Wendy Alexander: Labour would have you
believe that its Scottish leader has
no insight into the date of the next
election and that there are
fairies at the bottom of the garden.

The Leader of the Scottish Labour Party, one Wendy Alexander, let slip a probable timetable for the next general election in an interview this week. It comes as no surprise that, with the tide of opinion polls well on the ebb, Labour is planning to hang on to the last minute in the hope that something, anything turns up.

Alexander is not exactly a bad source. She is the brother of Wee Douglas, an intimate of Macavity, who was appointed General Election Co-ordinator by the latter as soon as he took over as Prime Minister and the timetable Ms. Alexander advanced with a confidence which suggested clearly that she was privy to current planning.

It makes sense that she should know: Scotland is a vital source of lobby fodder for Labour and in the present electoral circumstances north of the border there is a serious risk of significant loss both to the SNP and, more modestly, to the Tories. They need every advantage they can get and the timetable she sets out is not exactly surprising. Nationally Labour is now in what may prove to be terminal decline, though it will need a few months yet of the sort of lead indicated by the latest run of polls to suggest that that it is David Cameron’s election to lose.

If those polls hold up in favour of the Tories and Alexander was not fibbing, May 2010 becomes the most likely date for an election, presumably on the same day as Local Elections so that Labour might minimise any further losses in addition to those which they are likely to have sustained in 2008 and 2009, including, one hopes, a Tory seizure of the levers of power in London by Boris Johnson and significant recovery in the north-west and north-east.

In those circumstances the European Elections stand in isolation from national elections on national or local issues and the attention of the electorate may thus be focused on exclusively European matters. Nonetheless it is to be hoped that they coincide with a serious low point in Labour fortunes and that a significant element of voting against Labour will enter into the equation. It thus presents a significant opportunity for Eurosceptics to direct the focus of the electorate onto the issue of the Treaty of Lisbon and the failure of Labour and the Liberal ‘Democrats’ to honour their promises to hold a referendum on it.

The objective of these elections should thus be to secure as many Conservative and UKIP MEPs as possible, hopefully taking their combined tally well beyond the combined total of 42.8% of the vote recorded in 2004. The principla objective must be to secure for these two parties more than 50% of the popular vote and more than 50% of the seats available at that election (which will see our MEPs drop in number from 78 to 72 as a result of expansion of the EU, another diminution of our voice in Europe which Labour conveniently fails to mention).

Ideally one might hope for UKIP, who came a remarkable third in 2004, should in the process push Labour into third place which would be a resounding message of disapproval from the electorate for their dishonest and dishonourable conduct over the Treaty and amount to an earth-shaking thumping for Labour. In addition there are likely to be perhaps four seats for nationalist parties which have also supported the holding of a referendum so that we might well see a significant majority for pro-referendum parties.

To maximize the Eurosceptic vote will require a certain discipline by both Tories and UKIP. In ordinary circumstances they would be fighting one another for some of the same votes. But this time they each need to temper the attack on one another to focus the attention of the electorate on the issue at hand which is the Treaty and what should now happen about it.

If a majority can be obtained for Eurosceptic parties, then a clear mandate can be demonstrated for the proposition that the people of the United Kingdom support not just a referendum on the Treaty but also a desire for a quite different relationship with the EU from that to which Gordon Brown and Labour has now committed us.

This could be a significant moment in the history of our relationship with Europe but also a significant opportunity for us to register our anger against those parties, Labour and the Liberal ‘Democrats’ who have so flagrantly ignored the wishes of and, indeed, demonstrated naught but sneering contempt for the British people. If the elections for Europe thus stand in isolation the British people have a risk-free chance to send the message to those arrogant politicians who think they know what’s best that we are not prepared to be brushed off in this way again.

Thus we might remedy a part of the democratic deficit which has been consequent upon the Left’s abjuration of its 2005 manifesto commitments and at the same time make it clear to those parties that if they repeat such an exercise in future, then they risk electoral disaster.

In short, the 2009 European elections provide an unique opportunity to administer an electoral flogging to Labour and the Liberal ‘Democrats’. So, Brown and Clegg, report to the Head’s study for six of the best.