|Nigel Farage: very good second, fruitcake|
Expressing this anxiety, Michael Fabricant - the Tory vice-chairman who last year called for an electoral pact with Ukip - issued a series of tweets about how the Tories’ voice is “muffled and “not crisp”: it does not “clearly project” Conservative Party “core policies or principles”. For Fabricant, Ukip “clearly connected with Conservative policies” at Eastleigh. Or, as Nigel Farage put it more straightforwardly, the “real problem” the Conservatives have got is not with Ukip, but rather that their own supporters “look at a Conservative Party that used to talk about wealth creation, low tax and enterprise and it now talks about gay marriage and wind farms” and other such highly undesirable issues. Instead, back to reactionary basics.
Unhappily for the Tories though, this sort of prognosis is at best crudely simplistic and at worst plain delusional. If only life was so simple. Take a quick look at the Tories’ Eastleigh candidate, Maria Hutchings. She came across as more Ukip than Ukip’s own Diane James. Yet it counted for nothing in the end.