The interesting thing about UKIP

But Ukip’s Jane Collins took 4,648 votes, nearly 22 per cent of those cast, with the Conservatives beaten into fifth place behind the British National Party and Respect, and the Liberal Democrats eighth.

Yes, yes, I know, byelection, fostering row.

But in three byelections on the same day in safe Labour seats UKIP came second, second and third.

Much is made of the way the party (\”us\” if you like) threatens Tories. And it does in marginal seats in the south. But there\’s a good argument that the first actual seats (and I do think they will come) are likely to come at Labour\’s expense in the old industrial heartlands.

It\’s actually quite interesting from inside the party. From the outside we\’re derided as too extreme even for the Tories. While from the inside there\’s a lot of Old Labour, that very conservative English working class thing.

18 comments on “The interesting thing about UKIP

  1. While the UKIP result is great news and all that, I think the big news is the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote. As the party of the perpetually disgruntled, I think they are heading for extinction. Their voters will be disgusted that their leaders have had to make actual choices and behave like grown ups. I expect that they will be sharing a taxi home after the general election.

    Although being beaten by Yvonne Ridley must hurt.

  2. SMFS,

    While the UKIP result is great news and all that, I think the big news is the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote. As the party of the perpetually disgruntled, I think they are heading for extinction.

    Yup. I don’t think that the amount that the LDs are falling can just be put down to by-election effects. They’ve also collapsed in the polls in the way that the Conservatives haven’t.

    My view is this: the LDs have, for decades, been able to sell a world of rainbow coloured unicorns, and there’s enough naive people out there who believed that if only they got some power, then they’d deliver on that. Having got some power, people have realised they’re just like the rest of them.

    They’ll still keep seats, because in their own areas, they’ll be voted for as the tactical option. However, Labour will win a lot more seats as the anti-Conservative vote split is eroded. Throw in the UKIP effect, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Labour wins a majority of seats at the next election.

    It’s going to be fun watching the party that were against an alternative vote getting the shit kicked out of them by their favoured political system.

  3. JuliaM – “LimpDumbs dead in the water. Can the Greens be far behind?”

    This is the problem. The disgruntled need another party to go to. UKIP ain’t going to be it. The Greens on the other hand will serve nicely. They will never win. They always complain.

    Britain is better off with the Lib-Dems as the third party rather than the former Marxists of the Green Party.

  4. The results were:

    Labour Sarah Champion 9,866 46.3 +1.7
    UKIP Jane Collins 4,648 21.79 +15.9
    BNP Marlene Guest 1,804 8.5 -1.9
    Respect Yvonne Ridley 1,778 8.3
    Conservative Simon Wilson 1,157 5.4 -11.3
    English Democrats David Wildgoose 703 3.3
    Independent Simon Copley 582 2.7
    Liberal Democrat Michael Beckett 451 2.1 -13.9
    Trade Unionist & Socialist Ralph Dyson 261 1.2
    Independent Paul Dickson 51 0.2
    no description Clint Bristow 29 0.1
    Majority 5,218
    Turnout 21,330 33.63 -25.37

    So look at those swings against the governing parties. The Tories and the Lib-Dems ought to be worried. A nice swing to UKIP.

    But the other news of the evening is the drop in turn out – a quarter of people who voted last time did not this time? I would guess that is fairly normal for a by-election.

  5. Tim, UKIP’s rise is I think good news but only if it leads the tories to adopt the correct stance on Europe which is a negotiated exit invoking article 50 of the Lisbon constitreaty.

    This is as EU Referendum has pointed out pursuasively, the only way to ensure chaos doesn’t ensue and more importantly to give the best chance of winning the referendum.

    UKIP’s current policy of immediate withdrawal will not win mass support in any serious way

  6. A good result, but the second places aren’t very close seconds.

    In Rotherham they were still less than half the Labour vote. In Middlesborough it was 12% to 60%.

    I’d like to see UKIP win some seats, but this doesn’t look like they’re going to.

  7. I think UKIP is a long long way from getting an MP.

    I quite often vote Green. And I do it because I know they won’t get in. If there were a serious prospect of their getting elected, I’d have to give careful thought to some of the barmier stuff in their manifesto, but as it is I use the vote to send a (very faint) message to the main parties that I care about the environment.

    Votes for UKIP are much the same. If you want to send a message that you don’t like the EU you can vote for UKIP in the sure knowledge that you’re not actually electing anyone. But if UKIP started looking like actually winning one of these elections, people would need actually to consider their policies (Tim, you don’t agree with the plan to increase corporation tax do you?)

    European elections are different – it makes sense to vote on European issues for the European parliament. And the Greens have got an MP, because there’s a constituency with a very high concentration of lentil eaters. I can’t see that sort of concentration working for UKIP.

  8. “I think the big news is the collapse of the Liberal Democrat vote. As the party of the perpetually disgruntled, I think they are heading for extinction”

    You may be right, but I still expect it to go the other way. The LDs ought to be taking up their real role as the party of opposition now that Labour’s completely obsolete. If anyone in the party has half a brain they’ll kick out the Clegg-ites, leave the coalition, and be the second major party after the next election.

  9. Once Labour took up the socialist mantle from the “New” Liberals, the Liberal Party has consistently been an answer in search of a question. There is of course a niche for a “classical” liberal (i.e. libetarian party) that they could fill, but since their fanbase largely consists of the crank end of socialism (Orwell’s sandal wearers and fruit juice drinkers) they can’t switch to being that.

    It’s amazing they’ve lasted this long, really.

  10. KJ>

    Labour was only ever a single-issue party (which should encourage UKIP) which achieved its sole aim within forty or fifty years of its foundation. That goes a long way to explaining the craziness they’ve displayed since, and the apparently directionless Blair era.

  11. I’ve too many friends that support UKIP not to wish them well (I’d guess they were previously 60/40 Tory/Labour). Real progress, however, will be down to the calibre of people that front the party. Farage is a good enough lad but he desperately needs help. Not necessarily to broaden their appeal: I think they have that. It’s more a perception of competence

  12. Really, I think this just emphasises the utter fucking stupidity of our system, in which you can only be President, I mean, Prime Minister, if you can get half or more of the MPs. Being fair to the Liberals here, they were in an impossible position, as would/will be any party which is a minority with significant support.

    If they refuse a coalition, you get a “minority” President, I mean, Prime Minister, and inevitably another election in short order- in which Liberal voters will desert and vote either Labour or Tory to get a decisive majority. If OTOH they go into a coalition, they are ruined, because the voters who voted for them see their votes going to prop up the major party, who they didn’t like.

    We could solve all this by directly electing the President, I mean, Prime Minister, so that MPs would actually be constituency representatives.

    It’s a grotesquely bad system. No sane person would design it this way from scratch.

  13. Never a truer word was spoken, Ian. Why our trans-Atlantic cousins decided to elect a 4 year King, I mean President.
    Drawing the Executive from the legislature gives it the power of patronage over all those MPs scrabbling round the trough. And the guarantee that none that occupy the positions are any sodding good at their jobs. The LimpDims would be a much better force for democracy if they didn’t have a shot at government. Actually so would all the MPs. And we might actually get people running things who knew what they were doing.
    Yanks haven’t done too bad the last couple centuries have they? Despite the last 2 or 3 incumbents. Shame, when the won the British Civil War in ’76, they didn’t sail east & finish the job.

  14. bloke in spain,

    Yanks haven’t done too bad the last couple centuries have they? Despite the last 2 or 3 incumbents. Shame, when the won the British Civil War in ’76, they didn’t sail east & finish the job.

    The US has a government system that is built around a process that stops kings/dictators taking over. That’s what it’s all about. The main thing is that you don’t have knee-jerk reactions to things. If a politician in the US wanted to bring in something like Leveson, they could, but it would take a change to the Constitution, which is a long process. And a long process allows people to cool off and actually think about things calmly rather than their rage ruling their minds.

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