If you were up to watch UKIP’s leader, Nigel Farage, on Andrew Marr’s Show on Sunday morning you might be under the impression that the Conservative government is undergoing a change of heart.

David Cameron’s party, he explained, “used to talk about wealth creation, low tax, enterprise. It now talks about gay marriage and wind farms.” Farage’s point is that this is not the behaviour that Conservative voters voted for and as a result these voters are turning to UKIP.

Last Thursday the by-election in Sussex illustrated such with Farage’s party increasing its share of the vote from 3.6% in 2010 to 27.8%. On Sunday morning Farage blamed this loss of traditional Conservative support on the political blurring of Britain’s three main political parties. As Farage put it “you can’t put a cigarette paper between them”.

…why the change of Blue heart?

So why the change of Blue heart? One possible explanation is that the Conservative party has been the victim of a viscous geographical pincer movement. From the West comes the threatening figure of fiscal conservatism, seemingly a giant rising across the pond in the shape of the Tea Party, (a name which lends itself to ‘Mad Hatters’ only too readily). Fear about their political effectiveness may have been a little overblown, they are currently the proud owners of 1,584,201 likes on Facebook, and considering America’s population is running at 312.8 million, one could argue that their consequence is minimal. But for the sake of argument lets call them a genuine threat.

So from the East we have the other half of pressure which is entering British popular thought through our televisions, specifically through Borgen. For those who haven’t been glued to BBC Four’s most recent Scandinavian production Borgen is a political drama that follows the trailblazing Statsminister, Birgitte Nyborg. In the most recent series she reformed the Danish welfare state, reined in heavy industry with green legislation and did her bit for world peace.

…David Cameron had no choice but to jerk his knee…

With such pressures coming from the political right on the geographical left and the left on the right it seems David Cameron had no choice but to jerk his knee. The lashing out has resulted in the proposal of marriage reform and a promise to re-kick-start the Coalition’s campaign to be Britain’s greenest government ever.

But, David Cameron himself would disagree. In the Sunday Telegraph this weekend the message was one of an almost militant adherence to business as usual after Thursday’s loss. His piece read much like William Ernet Henley’s poem Invictus, the Tory head is bloody but unbowed, determined in the “battle for Britain’s future”.

…justifying it as an appropriate measure to defend the British people…

Indeed the Cabinet are following suit. Home Secretary, Theresa May, this weekend came out saying the there are plans for a majority Conservative government to leave the European Convention on Human Rights, repeating the mantra that comes out of the party conferences at Brighton every year.

Chris Gayling, the Justice Minister added his own voice to this traditional Tory campaign. He defended the proposal, justifying it as an appropriate measure to defend the British people against security threats. This is a common return to the Brussels bashing, booing the EU’s interference in British sovereignty, especially since the Qatadar deportation issue.

…What will the grand journals of history say about the Eastleigh by-election?

Last week it seemed the whole of the British press descended on a railway town in East Hampshire. What will the grand journals of history say about the Eastleigh by-election?

Probably just this; a Liberal constituency returned a Liberal candidate to Westminster, and not much changed.

About The Author

Aspiring freelance journalist currently finishing her degree in politics, history and English literature at the University of Exeter.

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