Archive for the 'UKIP' Category


A BREXIT indicator? UKIP’s National Equivalent Vote share down by nearly half in 3 years

Monday, May 9th, 2016

UKIP youth

Thursday saw UKIP winning just 2% of the first past the post seats

Given that the dominant political story at the moment is the EU referendum it has been rather surprising that so little attention has been paid to UKIP – the party which very wisely concentrated its resources on the PR-based list seats in Wales rather than first past the post elections in the English locals.

They certainly had success in Wales and also picked up two PR based seats on the London Assembly but the English local were more than just disappointing. A large proportion of the seats up were in Labour heartlands – just the sort of area where they’ve appeared to be doing well.

    Yes they made gains but their overall total of council seats taken was 58 or just 2% of the seats at stake. Contrast that with 2013 when UKIP won or retained 147 seats, 6% of those contested and a net gain of 139.

They’ve also lost their coveted 3rd place on vote position to the Lib Dems who won seven times as many council seats.

It is very true that first past the post works against the smaller parties as we saw at GE2015 when they only got one MP.

Mike Smithson


How Port Talbot could give us a pointer to the EURef

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016


Will UKIP fare well in Wales?

In the hot-house of political reporting and comment, individual stories invariably seem more important at the time than they subsequently turn out to be. The future of the Port Talbot steel works is likely to be one such case. Although the closure or even mothballing of the plant would be disastrous for the town and the people who live and work there, for most of Wales – never mind the country beyond – the impact will fade as the reporters move on.

Had the plant been in Scotland, the media political analysts would no doubt have paid a good deal of attention to the announcement’s impact on the Holyrood campaign but Welsh politics has never commanded the same degree of attention from London. Beyond Offa’s Dyke lies a land of dragons; fearful to behold and dangerous to enter. Consequently, the prism through which it’s analysed is the comfortably familiar one of Westminster. As an aside, Tata is looking to get out of Scotland too but the plants there are smaller and the announcement came at a less politically charged moment.

But if the London government has been behind the game in anticipating and responding to Tata’s decision, doesn’t the same go for its counterpart in Cardiff? Electorally, there’s a lot to be won from coming out of the right side of both the blame game and the aspirant workers’ champion.

That’s not least because the outcome of the Welsh Assembly elections is very much in the balance. Labour won exactly half the seats in the Assembly in 2012 off 37% of the list vote; this year they’re polling in the low-thirties. That’s about 10% clear of the Conservatives with Plaid a few points back and UKIP running a strong fourth in the mid-teens.

If winning half the seats from only 37% of the vote doesn’t sound like a very PR kind of outcome, that’s because it’s not. Only one-third of the seats are top-ups so a party that can dominate the constituency results off a relatively small vote share – as Labour does: they won 28 of the 40 seats in 2011 – will outperform their notional PR entitlement.

According to an analysis by Roger Scully of Cardiff University, the latest (and very large) YouGov poll would translate under UNS to an outcome in seats of:

Lab 27, Plaid 13, Con 11, UKIP 7, LD 2

Which would presumably leave Labour reliant on Plaid’s support, one way or another. It would also perhaps give UKIP their most visible representation in the UK (though note how UKIP, with slightly under half Labour’s share, wins only a quarter the number of Labour’s seats).

However, it’s UKIP where the situation gets interesting. For one thing, UNS won’t be applicable to them; it never is when a party rises from nearly nothing (4.6% in 2011) to a meaningful presence. For another, Wales offers more historic examples of Labour under-performing their polling. Have the pollsters sorted that problem out or might that lead be whittled yet further?

But there’s also the European angle. Europe is likely to dominate the political narrative in the media throughout April and beyond: that ought to offer far more opportunities than dangers to UKIP.

Which is where we come full circle because any attempt to ‘save’ Port Talbot would have to be compliant with EU rules and tariffs at the moment. Whether or not it would be a good idea to nationalise the plant, the fact is that state aid is tightly regulated and anti-Chinese protectionist measures can only be worked through the EU. At the moment, neither option is likely to be meaningfully available, something the Leave campaign have been making much of that today. They would be fools to let the issue drop any time soon.

Of course, ‘Leave’ and UKIP are far from synonymous and the idea that Leave will deliberately try to coordinate its efforts to boost the performance of the party whose purpose is to secure EU exit is probably fanciful; it doesn’t seem inclined to coordinate its efforts with either of the other Leaves in the referendum.

Still, both UKIP and Leave have been handed a very useful campaigning weapon, if one that’s probably time-limited. Come May 6, we could do far worse in looking for pointers towards the referendum result than to check out how far the Port Talbot effect has spread through South West Wales.

David Herdson


The woman Farage sacked is 6/4 favourite to succeed him as UKIP leader

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Former UKIP star Suzanne Evans discusses her suspension from   YouTube

A big political story before the Easter weekend was the suspension for six months of leading UKIP figure, Suzanne Evans, who for a few days last May was acting leader of the party.

She stood in after Farage carried out his promised resignation on the Friday after the general election only to return as leader the following week.

Evans, a former BBC journalist and CON councillor, had become one of the most effective communicators for her party and had hopes of being elected to the Greater London Assembly on Msy 5th. Her six month suspension which she sought to contest in the courts means that she won’t be on the UKIP list for the election.

I don’t claim to have any insight into UKIP’s internal politics and have no view of the betting odds. My one observation is that not having a communicators as effective as Evans in a leading position is a big mistake. She is someone with the ability to reach a wider audience than most in the UKIP leadership.

Mike Smithson


Why the decline of the BNP is good news for Farage’s UKIP

Friday, January 8th, 2016

The news this afternoon that the BNP is no longer officially a political party has been dismissed by party officials as an oversight. The move has, apparently, been caused by the failure of the party to send in the fee of £25 by the the due date with the result that it has been removed from the official list.

This means that BNP candidates won’t use the party’s name, description or emblems on ballot papers. But it’s expected that things will be put right by the May elections.

Whatever an admin failure like this does suggest that all is not well at BNP towers and the party is struggling.

The chart above suggested that the main beneficiary of the BNP fading out of the picture will be UKIP.

Mike Smithson


Immigration might be the most important issue facing the country but it isn’t the only issue

Sunday, December 20th, 2015

If UKIP and Leave want to make further progress and win the referendum they need to talk about things other than immigration.

We see in the Ipsos Mori issues index (and in other polling) on a regular and consistent basis immigration/immigrants as the most important issue facing the UK yet if immigration/immigrants really was the most important issue then UKIP would have picked up more than one seat in May as David Cameron’s spectacular failure to cut net immigration in the last parliament would have damaged the Tory Party’s electoral prospects at the general election.

My own belief is the voters don’t focus on just the main issue when choosing how to vote, they look at a range of issues and judge which side has the best overall policies on these issues, I suspect the EU referendum will be no different. Another factor is when the question is asked slightly differently by YouGov And which of the following do you think are the most important issues facing you and your family? Immigration falls to third place behind the NHS and the economy.

The other way the Tories got around the immigration issue at the election was to pretty much ignore the issue and focus on other things. During the election campaign the Tory themes were nothing to do with immigration, but about the economy, the extra funds into the NHS, competence versus chaos, and of course the SNP. In ‘The British General Election of 2015’ book, Philip Cowley and Dennis Kavanagh noted

But the [Tory] party leadership calculated any attempt to win back the majority of Ukip supporters might alienate more moderate voters.

The book reads: “In 2012 an internal note for the Prime Minister noted: ‘There is nothing we could realistically say to persuade Ukip considerers that David Cameron’s Conservative Party shares (or even sympathises with) their general sense of cultural threat and anger about the pace of change in modern society.’

“Or rather, there was, but only at the cost of driving away other voters ‘upon whom our prospects of electoral victory depend’.”

This week it was reported about the recent failed talks between The Leavers People’s Front and The People’s Front for Leave to unify the two Leave camps

During what is described as a “cordial” meeting, Mills and Hodson were frank about their reservations. They cited what they see as Banks’ “erratic” behaviour and his determination to put immigration at the heart of the Brexit campaign as key barriers to a full merger. They also raised the thorny question of the role to be played by Nigel Farage, over which the rival campaigns disagree. (Vote Leave believes Farage is too divisive and politically damaged to lead the campaign, whereas believes he must be at the forefront.)

So if are designated the official Leave campaign then expect them to focus a lot on immigration during the referendum campaign, this would be a mistake. One of the reasons I expected UKIP to do poorly in terms of seats was the polling prior to the general election showed the voters saw UKIP as the most extreme party and UKIP were more likely to have candidates with racist or offensive views than other political parties.

Farage’s HIV comments (as in the above video clip) might have reinforced those perceptions and put off the voters UKIP needed to win parliamentary seats, frankly it came across as nasty. You can understand why some voters might have voted tactically against UKIP in some seats.

There are arguments for Brexit other than immigration such as, inter alia, on economic grounds, protecting the City of London and on sovereignty grounds. 27% might be enough to win the European elections, but it won’t be enough to win a referendum. A referendum is a glorified First Past The Post election and UKIP have a poor record in First Past The Post elections, for those wanting to see Brexit, they most hope Leave doesn’t make the mistake UKIP did in May.

To win Leave needs to not keep banging on about immigration but present a positive and non nasty view about what Remaining in the EU/Brexit means for the future of the UK. Focusing solely on voters whose only issue is immigration will not win the referendum for Leave, there just aren’t that many type of voters as the results in May showed.



By two to one UKIP voters tell YouGov that Donald Trump’s controversial Muslim immigration ban call was appropriate

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015


Why it might not be wise for UKIP to go too hard on expenses and allowances in Oldham

Friday, November 20th, 2015

This from the UKIP candidate

And a bit of history


In Oldham UKIP needs to be bettering or matching its Heywood and Middleton performance to show it still has momentum

Wednesday, November 11th, 2015

With the EU dominating the headlines the time should be ripe for the Purples

Because it is the first by-election of the current parliament and because of its proximity to Heywood & Middleton where UKIP came very close just over a year ago expectations are running very high for UKIP in Oldham.

The candidate is the same and, like Heywood, Oldham West and Royton as a constituency appears quite similar. So inevitably last year’s by-election outcome will be the yardstick on UKIP success/failure will be judged.

    Just getting a good second place won’t be enough – the LAB majority, if that is indeed what happens, needs to be kept in the hundreds not thousands.

This is particularly important because domestic politics is now so dominated by the EU referendum. A UKIP win or strong showing will send out a powerful message and Nigel Farage clearly knows that.

We know from past experience how Labour finds it challenging getting its vote out in heartland seats when the government of the country is not at stake.

Given how poorly constituency polls performed at the general election I’m not sure that we are going to see any by-election specific surveys. If you are having a punt then you are likely to be flying blind.

Second place and party performance betting markets are likely to come on stream shortly. Ladbrokes have the same price 5/6 on whether the LDs will or will not lose their deposit by failing to secure 5%. I’m on them doing it.

Mike Smithson