The Thick of It

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Saturday, March 05, 2011

Lib Dem wipeout?

Much has been made of the Lib Dems' latest low in finishing sixth in this week's Barnsley by-election. Does this really signal the descent into oblivion for the Tory lap-dogs? The prospects don't look good for them. All those who were duped into thinking Clegg's party were actually of the progressive left and voted for them instead of Labour at the election will surely continue to desert the yellow.

That prognosis could be too simplistic. Boundary changes will take many seats away from Labour at the next election. Couple that with unclear prospects for the AV referendum and there could be a very different political landscape in the near future. The Tories are likely to suffer from being a very unpopiular government.

This presents a huge political opportunity for Ed Miliband. He has to highlight splits within the Lib Dem support, Barnsley showed that many of these will come back to Labour. More crucially he and Ed Balls have to gain credibility for alternative economic policies to the slash and burn from the Tories.

At the moment there is so much uncertainty with the only certainty that the Lib Dems will wretch to more new lows before an election in four years that could be anyone's.

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