Relief, disbelief, despair and concern

Lib Dem candidate Mike Thornton  and UKIP candidate Diane James

Relief for the Liberal Democrats who held on despite everything.

Disbelief for UKIP who came close to an extraordinary mould-breaking victory and might have secured it if they'd believed it possible.

Despair for many Conservatives seeing themselves forced into third place in a seat they need to win to form a majority government in the future and by a party they now fear will rob them of that chance.

Concern for Labour who, even when the coalition is so unpopular, found themselves an irrelevant fourth.

Even though the Eastleigh constituency did not change hands, this by-election will change politics - spurring on those Tories who insist that David Cameron is driving their party over an electoral cliff.

Energising Nigel Farage and UKIP to believe and to claim that they are a new force in national politics.

Fuelling those who criticise Ed Miliband for not extending Labour's appeal enough.

And giving Nick Clegg a small respite after being forced into this by-election by a scandal, having his campaign overshadowed by another and being told he and his party were finished.

The result is a reminder that politics is still local - a popular local council and strong local party helped the Eastleigh Lib Dems to weather a national storm.

That storm will now switch its focus to the prime minister who will face one question again and again from his own MPs and activists - what on earth do we do about UKIP?

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    "Welcome back to the 1930s...Some of you won't never learn."

    Well most know that fascism is almost always created by Left-wing characters, as all the sheep-like aggressive Left wing comments on forums remind us.
    i.e. Swap 'Jew or black', for 'Etonian' or 'private school' etc.
    Plus the "Go read the Daily Mail" comments to suppress the opposition. etc.etc.
    We must fight the Left, to fight fascism.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    These so-called politicians need to wake up and smell the coffee before it is too late, it's OK for them to come out with excuses and brave faces - they need know it doesn't work anymore.

    Cameron and Miliband carry on regardless and soon we'll have our country back, forget Clegg he'll be our Prime Minister, "A stunning victory " he said after a 19.2% swing to UKIP, nothing to be proud about.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    33 wickedly male
    I gather that for some reason you hold Brown personally responsible for the damage wrought by a global banks speculating in world markets completely unaccountable to any democratic government. Any attempt to regulate the banks effectively would have driven them offshore. Our sovreignty is already gone and as Brown pointed out can only be recovered by international cooperation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    Barties wrote, "isolationism only works if you have all the resources you need, which the UK doesn't." Nobody is arguing for isolationism - that is a straw man.
    We do not have to be in the EU to trade with it, so when we leave it we can still buy what we need from all other countries, including from EU members. Switzerland and Norway are not EU members, but trade with it successfully.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    no substance - all abuse

  • rate this

    Comment number 41.

    Astounded there was no Send Cameron and Clegg to Mars Party.
    They are the ideal couple for the job:

    a) Clearly they don't know which planet they are from.

    b) Must know each other inside out and can get along in extreme situations.

    c) Will help with the UK net immigration balance staving off a landslide victory by the UKIP at the 2015 elections.

    d) Won't cost the UK taxpayer a penny.


  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    We don't really have much choice, 3 parties just as bad as each other.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    #26 we all want our country back but its to late w'eve been sold down the river by governments for many years, the worst being Labour who have the cheek to say they stand up for the working classes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 38.

    The Libs, Cons, and Lab are appearing all the same. Same old same old, education this education that tax this tax that, same old promises at each election and each leader at that time never keeps to the promises that get them into power!

    They argue in parliment over pathetic things, attack(verbally) eachother rather than trying to solve problems.

    I'm a graduate currently stacking shelves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    Cameron's gamble over Europe has backfired. If he is unable to convince our European neighbours to renegotiate the treaties (which seems a real possibility) then he won't be able to deliver the promised referendum.

    Yet he's told the world that is what he's going to do in an attempt to take the wind out of UKIP's sails & placate his back-benchers. Sadly for him, the electorate hasn't bought it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    It seems that many voters in Eastleigh are content for Britain to be carved up to benefit big business and for the poor and disadvantaged to be treated like dirt. Is the place full of right wing billionaires?

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    UKIP is essentially an isolationist party (not racist). However, isolationism only works if you have all the resources you need, which the UK doesn't. It sounds OK if you blame all our ills on the EU, but that really doesn't stand up to realistic assessment. Basically, zenophobia wins, because it must it can't be our fault, it must be someone else's!

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Yes, you get exactly what's on the tin - an exit from Europe. And nothing else. Not really much of a platform from which to run a country.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Why do people believe mid term by elections mean anything more than a chance to lash out at something? Every govt does its dirty work at the beginning hopefully holds its nerve in the middle and gives away something at the end. Its so predictable. No one could have predicted the damage Gordon Brown did, probably not even him. When we get our manners and work ethic back we'll recover Not until then

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    I can understand why people vote UKIP as a protest, however I would hope that they wouldn't vote the same way at a general election given the overall paucity of policies that they have.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    Two years is a long time in politics. But the outlook for May 2015 now looks bleak for Cameron, and consequently for all of us held hostage in the sinking ship which is UK plc. It seems inevitable that UKIP will ensure our next government is a Lib/Lab coalition, with a big enough majority to indulge their shared ideological commitment to immigration, borrowing, Europe, and a bloated public sector.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    The real tragedy of last nights QT was that none of the panel knew anything about Economics - and I do mean Economics and not Finance. Keynes and the immediate post war generation of politicians who borrowed far more than current governments to rebuild Europe must be turning in their graves watching this re-run of the lunacy of 1930's economic orthodoxy - this time as farce.

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Maybe this will encourage the mainstream politicians to listen instead of tell, to tell the truth not manipulate it with spin, to work for the good of the country & not their own re-election, to admit their mistakes rather than gloss over them, to work together for the country rather than emphasise differences or make changes for the sake of it. Fat chance!

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    i *facepalm* ever time I read another ignorant post trying top equate UKIP with Racism or Naxism. It's Nonsense. UKIP are not xenophobic or racist.

    They want the UK to be a free country: The other three parties want the exact opposite. The police long ago became a sinister force spying on everyone and controlling/abusing rather than serving the public.

    Shun these totalitarians. Vote UKIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    "what on earth do we do about UKIP?" ... I expect we kick ourselves for opposing and misrepresenting AV before the referendum. That's what we do about UKIP.


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