Life in coalition politics just doesn’t suit some at all. From the Conservative side Tory grandee Lord Tebbit has let it be known exactly how it feels. He has decided to back UKIP, and its candidate Paul Nuttall MEP, in the Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election. Ouch.
Tebbit argues that a win for the Liberal Democrats would tilt the coalition further to the left and he wants to see the party in fourth place.
In a statement on UKIP’s website, Tebbit said: “Of course, as one who believes that the people of this kingdom should govern themselves, I have an instinctive sympathy with the UKIP candidate and I hope that at the very least he puts the Lib Dem into fourth place.
“A Lib Dem win would tilt the coalition even farther left and away from Conservative policies. A Labour win would give the wild men of the TUC great encouragement to launch a campaign to ursurp the government by a campaign of industrial action.”
Is that true? Would it tilt the coalition as the Lib Dems go from dizzy heights of 57 to 58 MPs? It seems unlikely, but this move by Tebbit will no doubt ratchet up tensions and disaffection between the coalition partners and remind some on the left of the Lib Dems exactly who they are in bed with.
That process of disaffection is accelerating at a local level. Yesterday Welsh Labour welcomed the defection of Lib Dem councillor John Warman.
Can’t fault Tebbit on wanting to send a message and Oldham is a great opportunity to send a message to Nick Clegg, David Cameron as well, and ensuring a poor poll result for the Lib Dems will do that.
Maybe Tebbit could have thrown his weight behind the Pirate Party. They’re standing as well…oh wait they’re not those kind of pirates.