Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Cameron can win - but he needs the BNP

Yesterday I was saying that I don't think the Tories can win enough seats at the next election to enable them to form a government based on the latest opinion polls. However, there was one factor that I forgot to take into account - the BNP factor.

After the last election, someone did an analysis of the UKIP factor on Tory results - I think it was over on EU Referendum. Their analysis suggested that there were a number of closely contested seats which , had the UKIP vote transferred to the Tory party then the Conservatives would have won the seat - and if this had been translated across the country then the final result would have been much tighter resulting in, probably, a hung parliament.

Of course, not everyone who voted UKIP would necessarily have put their X next to the Tory party if UKIP weren't an option - there are plenty of left wing voters who are EU sceptics too - but there is no doubt that UKIP are very much a party in the old Tory mould and much more likely to attract right wing votes.

Of course, there have always been minor parties on the right and the left which have taken small amounts of votes away from the two main parties. I don't include the Lib Dems in this as they basically inherited an established voter base from the Liberal Party. Yes, there were defections from both Labour and Conservative voters to the Lib Dems, but these were balanced out by defections from the Liberal Party vote to Labour and Tory.

However, the arrival of UKIP on the scene was a significant change. Although they remain a minor party, there is no doubt that the number of votes they are winning is enough to influence results - and generally this is to the detriment of the Tory Party. While this has been happening to the Tory vote there hasn't been a similar significant challenge to the Labour vote.*

Until now. The growth of the BNP over the last decade means that they are now at a point where they could become Labour's "UKIP" - a party which takes enough votes away from Labour to leave them short in marginal seats that could result in a Tory victory. Make no mistake, the BNP are a party which appeals primarily to working class voters who would usually vote Labour.

The BNP factor may be crucial in the coming General Election. Will it be enough to give Cameron's Conservatives an election victory? Probably not, but it may just be enough to ensure a hung parliament. What is certain is that the Tories are reliant on the BNP doing well to have any hope of forming the next government.

I wonder how they feel about that!

* Some might point to the Green Party as Labour's equivalent to UKIP, but I don't include them in this even though The Green Party is an ultra left party. They appeal, primarily, to middle class urban voters and are more likely, if anything, to be taking votes away from the Tories and Lib Dems in urban areas where eco-fascism is popular than they are Labour - and Labour are very strong in urban areas. Nobody who has a serious interest in the environment and rural affairs would vote Green.

6 comments:

TheFatBigot said...

The problem with all nationwide opinion polls is that they include the views of those in safe seats whose votes will make no difference to the outcome. They can swing one way or the other but it is irrelevant. It is the marginals that count.

So far the Conservatives have polled far more strongly in the marginals than elsewhere. Whether that lead also slips will be seen over the next few weeks but it is what we need to look at to have a firm view whether a hung Parliament or a Cameron majority will result.

Stan said...

Nice to hear from you again, FB. I don't have a particularly high opinion of opinion polls. They are, at best, nothing more than a rough guide no matter how well thought out they are.

I'm still of the opinion that the BNP factor may well turn out to be significant in the Tories favour. Despite all the claims about the BNP being "far right" they are a party that appeals mostly to Labour voters - just as UKIP appeals mostly to Tory voters. To that extent, I feel that the crucial factor in deciding this election will be how those two parties perform in key matginals more than anything else.

My gut feeling is that Labour's failure over immigration and the economy (which affects working class Labour voters far more than middle class Tory voters) will have a bigger impact in those key marginals where immigration, housing and jobs are issues - however, I also believe that Cameron's failure over Lisbon will mean there will be Tory voters going for UKIP across more marginal seats - so they may cancel one another out.

Nothing is certain except that the Tories do need the BNP to take votes from Labour to have a real chance of forming the next government.

staybryte said...

I'm not sure about your theory here Stan. I do believe the BNP will take votes from Labour, but it may well do so in safe-ish Labour seats where the Tories are not in realistic contention anyway.

Stan said...

Thanks for your comment, but I think that's pretty much what I said in the comment above, staybryte - that UKIP will have a bigger impact in more marginals than the BNP.

douglas_bebb said...

Hitler has his say on Cameron:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BimSZ6ozDj4

bernard said...

Stan - Immigration was ONCE a working class issue, but that has all changed. It affects EVERYONE now.

If anything, it is the middle classes that stand to lose the most as immigration numbers are now doubly compounded by their increasing birth rate. The problem is spreading ever further outwards to the metropolitan areas, to affect school standards and hospital places etc.
The BNP may not be around in it's present form in years to come, but you can be damn sure its policies will be.