a stroke, this would go a long way to eliminating the UKIP vote at the next election. It would also highlight that we are not anti-EU which campaigning purely on Lisbon would suggest.

This would not divide the Tory party. It could be presented as a free vote to all but the Conservative front bench. It would cross party lines just as other European votes have done. Announce it, announce it now. Do it quickly after the next election to heal any potential rifts it may cause. It is the single biggest thing my party could do to ensure victory at the next election.

Friday, 5 June 2009


I'm genuinely intrigued. What actually went through the mind of someone that turned out to vote Labour yesterday? "Oh well - a few national challenges - presentational issues with Brown sure - party of the working man though - basically sound - certainly want them in Government - done a good job on the economy - unemployment's the big killer that's what I care about...." oh, er scratch the last point.

It's not that Labour had a bad election that surprises me, it's that anyone, ANYONE, actually thought "yep, good guys, they're the ones for me."

Maybe there are just some really strong local Labour councillors around whose local effectiveness outweighs the utter car crash of the Labour government. I sort of hope so to restore my faith in the universal franchise.

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

UKIP and General Election

It's occurred to me that UKIP must be really torn about wanting an early General Election.

If a General Election occurs before the Irish ratify the EU Constitution in the scandalous 'you got it wrong first time try again' re-referendum then the EU Constitution is dead. Assuming the Tories form the next Government then they will have a UK referendum, it will reject the constitution. But if UKIP stand in an early General Election then they will take votes from the Tories and risk a hung Parliament. An early General Election effectively forces UKIP - if they are principled about their convictions - to support the Tories strongly.

Of course, they may not be principled and may stand against the Tories in an early General Election. This will show them in their true colours: as politicians not principlians (to coin a word).