Thanks to rising poll ratings for UKIP matched to the moronic inability of the Tories to grasp that the Alternative Vote could actually have worked for them, David Cameron now finds himself in an odd predicament. If the polls are right to any degree, Tory voters defecting to UKIP will cause the worst of all results, leaking Tory votes costing seats but not enough to elect potential coalition partner UKIP MPs.
What to do? The talk is apparently of a pact between both parties, with UKIP agreeing to stand down in tight Tory marginals. But for what price? If I were Nigel Farage I would be demanding a dozen safe Tory seats for UKIP candidates to have a clear run in WITH Tory endorsement. That will be hard for Cameron to deliver, but not impossible, provided enough retiring Tory MPs can be found.
Of course, this is a high risk strategy for the prime minister. Tory constituency workers in those seats might decide to help out the UKIP candidates, and might develop a taste for the undiluted new beverage. Some Tories are suggesting that UKIP should be happy with a Tory committment to an EU referendum. Screw that. UKIP would be fools to accept that. Seats in parliament are the coin of the political realm, and if the Tories don’t deliver on that their word on a referendum doesn’t count for anything. After all, the only reason the Tories will consider a pact is to save actual seats, so what’s good for the goose, etc.
On top of that, once UKIP are in the Commons the party looks far more credible. And don’t forget history, where the mighty Liberal party gave the tiny Labour party a free run in a few seats. How’d that work out, then?