Friday, May 23, 2014

UKIP surge : what now?

If nothing else, the success of UKIP in the English local elections has been a PR disaster for Labour.  Without the emergence of a populist anti-establishment party led by a public schoolboy stockbroker, the routine protest vote against an incumbent government would have been hoovered up by Labour, who would have racked up a sizeable lead in the national popular vote.  That would have been built on candy floss, but nevertheless it might have created the illusion in some Scottish minds that Ed Miliband was heading towards Downing Street.  I haven't seen the BBC national projected vote shares yet (perhaps it's being revealed as I write this!), but if the changes reported in key wards are anything to go by Labour are going to have a lead over the Tories of somewhere in the region of 2%.  That is an absolutely hopeless position for them at this stage in the electoral cycle.

The flip side of all this, though, is the effect on the opinion polls of the UKIP surge in the coming days and weeks.  We know that most UKIP voters are disaffected Tories, so a snowball effect would have the potential of harming the Tories disproportionately and leaving Labour with a bigger lead (albeit on a very low share of the vote).  But the fact that UKIP have done so well against Labour in the north of England may mean that the rules of the game are changing rapidly.  If Farage's mob are no longer being seen as the Tory B Team in places like Sunderland and Hull, Ed Miliband's (and Blair McDougall's) worst nightmares may all have come true at once.


  1. Sunshine on CrieffMay 23, 2014 at 6:08 PM

    The BBC's projected national share of the vote suggests that in a Britain-wide election:-

    Labour 31%
    Conservatives 29%
    UKIP 17%
    Liberal Democrats 13%.

    So a 2% gap seems correct.

  2. There's going to be a kipper honeymoon period for a couple of weeks where they enjoy their success and the extreme discomfort of labour, the tories and the lib dems, but I still strongly doubt they will get any snowball effect and keep charging forward in the polls after that. It's not what happened last May after all.

    The kippers do still have the Newark by-election on 5th June but it's a by-election the kippers are very far from guaranteed to win. If they lose then that will hardly play well for them and it will also focus minds on the GE and just who can or cannot win any MPs.

    I see it didn't take long for tory MPs to start running about like headless chickens as I knew and said they would.

    Most of them are trying to raise the prospect of a tory kipper election pact or tory kipper 'deals'.

    Something that would hardly go down well with the scottish public in the run up to the referendum. Something that may even perhaps be be worth highlighting a great deal more to scottish voters.

    The prospect of a tory kipper election pact and deals will hammer home to the scottish public just how far right rUK politics have gone. It also reminds scots very clearly just what Farage and the kippers are really about.

    I can think of few things more hilarious and fitting than the damage that could be done to Farage and the kippers by their closeness to the tories and willingness to do a deal with them - given that the tories have been the ones hypocritically shrieking the loudest about the dangers of kippers obsessed with immigration.

  3. I know this is old news, but the ICM referendum poll has a gender balance of Male: 45% Female: 55% in the full sample when all the other pollsters show Male: 48% Female: 52%. I find that kind of worrying.

  4. What's interesting to me is that while UKIP have clearly increased their number of council seats vastly from last time, they haven't got control of a single council. It is as though their appeal is to that 15-20% of disillusioned/protest voting/xenophobic/bigoted/muppet-brained voters which probably exists in equal proportion across every community. They could therefore poll 20% in the general election and still end up with hardly any MPs, thanks (truly, for once) to the grossly unrepresentative FPTP system.

    However, as has been pointed out, when it comes to the GE, Kippers are more likely to vote tactically to keep Labour out, so their vote is unlikely to reach the heights that these council or Euro elections will.

    They are capitalising on a wave of scepticism against the prevailing system but in the absence of anything remotely resembling policies dealing with every aspect of governing the country they are doomed to minority party spoiler status, even while they signify a deeply unpleasant shift to the right in British society. And I say British advisedly, because their popularity seems to have increased significantly in Scotland too, where sadly a large number of people seem to agree with their misguided messages on immigration.