2011 could end up being a landmark year for UK politics. The Conservative Party has done the equivalent of walking on water by taking all the praise of the voters and none of the blame for their austerity policies.
Although the next 2 years will be crucial, the way the Tory vote has held up in England suggests they could ride the storm while demolishing the Liberal Democrats and while Labour tread water.
The destruction of the Liberal Democrats where they have come behind even the BNP in some seats has the affect that the left vote will be split and the Tories will ride high. One of the most interesting aspects of this election is the way the Liberal Democrats fortunes have reversed in such a way that other political parties are doing to them what the Liberal Democrats used to do to the Tories and Labour.
Whereas in years gone by the Liberal Democrats would play the two face card by taking votes from Labour in some seats and Tories in others. Now Labour have been taking seats from the Lib Dems while the Conservatives are taking seats from the Lib Dems in other seats. The nose dive of LibDem votes has lifted the Conservative Party not just to not lose too many seats, but to actually GAIN overall control of some councils. This is a remarkable outcome.
There is no doubt, that the whipping boys for the past 12 months policies, even though they are Tory lead has been taken by the Liberal Democrats.
David Cameron will be popping champaign tonight as his coalition partners are now in a weaker position and cannot afford to go to the country earlier than the 5 year term, and Labour’s vote is inherently weak. He couldn’t give a fig about the Tories being decimated in Scotland as he does not needthese seats to win national elections. Whereas Ed Miliband should be worried about the collapse of the Labour vote in Scotland, even though it is guess work how this would translate into UK wide elections.
The Nick Clegg question is one that the LibDems will have to consider. They have to radically change their strategy and criticise Tory policy much more and indeed distinguish exactly how they are moderating Tory policy. Some are calling for Nick Clegg’s head, but realistically could they survive a battle for the change in leader and keep the coalition going for another 4 years?
Nick Clegg has made a massive miscalculation with the way he has allowed the coalition to be portrayed. Whereas before the 2010 election Nick Clegg had the advantage of people thinking he was a different politician who could be trusted. that has now been lost, and there is no way he can regain that advantage.
Later, there is likely to be another devastating result with the AV referendum that will just add more demoralisation on the shoulders of Nick Clegg and his supporters.
If nothing else, David Cameron has proved to be a very astute politician and strategist. There is not doubt that the May 5th elections belong to David Cameron.