John O’Sullivan’s intelligent take in The Spectator on what has become the unsurprising UK election results is now four days old, and still slightly ahead of the news:
I think that the Tory leadership as a group forgot how to manage its “broad Church” coalition. They went from realizing that the base was insufficient for victory to believing that it was an obstacle to victory. In pursuing centrist voters they were insouciant about losing voters to their right. Their desire to demonstrate Tory support for public services led them to embrace Labour’s budgetary strategy until shortly after the roof fell in. And they tried only fitfully to integrate their new ideas into the party’s tradition and sense of itself. Not only did this approach drive some traditional conservatives into UKIP, but it also gave an impression of inauthenticity and even cynicism. It prevented the Tories from deriving any political benefit from Labour’s budgetary implosion. And it may even have prepared the ground for the Lib-Dem surge by validating their brand of politics in advance-but I concede that’s a stretch.