The race to win next week’s by-election in Eastleigh is bringing the underlying tensions of British politics to the surface.
At a local level it’s a symbolic fight. The Tories and the Lib Dems are battling it out over whether or not to build on a golf course.
But nationally the thieves who run the country are falling out.
The by-election comes after discraced Lib Dem Chris Huhne resigned having admitted perverting the course of justice.
Tory candidate Maria Hutchings called the coalition agreement “a pact with the devil”.
The Tories are trying to the win the seat from the Lib Dems by appealing to the right. Their anti-abortion, anti-European rhetoric is a deliberate attempt to bolster the Tory grassroots.
John O’Farrell, former speech writer for Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, is standing for Labour.
But the party is unclear about which direction to take the campaign in Eastleigh. (See: You can have any Labour you want... as long as it's right wing)
The Lib Dems are still the bookies’ favourites to win. But other candidates are getting a good hearing. There is an NHS consultant standing in the election against attacks on the health service.
And Socialist Worker is supporting Darren Procter of the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).