The people of Eastleigh have spoken. That is, the half of those able to vote switched off Countdown and heaved themselves out of their Parker Knoll recliners to take the bus as near to the polling station as it goes and shuffled their way into the voting booth as fast as their Hush Puppies would take them.
Eastleigh is the place to settle if you can't stand the pace in Budleigh Salterton and Winchester seems like the future. Without the benefit of actually going there, I can tell you that it is as conservative as an antimacassar sales convention. You'd think that it would also be Conservative but that would be to underestimate the appeal of the Why-can't-things-be like-they-used-to-be Party.
The WCTBLTUTB Party is headed by a man who looks and sounds like a daytime television quiz master from the 1970's and dresses as though he is about to called on to price a nick-nack on the Antiques Roadshow. The manifesto of this conservative party is... and I shall summarise... that if you don't trust politicians, trust US politicians. Their pamphlet has four pictures on the front: a pound coin, a passport, a police car and a white baby. They are pro the pound, against other people using their passports against us, for the police up to a point, as long as they don't nit-pick our rubbish recycling and, as far as I can tell, fully in favour of white babies.
What they are most vociferously against is Europe. Europe is a place full of nasty, old, entitled men who are unelected and throw their weight around while coining in the readdies, awarding each other titles and going to lunch to eat foreign muck with our money. Or that could be the British Civil Service. Or both. Either way, its a bloomin' disgrace and something must be done. They tap into the same mindset that still has us doing the funny walk and not mentioning the war many years after the end of hostilities, the precise number of which I shall look up later.
The issue of Europe causes some British people's faces to go the colour of cordovan shoes. They wouldn't actually wear cordovan shoes though, because they are for ne'r do wells and nancy boys.
Europe, they say, is shoving human rights down our throats. They will say this without hint of irony or, apparently, the understanding that they are themselves human and might, one day, be in need of rights pertaining to their genus. They say that Brussels is full of unelected bureaucrats, without acknowledging that we are ruled by unelected bureaucrats in this country - the same Humphreys that the government of the day is forever whining about getting in their way and preventing them from doing their best.
The WCTBLTUTB Party and their growing number of adherents are convinced that we will be economically better off out of Europe. They have come to this firmly, nay, violently held belief without having done any research whatsoever. Ask a believer why our circumstance would be improved on the outside and they will argue that "it just would". If economics experts with brains the size of car batteries and full access to calculators can not agree on how to split the bill at dinner, it is a wonder that those with no knowledge of finance or trade or international relations or the science of numbers outside of a bingo parlour can be so assured that they have fully grasped such a fantastically complicated issue and come to a sound conclusion.
It all comes across a bit like... well, they just don't like foreigners. And speaking on behalf of all the people of the world - who does?
Maybe they have a point. They managed a full 27.8% of the vote. Maria Hutchings, the Conservative candidate was so overwhelmed by the level of her support, in coming third, that she was struck dumb and tried to exit the Eastleigh count without responding to reporters' questions.
Reporters were not having that though and attached themselves to her like spermatozoa attempting to fertilise an egg. They edged toward the door in a crab-like sideways gait, firing questions such as "where did it go wrong, Maria" and ""why did you come third, Maria" and "take your top off, love" while Maria, the hole in the doughnut of inquisitors grinned silently like a human smiley face, or a woman in the throes of a seizure, only able to stand due to the pressing throng holding her up. The video of it could be the most awkward attempt at group sex you've ever seen and the least likely to get any hits on YouTube.
There is, however, no getting round the fact that Ukip pushed the Tories into third place by about a thousand votes. The Conservatives pointed out that this was not ground breaking, or unheard of for a ruling party in the midst of a calamitous recession and in mid term, and they have a point. Or they would have if it were not for the slight inconvenience that the other ruling party, the Lib Dems, actually won the thing.