Wednesday 21 May 2014

Will The LibDem "Hedgehog" Hold?

In all the sound and fury surrounding UKIP in these last few weeks, we have completely lost sight that local council elections are also taking place tomorrow.

One of the most significant implications of these will be whether the LibDem strategy of a "hedgehog" defence will be vindicated. This in turn has very significant implications for the future course of British politics after the next general election.

As the name implies, a "hedgehog" defence involves concentrating your resources into very tight, highly defended areas. Given their low overall poll ratings and the British election system which rewards localised concentrations of strength, the LibDems hope they can not only avoid annihilation but also actually cement their place as part of a coalition government after the next election. When Nick Clegg said he wanted to be Deputy Prime Minister for the next ten years, perhaps he really meant it. Horrifying as it sounds, it is a potentially possible.

When the results roll in, Clegg and LibDems can expect a drubbing from all media sheep about their abysmal performance in the European elections and no doubt a few jokes about the "party of in" being the "party whose out", etc, etc. However, all that will already have been discounted by LibDem insiders. What will decide Nick Clegg's future is the local council results in those constituencies which have sitting LibDem MP's and where for years now the party has been concentrating it's campaigning resources.

The success or otherwise of the hedgehog defence will send a very strong signal as to whether  the LibDem's will retain a substantial block of MP's after the next general election, and with it considerable power within a coalition government with either the Tories or Labour.  Forget all the predictably hysterical headlines about UKIP's performance tomorrow: it is this which will show whether or not we continue to have feeble, tepid pro-European Metropolitan elite government for years or even decades to come.