Have the Tories lost Eastleigh?

The most important by-election in a generation pits the government parties against each other

23 February 2013

Monday morning. Grant Shapps, the enthusiastic Tory party chairman, is sitting in a people-carrier, putting the final touches to a scathing press release attacking his Cabinet colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister.

Press release dispatched, Shapps gets out of the car and embraces his candidate, Maria Hutchings, and the pair set off to canvass. On this sunny morning, Shapps and Hutchings are followed by a large number of photo-graphers, a couple of journalists, a few press officers and a camera-wielding Tory MP. The only problem is there’s hardly anybody home, so it is the retired who are bearing the brunt of this manic campaign war.

Shapps and Hutchings go from house to house with no luck. Then, success! Somebody is in. The door opens, the flashbulbs pop and a startled resident emits a panicked shriek and covers her face. Next up is an elderly lady who opens the door in her dressing gown at midday only to find the nation’s media staring at her.

Later that afternoon I watch another irritated pensioner complain to the bemused Liberal Democrat candidate, Mike Thornton, that he has disturbed her nap. Luckily, the septuagenarian former Lib Dem leader Ming Campbell, a man who appears to appreciate the importance of an afternoon sleep, is on hand to smooth things over.

Eastleigh may look like a peaceful place, but behind the scenes a nasty skirmish is taking place. Those former rose-garden lovebirds, Cameron and Clegg, are locked in battle and there can only be one winner. There can be no coalition compromise here.

All the bigwigs are in town, from left and right, because Eastleigh is the most important by-election for 30 years. Not since the emergence of the SDP in the early 1980s as a serious political force has a by-election threatened to have such far-reaching political consequences. That’s why you’ll find the Prime Minister’s political secretary not in Downing Street, but behind a desk in a sparse office building opposite Eastleigh station.


It matters because it is a test — or will be seen by each party as a test — of both David Cameron and Nick Clegg’s strategies for the next election. No. 10 has consoled Tory MPs who resent coalition by saying it will enable them to win back the seats they’ve lost to the pesky yellows. Being in government, so the theory goes, will put an end to the tactical voting that lets Lib Dems take over traditionally Tory constituencies. And half of the constituencies the Tories are targeting at the next election to get a majority are held by the Lib Dems.

So Eastleigh is crucial. If the Tories can’t win here in these circumstances, it’ll be clear that they’re not going to take those seats off the Liberal Democrats in 2015. It’ll alert the party to the reality that if it is in government after the next election, it’ll be as part of another coalition. This will not improve the mood among restless Tory backbenchers.

For Clegg, it is a chance to show that the dire national polls mean nothing for 2015. Lib Dems claim that they are so firmly established in their redoubts that they’ll survive the national swing, and Eastleigh, where they have every councillor, is an extreme example. If they lose here, they could lose everywhere. Defeat would put Clegg’s leadership back on the critical list just ten days before his party’s spring conference. But victory would be the biggest boost to him since he entered the coalition.

The Prime Minister’s and Deputy Prime Minister’s proxies in Eastleigh are polar opposites. The Tory candidate Maria Hutchings is disarmingly open and keen to talk about her four children, two of whom are disabled. She was a member of the Labour party, albeit briefly, in her twenties, and even after a long conversation I’d struggle to place her on the Tory ideological spectrum. Her calling card is a combination of local issues — against the gravel pit and building on green fields — and national ones, warning that the Liberal Democrats are stopping the Tories from doing what they need to on immigration, welfare and Europe.

The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton has been picked for his blandness. ‘Isn’t our candidate wonderfully dull?’ says one Clegg aide. On the doorstep, his pitch is that the Liberal Democrats are cutting income tax and, second, that he’s local. The immigration issue has been got up by the national press, he says, and Ukip is trying to use it to scare people.

The Liberal Democrats’ local advantage looks like it will be decisive, though. While the Tories are knocking on doors trying to find supporters, the Lib Dems know precisely where their electors are. As Thornton and Ming Campbell march down the street, a clipboard-wielding activist bounces along beside them shouting out which house to go to and the name of who lives there. They have a laser-like focus on their own support base: it is a get-out-the-vote strategy. The ringmaster is thoroughly irritated by Sir Ming’s habit of setting off down every garden path.

Most Tories involved in the Eastleigh campaign are reluctantly coming to the conclusion that the Liberal Democrat ground operation will carry the day and they are already preparing excuses: ‘We’re trying to overturn 20 years of grass-roots campaigning in two weeks.’ One senior figure in the campaign estimates that they have, at best, a 33 per cent chance of winning. On a big post-it note in Lib Dem HQ, volunteers write why they have come down to help out. One message stands out, ‘Because Eastleigh is ours’.

As the two coalition parties scrap it out, Labour have failed to take off. Their candidate, the comedian John O’Farrell, is being monstered locally for saying he had hoped that Margaret Thatcher had been killed in the Brighton bomb. But one party is surging, Ukip. Eastleigh town centre is a little piece of the de-industrialised north in Hampshire, and the Ukip message is resonating with the abandoned working-class voters there. In the more prosperous parts of the constituency, they are picking up some old Lib Dem protest votes and playing on concerns about Cameron’s soundness.

Both coalition parties privately expect Ukip to come third. It has become the new ‘up yours’ party. I saw kids on half term taunt the establishment with shouts of ‘Voting Ukip!’ To the party’s delight, a couple of Thornton’s neighbours have requested the largest posters that can be provided.

Ukip’s shop in the town centre, plastered with anti-EU newspaper articles alongside posters bearing words such as ‘disgraceful’, is doing a roaring trade. Its candidate, Diane James, brings everything back to Europe with some panache. She insists that the new housing development, controversial in the constituency, is needed because of immigration, which is a result of free movement within the EU. The party’s campaign organisers claim that this is the best reception they have had in a by-election.

The Eastleigh by-election will be a moment of political significance. But it is being fought largely over local issues, not national ones. Our politics has responded to five years of crisis by becoming ever smaller.

Barring some last-minute development, the Liberal Democrats will win here. Their hyper-local campaigning will trump their national unpopularity. It promises to be a cruel spring for David Cameron.

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  • angelleb

    Housing costs have only 2 main factors – SUPPLY and DEMAND.

    SUPPLY of rental accommodation and the number of people looking for rental accommodation (DEMAND). The supply of rental housing is nothing the government can really do anything about as its too far in debt to build houses.

    But when the population increases by 5 million purely from legal and illegal immigration then the demand outstrips supply which is why we have the unbelievable situation of rising house prices as well as rising rental prices during a recession/depression – this is UNPRECEDENTED.

    How can you have property prices going up during a double/triple dip recession? Well because the bottom of the property ladder is being held up by property investors who can see the good returns from renting out cheap houses to people on low incomes.

    The only way to stop rising rent prices is to hold back UNCONTROLLED MASS immigration and allow housing numbers to catch up through private house building until such a time as there are houses for immigrants to move into.

    At the moment there are too many immigrants taking cash in hand jobs for less than the minimum wage and they make it work by living 10 to house. Do you think this is a good way for people in country to be living?

    While it is true that Margaret Thatcher shouldn’t have started the sell off of council houses, even the stock of council housing in the 80s couldn’t have housed a fraction of the demand for social housing at the moment.

    While we are in the EU we can’t control our borders, lets put a stop to MASS immigration until we have caught up on housing who is already here and also provided the necessary health care and schools for them.

    Vote UKIP

    • http://twitter.com/doggywoggydooda doggywoggy

      Factor into that the insane lending policies since 2001 allowing demand to be met through insane prices, pricing all but the middle and upper classes off the housing ladder, but allowing former labour MP’s to have become millionaires through property speculation paid for from their expenses. Labour have perverted the housing market, ensuring that it favours the rich and the private landlords.

      The tories and liberals are doing nothing to change that or make the housing market work for the younger members of the aspirational working classes too, as it used to do.

      Vote UKIP.

      • HooksLaw

        So how do you change the housing market. Interest rates are at the moment 0.5%

        • Daniel Maris

          We should have a much bigger co-operative sector as in much of Europe. In Norway for instance housing co-operatives are v. common.

          The governement should back the creation of housing co-operatives that build properties and provide homes for people without having to find huge deposits.

    • LEngland

      Of course we control OUR borders. WE are the EU’s paymasters and if they don’t like us putting a stop to their nasty game then TOUGH. We can stop, anytime, the £20bn per annum GIFTAID that we crawl on our knees begging them to take from us and then we can watch the Eurocretins squirm. 1302211606EastleighSpJasForsyth

    • andagain

      The supply of rental housing is nothing the government can really do anything about as its too far in debt to build houses.

      It is not too far in debt to liberalise the planning system.

      • angelleb

        Are you saying we should liberalise the planning system so that the green belt can be concreted over?

        Having a beautiful, unspoilt coutryside that is free of buildings littered all over it is one of the defining characteristics of Britain, visitors from other countries marvel at it and you want to erase it?

        • andagain

          I said that the government can afford to let people build houses.

          It is not true to say that we cannot afford to build new houses.

          And incidently, there already are houses in the countryside – although I do not know one single person who can afford to buy one of them. It is a question of priorities. You can allow people to build houses on some monocultured farmland, or you can have people required to pay extortionate rents. You would prefer the second of those options. Fine – but it is a choice.

          • angelleb

            I know that there is the odd farmhouse dotted around the countryside but it the British countryside is a rare resource that should be left unspoilt for future generations. Foreign tourists think highly of it as well as the majority of British people.

            There are 700,000 empty properties in the UK that with a lot of investment could help house those already here but you want to increase the population of this country through immigration and destroy the countryside?

          • Daniel Maris

            Well said angelleb.

            A. Mass immigration is the real cause of our housing crisis.

            B. The solution is not to concrete over our green and pleasant land.

            C. Given we are where we are, we should look to provide (really) affordable housing within existing urban areas. I read recently of a scheme in East London making use of disused garages to provide perfectly pleasant bedsits for young people at about £11,000 per unit. That’s the sort of thing we should be looking at. We should also charge levies on all new immigrants to fund new housing.

            D. We should also consider creating new land as the Dutch have done. We can then build on that new land.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrs.quin Chrs Quin

    Time for tactical voting from Eastleigh Labour and Tory voters to stop the Yellow Peril.

    Vote UKIP !

    • http://twitter.com/TheRedBladder The Red Bladder

      Asking both Labour and Conservative supporters to voted tactically for a third party? Novel, at least and which, if a huge success, might save their deposit.

  • Hoot_Gibson

    James you need to brush up on your geography.

    You say” . Eastleigh town centre is a little piece of the de-industrialised north
    in Hampshire.”

    The Eastleigh Borough incorporates Netley on the banks of Southampton waters, the main town is just part of the Southampton conurbation.

    It is therefore a coastal town per se .

    Farnborough and Aldershot both in Hampshire are just some 37 miles from London and are geographically firmly in the North Hampshire domain Eastleigh certainly is not.

    • AnotherDaveB

      Both Southampton and Eastleigh are in Hampshire, the finest county in the land!


    • Disgusted

      He didn’t say north of Hampshire, he was comparing it to the deindustrialised north of England. There never was any industry in the north of Hampshire

      • Hoot_Gibson

        Sorry you are so wrong Basingstoke for example had Thornycrofts and Lansing Bagnell at one time both the largest manufacturers of tank transporters and fork lift trucks in the UK I know I worked at them both
        When I moved to Basingstoke it was a vibrant manufacturing town and also included ITT and Lennox Industries at the time the largest manufactures of air conditioning and warm air units in the UK.
        Never forget facts not opinions are sacred

  • Vulture

    Only one thing can save the Tories : defenestrate Dave.

    I’ve just read Paul Routledge’s biography of Airey Neave – Chapter 10 on how he rid the party of Heath is a masterclass. I’m thinking of sending it to Graham Brady of the 1922 committee to give him a few ideas, because unless the party wields the knife they’re doomed.

    Until that happy day UKIP are the only hope. And before Hookie appears saying a UKIP vote is a vote for Labour : we know. But Cameron and his clique need to be cleared away before a new start is made.

    Feb 28th, polling day in Eastleigh, is the anniversary of the 1974 election that saw the beginning of Heath’s downfall. Let’s hope it does the same for Heath Mark II.

    • http://twitter.com/doggywoggydooda doggywoggy

      We know that labour are no different from the tories under Dave anyway, so what does it matter which Pro-EU, Pro PC, Pro climate alarmist, Pro high tax, pro high borrow party wins? If ANY of them win, WE, the people, LOSE.

      By voting for ANY of the main parliamentary parties, you are voting for a continuation of the last 15 years of New Labour corporatism, regardless of the colour of the rosette.

      I cannot vote for more of the same old corrupt and incompetent status quo from the same old parties. They have all had a go at being in power over the last 5 years and they have all FAILED in exactly the same way.

      I am voting UKIP.

    • LEngland

      Shatter BOTH heads of that wretched hydra.

  • vvputout

    Some research into where UKIP, which will come third, will have got its votes from will be required.

    I suspect up to one third from former Labour voters.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Andrew-Smith/1386738275 Andrew Smith

    I was surprised how many residents were at home when I was out canvassing for UKIP. The responses on the door step suggest a strong UKIP result, but it is still too late to be complacent.

    What pleased me more than anything was the way even those who intended to vote another way than UKIP were pleased to meet us and discuss issues. Years ago as a Conservative and for several years as a UKIP candidate I found reluctance among opponents.

    UKIP seem to be thought of fondly even by many voters for other parties.

    • Angloafricanaustrian

      A very simple reason : UKIP represents working class Britain, whether in-work, out of work, or retired from work. The other parties represent the wont-works, the on-benefits, the we-want- benefits, and the socialist state employees. And the penny is finally dropping. Voters : please don’t fall for the ‘don’t split the vote nonsense’.
      At the heart of democracy is voting for whom we want, not for whom we don’t want.

      • http://twitter.com/leonc1963 LeonC

        Your reply makes no sense at all, you say UKIP represents the working class yet in another breath you say the other parties represent the wont-works, the on-benefits, the we-want- benefits, and the socialist state employees. You saying the working classes don’t claim benefits? or more to the point those not working don’t

        • Angloafricanaustrian

          My apologies. Please put the emphasis on ‘working class’, giving the term it’s literal meaning, ie hard working, responsible wage earners and payers of the taxes that pay for the benefits. Clear as day now?


          LeonC wrote, in response to Angloafricanaustrian:

          Your reply makes no sense at all, you say UKIP represents the working class yet in another breath you say the other parties represent the wont-works, the on-benefits, the we-want- benefits, and the socialist state employees. You saying the working classes don’t claim benefits? or more to the point those not working don’t
          User’s website
          Link to comment

        • http://twitter.com/doggywoggydooda doggywoggy

          The point is, if you work and do not need to claim benefits (even if you are entitled) and especially if you still believe in the work ethic, then UKIP is the party for you.

          I was entitled to working families tax-credits, but I am opposed to labour’s dragging more and more people into state benefits, especially if they work, so I never claimed them. I would have felt like a hypocrite to oppose that policy and still have my hand in the cookie jar.

          We need a system of taxation and benefits in this country which is MUCH simpler and means that those who work, and are low paid, do not pay any tax at all. Those who cannot work, or are temporarily out of work, receive benefits according to their NEED.

          People who do not NEED benefits, should not receive benefits.

          People should be self-reliant as much as possible.

          We have a situation in this country where we tax people too much if they work, and use that money to pay people to NOT work. That is economic insanity.

    • Boudicca_Icenii

      I got the same reaction when I was out canvassing for UKIP. There was no hostility and genuine interest in our policies “beyond the EU.”
      Back again this weekend.

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.hudson.503 Linda Hudson

    U.K.I.P. The Last Bastion, and the last hope for Britain!

  • hereward

    Come on Eastleigh . Give the LibLabCon EU scum Party a bloody nose . Vote UKIP .

  • Austin Barry

    It will be very cheering to see UKIP disabuse our craven political elite that somehow an average ‘Question Time’ audience, pious, sanctimonious and disturbingly bonkers -slashing at its wrists in cultural suicide – represents the electorate.

    People are simply tired of our self-hating elite grinding them down.

  • philgcdr

    Vote UKIP.org for UK sovereignty.

  • Angloafricanaustrian

    Immigrants from the EU, whether legal or illegal, will continue come to Britain in increasing numbers, either for our jobs or for free (for them) benefits such as unemployment allowances, free health services, free housing, child benefits, etc. Irrefutable logic. Only UKIP has pledged to stop it. Either vote UKIP or vote socialist.

    • http://twitter.com/doggywoggydooda doggywoggy

      None of the three main parliamentary parties are socialist. They are all much worse than that. They are a mongrel mix of socialism and corporatism, which takes the best of both for the elite and imposes the worst of both on the rest of us. This mix is called Corporatism, where profits are generated through cartelism and privatised, and losses are socialised and dumped onto the tax-payers.

      • Colonel Mustard

        Corporatism doesn’t really express it adequately though. We need a new term for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Stone/100000643664896 Max Stone


    • Robofish

      Just FYI: the last British troops in Iraq came home in May 2011.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Stone/100000643664896 Max Stone

        And if you believe that you must be a lib dem. VOTE UKIP.

      • HooksLaw

        Its pretty clear isn’t it, from all the howling at the moon, that UKIP supporters ARE a racist bunch. The polite face of the BNP.

  • AnotherDaveB

    “On a big post-it note in Lib Dem HQ, volunteers write why they have come down to help out.”

    You’d think “for the money” would be on the list somewhere.


  • AnotherDaveB

    It’s remarkable how quick the Cameroons are to concede battles as un-winnable. Wimps.

  • Douglas Oliver

    One thing though: given Hutchings’ fairly extreme brand of political philosophy, surely DC would actually prefer the Liberal Democrat in Eastleigh. In the short term, certainly, it will be a “Cruel Spring” having to deal with an increasingly restive Tory Party, but in the long-term, the politics of the Coalition (optimistic,interested in dealing with the deficit, pro personal freedoms like gay marriage etc) would hardly be well served by a Conservative win in this particular contest. Cameron would surely like another coalition after 2015, I’m sure the thought of leading a small majority fills him with dread.

    • AnotherDaveB

      Mrs Hutchings was an ‘a list’ candidate. So she was hand picked by Mr Cameron.

  • AnotherDaveB

    Tim Montgomerie is rather more upbeat:

    “…We are getting our leaflets out, the leaflets carry targeted messages for different parts of the constituency and the operation has completed a full canvass.”


    • Smithersjones2013

      But Montgomerie says nothing of how he actually feels the campaign is going. That omission is the most telling……

      • AnotherDaveB

        Because, like everyone else, he doesn’t know. All the waffle you read about this being a sure-fire LD hold is baseless. There have been two polls published, the Conservatives led one, the LDs the other.

        • Smithersjones2013

          Those campaigning get a sense of whats happening on the ground. If the Tories were in with a real chance they would be far more enthusiastic in trying to rally the troops. The likes of Montgomerie would be shouting it from the roof tops that every additional campaigner could make the difference. Like with Crewe he would be organising minibuses of activists to go and help. But he isn’t saying anything of the sort. He doesn’t mention at all how its going but rather speculates on what the rationale for the campaign was (and a highly defensive rationale at that) which suggests to me it can only be going badly.

          As for the LD waffle if it was only from LDs that it was emanating I would agree it was just their usual ramping propaganda. But its not. The omens do not look good for the Tories.

  • Bert3000

    The tories are going to lose in Eastleigh because they’ve put in a tea party loon candidate whose unelectable. There is a theory going round that it’s been done deliberately, to demonstrate what an electable liability the loony right are.

    UKIP will come nowhere. They don’t represent anyone except a minute group of rather nasty bigots.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Stone/100000643664896 Max Stone

      LEFT WING LOONIES LIKE YOU ARE THE REASON OUR ONCE GREAT COUNTRY HAS GONE TO THE TOILET. Multiculturalism, open door immigration, ‘know your entitlement’ benefit leaflets printed in 40 languages – can’t you see they’re laughing all the way to the bank? Only UKIP will stop the madness of letting floods of immigrants bankrupt us and destroy our culture. NO TO IMMIGRATION, NO TO EUROPE. VOTE UKIP.

    • Smithersjones2013

      You lefties with your childish smears really are pathetic. You do realise that UKIP coming nowhere will still likely be ahead of Labour who are increasingly toxicly unelectable in the Home Counties and wider south. Outside London all Labour could muster in the whole of the south in 2010 was 10 measly MPs. That is truly abysmal even compared to the Tories in the north.

      PS And UKIP is rising almost as much as a result of the working classes that Labour deserted with Blair’s clause IV moment as it is on the little platoons conservatives that Cameron’s has deserted through his ‘vested interest’ liberal delerium.

  • Simon Semere

    UKIP would bring this country back to the middle ages if it were to ever govern, that’s probably why all the excitement

    • Ashley Johnson

      Do you care to explain your rather outlandish claim?

    • Smithersjones2013

      What a ridiculous and infantile comment. And they say UKIP is the party of fruitcakes and nutters!

      • Simon Semere

        fruitcakes? UKIP voted against same-sex marriage!

        • Smithersjones2013

          UKIP didn’t ‘vote’ against anything. However, they do oppose same-sex marriage as does a majority of the Conservative MPs, parts of the Labour and Liberal Democratic party and large proportions of the religious community.

          Despite all the spiteful smearing, bigotry and irrationality of those in favour of gay marriage that is a valid position and has justification. Particularly given the questionable nature of the integrity of what is on offer as a supposedly ‘equal’ form of marriage for gays.

          • Simon Semere

            Whether or not UKIP can justify opposing same-sex marriage or not, they have other policies that would flush this country’s economy down the toilet.

        • authentic8

          UKIP support the status quo because they ssee no reason for the time- and expense-wasting by changing existing marriage laws which already provide equal rights for gays. This is different to opposing same-sex marriage.

          UKIP also didn’t “vote” against same-sex marriage as they have no MPs.

  • James


    Am I doing it right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Stone/100000643664896 Max Stone

      Absolutely James. Go to parts of London and we’re now the minorities and mosques outnumber churches. Only UKIP will ban the muslim burqua and only UKIP have a moratorium to stop immigration 100% (initially for 5 years then we’ll review) and to start sending home those here who offer nothing our great nation needs.

      It’s time we started putting our own people first for a change. PUT THE GREAT BACK INTO BRITAIN. NO TO IMMIGRATION, NO TO EUROPE. VOTE UKIP.

    • HooksLaw

      missed out IMMIGRANTS!!!!!!

  • CraigStrachan

    No, I don’t think the Tories are due to lose Eastleigh until next Thursday.

  • Caenea

    A lot of UKIP members on here tonight. Thought they would be at home sharpening their pencils for the week ahead in Eastleigh!

  • HooksLaw

    Both tories and LDs are mid term and unpopular. So both may well lose votes to their respective ‘protest’ alternatives.
    For the LDs this could be greens and labour. For the tories it could be UKIP. And its further complicated because UKIP may attract labour voters as well.

    The question is who is likely to lose least? The LDs are in possession and could afford to lose more and still hold the seat.

    The tories might have helped themselves more by choosing some charismatic by election figure rather than a more faceless and not political savvy one who might have got away with it in a general election. If they do not do well that will probably be the explanation given.

    If labour do not pick up any significant votes it won’t be good for them so all 3 parties are on trial.

  • charliegrove

    It must kill UKiP to know that their entire premise is a lie. Little details like European migration being net emigration FROM the Uk to the other member states are unimportant in their web of lies, deceit, and treason!

    • Boudicca_Icenii

      The people leaving the UK are generally either highly skilled or they are pensioners who fancy a retirement in the sun. They will not claim on their host country’s welfare state; use the state education service and quite probably not even their local health service. They will not demand social housing. They will contribute to the economy and/or spend their money there.
      We are importing the poor of Eastern Europe. Educated people who are prepared to do minimum wage jobs (denying our own young people of the first step on the working ladder); and the uneducated and unemployable who are here to claim benefits which are vastly higher than those available ‘at home.’
      Uncontrolled and uncontrollable immigration is not working in the UK’s favour.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Max-Stone/100000643664896 Max Stone

      You’re an idiot. I wish you would emigrate.

    • Tim Reed

      If UK citizens wish to live in other EU countries, it ought to be down to those nations to decide just who and how many of us they accept. The same should apply to the UK. Each nation should be in control of its own immigration policy. It shouldn’t be for us to say how many of OUR citizens the French, Spanish, Germans etc accept, and in return we should determine how many of THEIRS we allow in. Immigration should never be conducted on a Quid pro quo basis. It’s our country – these decisions should be made primarily for the benefit of those who are already citizens, not anyone who might wish to become one.

      It’s called autonomy – self-determination – sovereignty.

      UKIP is the only party that offers a truly self-governing future for the United Kingdom.

  • Stigenace

    Isn’t this campaign a little like the phony war on the western front of 1939-40? Neither of the two main candidates can engage in proper debate because to trash the other party means trashing the government which your party is a member of. They can have a go around the edges over electoral reform where public differences are acknowledged, but over the big questions concerning health, policing, education, the economy, defence, foreign policy, the environment, welfare, pensions, and so forth, to attack the other party is like punching yourself in the face. I don’t think this by-election will offer many pointers to the General Election of 2015 because the gloves won’t come off until after Christmas 2014 when proper debate can be had over election manifestos rather than the current record in government.

  • statechaos

    Surely you can only lose something if you have it already? Should your title not be ‘are the Tories not about to gain Eastleigh?’

  • Geo Shepherd

    You’ve overhyped it
    If the Tories lose it will be because their candidate was extremely weak

    If the Libs lose it will be because the voters wanted to deliver a punishment for Huhne

  • dave244

    The problem with this you seem to think it makes a difference who wins it doesn’t matter if Clegg or Miliband or Cameron gets a new mp in Eastleigh they are all the same shallow and opportunistic They are professional politicians they do now is stick to party ideology and anyone who dares to question or ask if what you are doing is the right thing for the county you are looked down on as if your an idiot
    And don’t forget why we are having this by-election in the first place Nick Clegg said before the last election we need a new type of politics a world in which people can trust their mp’s well we can trust them to carry on as before with lies and more expenses scandals and until we do get a “new type of politics” all you will get is more voter apathy
    So don’t bury your heads in the sand or the problem only going get worst and we will end up with a very extreme party in Government because they will tell people what they want hear and people will think what the hell all the others lie anyway so let’s give them a go

    • Stigenace

      In your haste you have forgotten all the punctuation marks.

      • dave244

        if you wish to take the p*** fine we go for a drink and have a laugh and we can take the p*** out of each-other all day long i like a good laugh just as much as the next person
        What I’m trying to do is make a serious point about the state of the political system in the county you may may not like what i have to say tough luck in a democracy we are all entitled to a point of view I’m not asking you or anyone to like it or agree with me i am asking you to respect the fact I’m entitled to one

        • Stigenace

          Steady on, Dave. I’m not denigrating your opinion. Of course you’re entitled to express your views. My comment is a bit flippant but it’s based on sound advice. My point is, in the abscence of punctuation, it makes it harder to read. I get that your views are more important than how they are punctuated but when those little marks are missing it detracts from what you’re trying to say. It might seem petty to you but readers take you more seriously when you add full stops and commas.

  • AlexanderGalt

    The Tory candidate suffers from being too genuine.

    What the Coservatives need is another Claire Perry. Incidentally there’s a great story by a journalist infatuated with her in: “My Evil Temptress” at:


  • chris_xxxx

    If you have had enough of uncontrolled immigration, the EU and £12 billion overseas aid, then you need to vote UKIP.

  • Foeu

    Biggest problem is that the Tories may split the UKIP vote.

  • AlexanderGalt

    The Tory candidate has shown what the media do to genuine opinions, so we get the plastic Camerons and Claire Perrys that we all despise.

    Incidentally there’s a great love triangle story of her from an infatuated journalist in: “My Evil Temptress” at:


  • Frances Fox

    Grant Shapps on Question Time made me furious the way he talked to the Labour panel person about the way that New Labour signed three treaties as if their party had not started the destruction of our country with the treaties they signed in the first place.. I have no time for New Labour but the way he acted as if the Conservatives had done no damage made me want to scream.

    We do not have an English Government but a three way subservient administration to the European Union which is helping to destroy our country altogether.

    • Daniel Maris

      Whatever Grant Shapps is, he comes across as about as principled and reliable as an estate agent.

  • rghfjngthrthry

    Lets hope UKIP win

    Sign this petition to restrict Bulgarian and Romanians from entering the UK:


  • philgcdr


    This morning’s Populus poll bears that out. They are in third place with 21 per cent, with the Tories second on 28 and the Lib Dems ahead with 33. But, as the indispensable UK Polling Report points out,if you don’t reallocate some of the undecides to the party they voted for last time, UKIP are doing even better. The numbers then are UKIP 25%, Tories 26% and Lib Dems 31%”

    See: http://blogs.new.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/02/ukip-surge-in-eastleigh/

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