One of the most important things about British politics right now is that the left is united and the right is divided. The combination of the Liberal Democrats going into coalition with the Tories and Ed Miliband’s leadership of the Labour party has seen left-wingers who moved from Labour to the Liberal Democrats during the Blair years go back to Labour. At the same time, Ukip has started eating into the Tory core vote.

Combine this with constituency boundaries that hugely favour Labour and it becomes evident that Labour can win with nowhere near 40 percent of the vote.

If the Tories are to stop this happening, they need to reunite the right: to win back the vast majority of those voters who have moved to Ukip. Doing this is going to take a combination of carrot and stick. The carrot is more robust Tory position on welfare, immigration, human rights and Europe. The stick is warning of the consequences of putting Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

There’ll be some who talk about courting Ukip voters as a distraction. But Ukip is currently polling in the low double digits, compared to the three percent it received at the last general election. If the Tories can’t get Ukip back into the low single digits, it is very hard to see how they can win the next election.

Read James Forsyth’s politics column in this week’s Spectator here, and Toby Young’s call for a Tory-Ukip pact from the bottom here.

Tags: Conservatives, UK politics, UKIP