The first week of May is an interesting week for elections in
Europe. The big one is the French Presidential
election, but also of interest are local elections in Britain and Greece. In Britain this was the first major
election since Conservatives with the help of a minor third party, the Liberal
Democrats, took over the government. The
results were about as expected when voters realize what they have done by
voting in Conservatives.
According to BBC projections, Labour will end up with a 38 per cent vote share ahead of the Tories’ 31 per cent and the Liberal Democrats’ 16 per cent. By Friday afternoon, Labour had gained 30 councils, the Tories had lost 12 and the Lib Dems were down one.
In what was a bruising night for the coalition parties, the Tories lost Great
Dudley, Plymouth and Harlow
to Labour. The Lib Dems had the worst set of results in its history, losing , a party
stronghold for more than a decade. Cambridge
By mid afternoon, with most polls declared in votes for about 180 local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland, the Conservatives had lost more than 380 seats – including some in the prime minister’s own constituency, while Labour had gained over 730 seats.
That minor party, the Liberal Democrats is suffering a total collapse of their support. This is because they largely abandoned their principles to gain a minor place in the coalition government, with the Conservative party actually running things. The Lib Dems were tossed a few bones for party leaders. Voters don’t like it when a party takes leave of its political philosophy just to get a small place in the ruling coalition. A similar situation is developing in Germany, with the junior coalition party in that government on the road to extinction.
For the Conservative Party in Britain, the message of the election is that things are just fine.
Both coalition parties dismissed the results as “predictable” for a midterm government. David Cameron said the country was living through “difficult times and there aren’t easy answers”.
“What we have to do is take the difficult decisions to deal with the debt, deficit and broken economy that we’ve inherited. We will go on making those decisions and we’ve got to do the right thing for our country,” he said.
William Hague, the Tory foreign secretary, said his own party’s losses were “well within the normal range” of what would be expected two years into a parliament.
No need to change policy old chap, just wait says the Foreign Secretary.
“In 2013 and 2014, people will see the economic benefits of what we are doing,” he told the BBC.
What the voters may really see, what the Conservative Party hopes they will see is that the opposition Labour Party is not all that great, and that its leader Ed Milibrand does not appear to be Prime Minister material. They need that, because any competent opposition would obliterate the Conservatives in the next election. So far the biggest thing, and maybe the only thing that Conservatives in
Britain have going for them is the
utterly ineptness of the opposition. And
yes, in most case that would be enough.