This week Has saw another broadside - this time from UKIP. For as long as time can remember there were three big parties (and really 2 main contenders) Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dem's. The introduction of Nigel Farage and UKIP is a serious and growing threat to the cosy arrangement at the top. The maverick party led by a maverick leader, have surprised everyone with their success - in Europe firstly with the majority of British MEP's in the last European election and now they have their first MP - After Tory Douglass Carswell switched parties to UKIP and successfully won the by-election with a whopping 12,000 majority. There are a number of key issues arising here:
- The UKIP vote is tearing at the Conservative party where Europe is a burning issue which has torn the party apart before
- Membership of the EU is a massive concern - especially in England. UKIP is based around the issue and the groundswell of opinion shows how important it is to voters. The Tories are having to be reactive to this - they have promised a referendum but is that enough to win them the next election
- The parties (Labour and Conservative) and the Lib Dems so low in the polls that potentially UKIP could shred the Tory vote and enable Labour to win OR they could potentially hold the balance and power and form a coalition - most likely with the Conservatives.
- The Lib Dems lost their deposit in the Clacton by election which is hugely embarrassing - particularly after their conference this week - It does not bode well for the election in May
- Scotland favour membership of the EU. How would this affect the UK constitutionally if the whole country (dominated by England) voted to leave the EU? It could lead to a constitutional crisis