They may be claiming Eastleigh as a great victory, and who can blame them? But the truth is that the Lib Dems lost 14% of their vote, compared to the 2010 election, which was exactly the same as the percentage of votes that the Conservatives lost. The fact that Labour attracted pretty much none of these lost votes doesn’t say much about their prospects, either. Essentially, Eastleigh was a protest vote against both the coalition government and its opposition.
Yet while I can understand frustrated Conservative voters turning to Ukip, it’s pretty strange, all that switching from the most pro-European party to one that exists to get Britain out of the union. One can only assume that large numbers of people – in Eastleigh anyway – are simply voting against a mainstream of which the Lib Dems have become a part. Basically, a lot of people in Eastleigh made a protest vote against parliament.
Eastleigh illustrates that, despite all their talk of rejecting the “old politics” prior to the last election, Nick Clegg‘s party has firmly established itself as an integral part of the “old politics” – part of the problem, not the solution. Not such a victory, after all.
Eastleigh: a hollow victory for Lib Dems – The Guardian
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