Labour voters in Conservative-held commuter belt seats should respond positively to Sir Ed Davey’s overtures
In last year’s local elections the Liberal Democrats chalked up one of the party’s best performances since it entered into an alliance with the Tories in 2010. With no sign of the disaffection in the current government evaporating, Sir Ed Davey’s party is assured of more electoral gains. One might be tempted to think that the Conservatives could swat away the Lib Dem challenge, which rests on 14 MPs in the Commons. However, the yellow tide’s rise in May’s elections would be troubling confirmation for the Conservative party that voter alienation is driving an electoral realignment.
What has alarm bells ringing in Tory headquarters is evidence that people are willing to vote tactically for the candidate best placed locally to defeat the Tories. Last summer, pollsters predicted 26 Conservative constituencies in the so-called “blue wall” of southern England could fall to the Lib Dems. A year before, a Lib Dem triumph in Chesham and Amersham – Conservative since its creation in 1974– had come when the Tories were riding high in the polls. Since then the Conservatives have cratered. Sir Ed is now openly wooing Labour voters in Conservative-held commuter belt seats. The Guardian, at this moment, would urge these voters to set aside any lingering resentment at the Lib Dems and cast an anti-Tory tactical ballot.