Thursday, 19 March 2015

Time for kippers to put on the big boy pants

If you look at Twitter today anyone would think the Tories had pulled off an economic miracle and times are booming. It's a bit of a stretch. By that same token things not bad and better than they were. The coalition has been the least dreadful government since John Major. At the very least, we can say it has avoided making anything manifestly worse - or at least no worse than we could have realistically expected.

The Sun, along with Dan Hodges, thinks lacklustre Labour has run out of steam, and The Daily Mail is all out for the Tories. Meanwhile, everyone is having a good snigger at the Lib Dem alternative budget today. As to the Greens, their latest coup is to recruit the stomach churning Jack Monroe. Unsurprisingly Ukip is absent. The only mention of Ukip is by Suzanne Moore of The Guardian where she has finally noticed that Ukip has pretty much fizzled out. 

Her analysis is surprisingly not far removed from my own in many respects. She, like me, gets a strong whiff of death around Ukip. "If Farage does not win South Thanet, and that’s a real possibility, then Ukip as we know it is finished. He will stand down as party leader. A politician such as Douglas Carswell will take over, a man who has interesting ideas on democracy but just doesn’t cut it in the populist stakes."

Of course readers of this blog know that Carswell doesn't have "interesting ideas on democracy", and has categorically ruled out becoming party leader. But Moore rightly concludes Carswell would be a lame duck, and the alternative could only be a less pleasant, more stupid version of Farage. But even if Farage wins, he is so unpopular with the country, and off the leash is becoming more unhinged all the time, Ukip will be lucky to tread water. As Moore remarks "What Ukip has done is push the Tories to the right and given a voice to many disaffected voters, but a political force grounded in disenfranchised resentment can only fizzle out when faced with the realities of governance."

Tuesday saw a YouGov poll putting Ukip on 12%, bouncing back to 14%, but back to 13% today, and the trend is down and down and down. Soon enough we will see a YouGov poll with Ukip falling back into single digits.

Looking at the landscape it's looking like the Tories are the only ones the game. The Greens have blown it, Ukip is becoming irrelevant and Labour has nothing going for it. The real mystery is whether the Lib Dems will be hit as badly as anyone expects. They still have some highly effective local campaigns on the go and some strong candidates but what we can say is that a repeat prescription of the LibCon coalition is out of the window, and the king-makers will be the SNP.

So there is a stark choice on the table, and it's nothing to do with an EU referendum. It is a question of whether the public is mature enough to accept (or not) that a shambolic hung parliament and a weak government is bad for business. There is no possible way the Tories could or should work with the SNP, and a coalition or cooperation agreement between Labour and the SNP would be just short of satanic.

Everyone needs to understand that anything short of a majority government will be a disaster. The SNP wants to defy the referendum result and break up the country. Labour wants to abolish the country entirely. So you can either vote Conservative and get an EU referendum thrown in, or you can sit bitching on the sidelines, throw your toys out of the pram and vote Ukip.

What we cannot afford is Miliband in Number 10. We couldn't afford Labour in 1997 and if we couldn't afford it then, we most certainly can't afford it now. It's time for Kippers to make the choice. What is more important? Survival of the nation or the parliamentary career of Nigel Farage? We're gearing up for a referendum on the EU, and it would be better if you dropped the cult and got ready for the fight that matters. Ukip isn't serious about winning an EU referendum but all of us at are deadly serious. We'll fight with or without you. But understand, you're not making it easy for us.

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