Last week, British prime minister David Cameron delivered one of the most important speeches not only of his career but also of modern European politics, setting out his views regarding the United Kingdom’s future in the European Union.
Cameron’s speech was a big deal because he had been facing mounting pressure from within the Eurosceptic ranks of the Conservative Party that he leads and the UK Independence Party, whose members are unhappy about the relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
In his speech, Cameron said that he plans to renegotiate parts of the United Kingdom’s relations with Europe and put that changed membership package to the British people in an in-out referendum after the next general election provided, obviously, that he is still his country’s prime minister.
Before Britain goes to the polls to cast its judgement on the Westminster mob, a ballot that is set down for 7 May 2015, it will vote in the European Parliament election in June next year.
And for those of us who like to have a wager on politics, that is the subject of an interesting betting market from Ladbrokes. The Magic Sign is offering odds of around even money that the UK Independence Party outpolls the Conservative Party in terms of total votes.
In the latest opinion polls regarding the next British general election, the Conservative Party is scoring about 32 per cent and the UK Independence Party is scoring about 10%. However, a post-speech poll that asked Conservative Party supporters how they are intending to vote in the European Parliament election reported that only 63% would vote for Cameron’s group and 32% would vote for the UK Independence Party. It is time for some serious number crunching.
If those percentages ended up being bang on the money, the UK Independence Party would outpoll the Conservative Party in the European Parliament election. Not by a wide margin but enough to double one’s money. The Tories would receive 20.16% of the vote (63% of 32%) and the Eurosceptic group would receive 20.24% (32% of 32% plus its original 10%).
While Cameron’s landmark speech could end up assisting him in being returned as Britain’s prime minister for a second term, one thinks that it is more likely to harm his party’s European Parliament election chances. Why? Because the UK Independence Party will probably receive an even bigger boost than the aforementioned poll suggests from voters desperate to remind Cameron of his pledges regarding the European Union. A vote for the UK Independence Party sends an even stronger message than one for the Conservative Party because being anti-Europe is the entire UKIP platform.
Britons have a history of voting frivolously in European Parliament elections. Turnouts are low, meaning that only voters who really care about the subject matter get off their lounges to participate in the democratic process. Apathy among the general population assists single-issue groups such as the UK Independence Party and explains why Nigel Farage’s collective received 16.7% of the vote in the 2009 European Parliament election compared to 3.1% in the 2010 British general election. One cannot miss the stark difference and one cannot miss the evens with Ladbrokes because the odds should be closer to 1-2 than 1-1.
And for anyone who wants to watch his ow infamous speech, you can check it out below.