Saturday, 11 October 2014

By election week - My thoughts

This week was by election week with two high profile seats up for grabs. With UKIP targeting both seats and fighting hard, one against Labour and one against the Conservative. Both where considered to be safe seats for the respective parties.

The first seat, which was Clacton and was called when the former Conservative MP, Douglas Carswell resigned from the Conservative Party and as a MP. Then he re-stood in the By-Election. He was considered a very popular constituent MP and was it was considered that he would retake the seat, only this time as a UKIP MP. In fact he would be the first ever elected MP.

The second Seat was the traditional Labour Seat of Heywood and Middleton after the sudden death of Labour MP, Jim Dobbin. In this seat Labour had a majority of over 6000 so that was considered a safe seat for Labour and it was expected that Labour would retain that seat. During the campaign for this seat UKIP put up a big fight and the week before the election it was becoming more evident that UKIP was putting a big dent into Labour's majority. The question was how much of a dent?
Back down in Clacton the questions were can UKIP get their first ever elected MP and if so how much of a majority can they achieve. Big stakes indeed after this was considered a safe Conservative seat.

So Friday morning came and the votes started to arrive in. Given that I wake up numerous times during the night and my interest in politics I kept watching to see the results come in. The first was Heywood and Middleton, the safe seat for Labour. The dent that UKIP was expected to put into Labour’s majority was colossal. It was so colossal they nearly won the seat. The dent had come down to a little over 600. Massive dent indeed. The Conservatives have a slogan at the minute for next year’s election. Vote UKIP get Labour. I think it is fair to say in this case it would be more appropriate for UKIP to use the slogan Vote Conservative and get Labour. Given that the Conservative candidate only got over 3000 votes. If UKIP had used that slogan and got 9% of the Conservatives to use their vote strategically then they might have stolen this seat off Labour. What a victory that would have been.

Later in the night the Clacton vote came in and the former Conservative MP Douglas Carswell won the seat, which was expected but what was clearly not expected was the size of the majority that he would get. Over 12,000! This is a not only a comfortable majority but incredible for their first ever elected MP. To get that majority Mr Carswell took nearly 60% of the vote. Unlike the Heywood election where I just described that had UKIP targeted Conservative votes and said lend us your vote otherwise you get Labour, in the case of Clacton if all the other candidates had said just vote for just Conservative candidate, as they were the second largest party, then that strategy wouldn’t have worked as 6 out of every 10 votes cast went to UKIP. That is an amazing achievement. I know a little about this as I too polled nearly 60% when I stood in the Local Election in Standish in 2012.

I know the two main parties will take some comfort that in a general election turnout goes up considerably for them to maybe around 60% but for me there is a massive dynamite stick – the 40% that don’t vote because they just don’t care for the main parties. With the huge interest in UKIP if UKIP can tap into floating voters of the 40% that don't naturally vote then that would be a great statically advantage for UKIP. I guess that the main stream parties need to try and engage with this 40% as well otherwise this sleeping giant could awake and roar.

I think it is fair to assume, to some degree, that politics in the UK is up in the air and anything can happen. The question is can UKIP regain the momentum that they are riding high on at this moment or will they fade. I would surmise that if they fail to make big in roads in the next year General election that would be a real possibility that they would fade but should they make gains then history could be in the making and a new kid is on the block.   

I guess people have the power back in their hands!


  1. Remember the SDP's go out and prepare for government speech?Come election time they did sod all.UKIP will do the same.

  2. yes , all the Nimbys will revert to type and vote Tory ; after all there will be a tax cut just before the subsequent election


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