The current bout of summer weather that we are experiencing will not go far to raise the hopes of Labour as Thursday approaches. The party has seen a systematic erosion of public confidence in their abilities since taking on Gordon Brown as leader, a situation exacerbated by the recession in Britain.
In a damning poll in today’s Times, Labour are placed third behind the Conservatives and UKIP, sitting on a meagre 16% for European elections.
While it is obvious that part of this is due to the continuing run of MPs expenses’ disclosures (Labour have dropped nine points in the last three weeks), it is also clear that the problem is one that will not be solved by merely ejecting those who have gone above and beyond the level of reasonable expense claims. The problem lies in Brown, and the pounding that is coming their way on Thursday may be the catalyst for action amongst senior Labour MPs.
But the question still remains of who will benefit from these massive losses. One of the main reasons that I think that the expenses scandal has little to do with the displeasure at Labour is the lack of mention of Libertas in today’s poll. The centre-ground party would be ideally placed to pick up disenchanted New Labour voters who are sceptical of Cameron, particularly since they have had a massive publicity drive over the scandal, including highly posted web videos exposing current MEP expenses corruption and even advertising by topless models outside Parliament earlier this week: no joke – see here
It does seem, certainly if today’s findings are to be believed, that the winners from this situation will not be the widely feared yet highly proactive BNP, still trailing on a pitiful 5%. The winners will be UKIP, who have risen 13 points in the last three weeks. Will these results be reflected in the votes of Yorkshire and the Humber? I have a suspicion that they will.