By Lord Ashcroft
This piece was first published in The Independent
A surprising number of people are candid enough to admit that they voted Liberal Democrat in previous elections because they simply could not decide between Labour and the Tories. Others like the party’s policies or, more often, its local MP.
But in their strongholds, the Lib Dems have owed a good deal of their support to their status as the most credible local alternative to the Conservatives. Indeed, in most recent elections, tactical voting has nearly always meant backing the Lib Dems to get (or keep) the Tories out. Since the Iraq war, the Lib Dems have also attracted left-leaning voters looking for a safely like-minded alternative to Labour.
So imagine their surprise and delight as the recipient of their carefully calibrated votes strode cheerfully into the Downing Street rose garden with David Cameron (more…)