Friday, 3 May 2013

Local Elections - It All Seems To Be Going As Expected.

As I write, the local election results are looking pretty much as predicted. David Cameron won't be too hurt by this, it could have been much worse for the Tories, in fact I thought it would be. Labour has held South Shields in yesterday's parliamentary by-election, as everybody assumed they would - they have had this seat since 1935 - but in the locals they are doing far worse than an opposition party should expect in mid-term.

The BNP appear to have bombed, confirming the general feeling that the party is on its last legs. A wipe-out in next year's Euro elections will be the death of the BNP. I predict that the party will end up like the National Front, which fielded over 300 candidates in the 1979 General Election, but now consists of a handful of people who wish they were in the UVF.

UKIP's performance has also been exactly as expected. A good share of the vote - as much as 26% according to the BBC - but not so many seats. This is not the big breakthrough that was being sold to the press, but for Nigel Farage that might be a bit of a relief. Success always fractures UKIP. It is a weakly led and dysfunctional party, and any political scientist will point to the inherent dangers there. In fact, going back to the BNP, their greatest success was to have 2 MEPs elected in 2009, and it was not long before one of them split off to form his own party, and for the BNP to enter into terminal decline. For UKIP to really emerge as a force, the breakthrough needs to come under new leadership. Having one of your candidates Heiling Hitler on the front page of the Daily Mirror was probably not a good idea either, but the smear campaign came too late to make a difference. Such tactics should be deployed 2-3 weeks before the election in order to have any impact. I am starting to wonder if David Cameron employs advisers at all.... The spectacle of the British Prime Minister reacting to the antics of a company of clowns has not done the image of our country any good at all. Give Vauxhall Cross a call, Mr Cameron, you are the Prime Minister, you know.

The Greens also appear to have fared badly. Caroline Lucas' appalling performance on Sunday Politics last weekend gave us an insight into how fey the party has become, which is a shame, but all part of evolution. The Greens forced environmental issues onto centre stage, and the three main parties ignore the green lobby at their peril. But the Greens have done their job - it is time for them to either find a new constituency, as Ms. Lucas has done in Brighton, or to disperse and join other parties where they can broaden and deepen the issues.

So down here at the bottom with the far-right and the far-gone, it is appropriate to mention the Lib-Dems, who at least some of us remember. Please e-mail me if you can see the point of the Lib Dems, because I'm sure that I can't.

British politics are in a state of flux at the moment, and it is an interesting time. However, when the sands stop shifting and the dust settles, the landscape will be as it always was - as every Englishman knows, change is good, but no change is better.

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