Friday, November 16, 2012

Thanks to Jill Hope and how UKIP may help the Lib Dems

When she agreed to fight a by-election in Corby - a Conservative/Labour marginal with little history of Liberal Democrat activity - Jill Hope knew she was undertaking a thankless task. We owe her our thanks for doing so.

Like Neil Monnery I suspect UKIP's showing in Corby is encouraging for the Liberal Democrats. Neil believes UKIP will split the Conservative vote next time.

Maybe the mechanism is more subtle than that. The better UKIP does, the more large parts of David Cameron's party will be convinced that he failed to win the last election because he was too moderate.

So there will be pressure on Cameron to move to the right, and if he gives in to it this will open up the sensible middle ground for the Liberal Democrats to occupy.

Even if, as is quite possible, UKIP's support fades as the next general election approaches, they will have helped the Lib Dems in the years before then.


John Minard said...

What will eventually be a decade of recession, cuts and low growth will, regrettably, lead to a tendency towards extremism - which is the same as looking for excuses! It might not be the extremes of Germany in 1933 but I fear liberal, sensible, intellectual opinion and debate gets sidelined.

Durotrigan said...

It is certainly the case that UKIP will take considerable numbers of votes from the Conservatives in the Lib Dem bailiwick of the West Country at the next General Election, but the question is this: will UKIP take more votes from the Conservatives than the Lib Dems will lose because of public disillusion with the party? Today's results do not appear to deliver an encouraging message to the Liberal Democrats.