The Corner

A Beastleigh Result for the Tories

Well, that special election did not go at all well for Cameron’s Conservatives — well played, UKIP!

At the 2010  general election, the U.K. Independence party took 4 percent of the vote. Last night the euroskeptic party took 27.8 percent, edging the Conservatives into third place. Even if we allow for the tendency of British voters to use special elections to make a point, it was a remarkable result (and, incidentally, about more than just “Europe”), and it was very ominous indeed for the Tories.

Iain Martin writes:

Britain is another step closer to getting a Europhile government after 2015, in the shape of a Lab/Lib coalition or outright Labour majority. As I pointed out before the result The centre-Right being divided is calamitous for David Cameron and his party. Ukip only needs to get five or six per cent in a general election to cause chaos. This was all pretty predictable from the moment the Tory modernisers made their elementary strategic error. They forgot that first you should attempt to lock in and secure your core, and then build out support from there. In contrast, the Tory leadership’s strategy of the last three years – involving an incoherent, botched general election campaign and assault after assault on their own voters – has been disastrous.

James Delingpole:

Out here in the real world, however, we voters see the bigger picture: our countryside is being trashed to no purpose whatsoever with subsidised wind and solar farms; our energy bills are shooting up; our economy is tanking…[and on the EU]… all I’ve seen is the principle-free manoeuvring of a cynical politician who wanted to do just enough to try to fob off Ukip better-off-outers while guaranteeing that if and when Britain does finally, grudgingly get her referendum, the result is that we come out STILL shackled to the corpse.

Yup, the referendum ploy was too little, too slow, and too implausible. With the EU’s oligarchs now making less and less of a secret of their disdain for Britain, Cameron has now been given an ideal political opening to try something a great deal tougher, and a great deal more convincing. He will not take it.

Dan Hannan sees disaster ahead:

Imagine Eastleigh being replicated in 100 constituencies at the 2015 general election. Or in just 50. Yet again, the first-past-the-post system would see an essentially Eurosceptic electorate return an essentially Euro-integrationist House of Commons. Our best opportunity for an In/Out referendum would be lost. The Left would be back, emptying our Treasury all over again…. We all know how it will end: bankruptcy, an IMF bailout, a collapse in national morale and absorption into a European polity.

Remind me again why Mr. Cameron was meant to be some sort of example for the GOP.


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