Friday, March 4, 2011

Time to stop laughing

Though it is rather difficult to do so. I don't know which is funnier, watching the Lib-Dims rubbing their collective behind where they were kicked soundly yet again, while insisting that somehow they have enough popular support to be in government or watching the Tories burying their collective heads in the sand yet again. Of course, they were not going to win in Barnsley. But to come third behind UKIP is not quite what the Boy-King had promised them. Given that it is UKIP that came second, it is reasonable to say that the voting was not just about student loans or possible cuts in the bloated NHS.

Nevertheless, it is time to stop laughing. The results are bad for the Cleggerons but not that good for the rest of us. First of all, as ever, over 60 per cent stayed away from the polling booths, saying, in effect, a plague upon all your houses. By all, they meant all, even the small parties. I find it hard to understand that people prefer not to cast their votes at all to casting them for a non-main stream party but that is the situation and it is not a happy one. If we ever have that in/out referendum (not under this government but it might happen one day) how many people will decide that they can't be bothered to cast their vote?

Secondly, UKIP did well but not quite well enough. It got 2,953 votes and as an American friend and supporter said to me, the gap between that and Labour's 14,724 is just too depressing. Not unexpected for Barnsley, I replied, without adding that a three-legged stool with a red rosette would win there.

However, coming a distant second in a by-election and even being, possibly, the biggest party in Brussels in 2014 as Ed West says in today's Telegraph is not enough to make a real difference either to the political structure of this country or to introduce a real debate about freedom, democracy and sovereignty. We have a long way to go and campaigns for a referendum that we might or might not win is not the right way. Neither is a change to the AV system.


  1. And the reason Helen for the big gap twixt first and second is that UKIP just has not got its act together! That they could only muster nearly 3000 votes, even on a low turnout, just illustrates that.

  2. So they (and we) need to think very carefully about the reason why. Or the several reasons why.