For a party that got so badly mugged at the weekend, the Tories looked surprisingly chipper this week.
Partly this was due to Ed Miliband’s stumbles last week leaving space for David Cameron to make a strong speech yesterday that opened the campaign for the general election. Partly it was due to a decision to not let the party appear too rattled by UKIP.
The somewhat paradoxical result of the recent defections to UKIP has been to strengthen the resolve of the Tories, and reduce what sympathy there was for them. The seeming transformation of UKIP from a loony fringe to a serious contender has made it less of a vent for Tories feeling constrained on the EU or immigration, and more like a threat to the broader family of values that the Tories espouse. That UKIP has also been talking up its attraction to Labour voters of late has also helped in this shift, making the jump seem all the more consequential. Read more