Not really much point in speculating about the Eastleigh result tonight, although anything other than a Lib Dem win would now be a major surprise. What is worth discussing though is the reaction of many in the town to the siege laid by both the political parties and the media, who bizarrely have started believing their own hype about this being the most important by-election for 30 years. Even if the Tories are pushed into third place by UKIP, it's not even close to being an indication of how things will play out in 2 years time; mid-term governing parties are always unpopular, and they haven't helped themselves by picking a candidate liable to go off-piste at any moment. The popularity of the Lib Dems locally (they hold every council seat in the town) has more or less ensured they haven't suffered the same fate.
The over-the-top campaign has definitely confirmed one thing: that the marginals are going to be the focus more than ever. My seat is nominally marginal, and yet some wards are obviously considered such rotten boroughs (Tory, in my case) that I have not once seen anyone canvassing here, let alone had the door knocked. Those in the top target seats might want to start preparing now: May 2015 might be a deeply unpleasant month.
Labels: by-elections, Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition, Eastleigh by-election, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Maria Hutchings, politics, Tories