Headlines proclaimed another Cameron promise to hold a referendum on British EU Membership, but they missed out the important words “when hell freezes over”.
Cameron’s apparent cave in to overwhelming public opinion owed more to the strengthening rumours that the first seven Tory MPs are preparing to defect to UKIP. With Cameron pursuing LibDem policies, the Tory revolt has been growing. Up to 100 MPs could defect to UKIP and that is about a third of all current Tory MPs and almost double the number of seats held by LibDems. If significant numbers of Tory MPs defect, it places the Libdems in a very difficult position and would end the current Coalition Government although, thanks to Lib Dem pressure, Cameron is locked into a full five year term because Libdems are committed to voting with the Government in a Vote of Confidence. That could mean that UKIP abstentions in a vote of confidence would topple the Government. Its all a bit more complex though. Rumours suggest that up to 20 Labour MPs and one LibDem could be tempted to join UKIP if a significant number of Tories defect.
The big question is whether the UK Independence Party can turn current support into seats at a General Election. Coming up is the European Parliamentary Election where UKIP needs to either run a very close second to the Tories, or displace them to become the largest UK Party in the European Parliament. Opinion polls now show an overwhelming number of British voters demand a referendum on Europe and a clear majority want the UK to sever the current relationship with the EU. That number will only increase as Germany increases its grip on the EuroZone Members and rules without consideration for those EU Members outside the EuroZone.
So far, Ed Milliband has been greatly encouraged by the thought that the UKIP vote could loose Tory seats and hand victory to him at a General Election. It could be his only hope of ever becoming Prime Minister because he and his Party are rightly distrusted by British voters and viewed as an incompetent rabble led by the people who nearly bankrupted Britain during 13 years of national socialist misrule. His chances are improved further by the probability that Cameron will focus his attention on trying to smear UKIP as he has already attempted by encouraging the racial slurs against UKIP. Against this, UKIP is starting to win over voters who have previously blindly supported one of the failed old Parties. These voters now understand that they are disregarded by the Parties they have long supported, but they cannot bring themselves to support one of the other old Parties. UKIP offers a real alternative that is not wedded to any old idiology, is not stuffed with professional politicians and already has a well-thought out alternative suite of policies, having come a very long way in a short time from a single-issue protest party.