Cry UKIP and let slip the shire councillors
The coalition government parties took a beating and UKIP surged to new heights in Thursday’s council elections. UKIP leader Nigel Faragre hailed the election result as a game changer in British politics.
UKIP became the attention grabbers both before and after the elections. They made a great leap in the contested councils, from 8 to 147 councillors and averaged 25% of the vote.
As most of the councils contested was controlled by the Tories, and included important Conservative bastions like the home counties, Norfolk and Lincolnshire, I was seen as a test of Cameron’s grip on voters likely to vote conservative. Most predictions had the Tories lose more than 300 seats, and with a total loss of 335 seats, it could have been worse for them.
Of the 10 County Councils the Conservatives lost, 2 were taken by Labour and 8 are now without a overall majority. With the influx of many fresh UKIP councillors, it will be interesting to observe how the political horse trading plays out in these councils.
Bad results were predicted for the Conservatives, but they still cause internal grumbling, but more importantly, UKIP is no longer laughed at. Home Secretary Theresa May said after the election that the Tories could win back voters who had defected to UKIP and learn important lessons from the election.
Education minister Micheal Gove insisted it would be “bonkerooney” to outs Cameron. He said that replacing the party leader would not solve the problems for the Conservatives. He is right in that it is no miracle cure, they face complex issues and more than a face lift is needed.
The election was good news for Labour, but not good enough. Milibands troops gained 268 seats in the contested council wards, but only 29% of the projected national vote. Labour are struggling with their own mid-term blues it seems. Party leadership ahs come under fire from both left and right for not putting forward a clear vision for what it wants for Britain. On a positive side Labour made important gains in 46 seats they are targeting in 2015.
Labour suffers from being overshadowed by UKIP as the party of opposition. The party leadership has indeed been week in standing up against the government and carving out their own political space. Victory in 2015 will not be handed to them by just surfing the wave of anger against the government. UKIP has spoken with a clear voice in many issues, the public wants action, not waffle.
If the vote projections from the BBC holds until 2015, four party politics might rock the boat in Westminster and parliament might be more hung than ever. The many limits of the first past the post British two-party system will become ever so obvious in such a situation.
One thing is certain, UKIP is now a serious political force in Britain, the clowns are in.