The real meaning of the Barnsley result

The BBC and the Today programme could barely conceal their delight about the Barnsley Central by election result,  gloating over the drop in the Lib Dem vote from 2nd to 6th place.  On this their coverage did not differ much from the rest of the media.  Indeed this was spectacular.  But it wasn’t the only spectacular thing about the result.  For the first time ever in a parliamentary election UKIP claimed second place, as the Tory vote plummeted.

This should give us pause.  It means that the Tories are leaking votes to the right, with UKIP, not the Greens, standing a real chance of being the leading protest party.  Come the General Election, the Tories should have little difficulty in clawing the votes back.  But that won’t stop their activists from panicking in the meantime.  That puts David Cameron in a tricky position.  His newly-acquired left-leaning voters offer the Lib Dems their best chance of clawing back lost ground; any moves to appease the UKIP tendency will simply drive these voters into their waiting arms.  Couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.

There is a second pause for thought.  If the Tories leak votes to the Lib Dems on the left and UKIP on the right, they will benefit much more from AV than conventional wisdom has it.  Unfortunately their supporters are probably too thick to understand this, on past performance, and so they will continue to campaign vigorously for a No vote.  Mr Cameron is clever enough to appreciate this, no doubt adding to his dilemma.

3 thoughts on “The real meaning of the Barnsley result”

  1. Thinking Liberal;
    “Mr Cameron is clever enough to appreciate this, no doubt adding to his dilemma.”
    The real meaning of the Barnsley result, UKIP claimed second place, as the Tory vote plummeted.
    No liblabcon referendum offer will be believed. Liblabcon now stand on a
    Pro EU policy against UKIP.
    Perhaps EU membership is not an election winner, it is however a significant vote winner.

  2. The Barnsley result is a disaster for the Lib-Dems – it shows that the party is massively losing the good will and support of the electorate, because the electorate no longer trusts the party or understands its motives. I find it somewhat ironic that the party got rid of Charles Kennedy for being slightly drunk and Menzies Campbell for being slightly old – yet the party, it appears will persist with Nick Clegg who’s crimes involve betraying the soul of the party.
    Can I urge you to examine the following blogsite where these and similar thoughts are aired and ventilated.

  3. Ray, the party’s members are its soul, and not people that merely voted for it. Many of the latter feel betrayed, it is true. But the members I have spoken to, with one or two exceptions, do not feel betrayed. The party is about achieving results, and that is what Nick Clegg is doing. The party must explain itself to the electorate, of course, but it has already achieved a lot more than it did under the two previous leaders.

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