Archive for the 'UKIP' Category


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


John Bickley looks set to be UKIP’s choice in Oldham & Royton

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

Can he repeat his Heywood & Middleton magic?

One of the huge shocks, and what in retrospect turned out to be a good pointer to GE2015, was the way that UKIP ran LAB so close in the October 2014 by-election Heywood & Middleton which is very close to Oldham.

This, like Oldham & Royton, was in traditionally rock solid Labour territory yet UKIP got very near. What was particularly striking was how the polls got that election so wrong grossly over-stating the eventual LAB winning margin which turned out to be a foretaste of the general election.

Bickley is personable and a very experienced campaigner and could do very well on December 3rd – the date of the Oldham vote. The Ladbrokes 8/1 looks tempting.

Mike Smithson


Farage and UKIP the big gainers in the October Ipsos phone poll

Monday, October 26th, 2015


The great grad-non grad voting divide in both the US and UK

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

The above table highlights a big trend in the Republican primaries which has strong echoes in the UK. The quite different voting patterns of those who went to university and those who didn’t.

In the US at the moment this is highlighted by the make up of those supporting Donald Trump for the GOP nomination. In the UK it is seen in the way that graduates are much more likely to want to remain in the EU than non-graduates.

This was also a big feature at the general election in the distribution of the UKIP vote. The best indicator of whether a particular seat would have a large UKIP vote was if a higher than average proportion of people in the constituency were non-graduates.

Trump and Farage’s party UKIP both in their own ways appeal to very similar groups of voters. There’s a heavy opposition to political correctness in their rhetoric and, of course, there’s a similar focus on immigration.

Mike Smithson


The Blue and the Purple – the threat of a Tory civil war over the EU

Sunday, October 25th, 2015

Cameron European

Antifrank on the potential for a big divide

David Cameron is a popular leader of the Conservative party.  He has consistently outpolled it, tugging it along in his wake.  His brisk, warm, unideological Conservativism (which is closer to the Christian Democracy found on the continent than to the Thatcherism that has prevailed in the Conservative party for the last 30 years in Britain) appeals to many.

Many, but not all.  His leftwing opponents outside his party are predictable.  Less predictably, he has drawn out an unremitting hostility on the traditionalist right, particularly in his own Parliamentary party among older MPs.  Prime Ministers always accumulate enemies among MPs whose careers never took off or were abruptly curtailed.

    This Prime Minister has accumulated them almost exclusively on one wing of his party.  He has found that he can make do without the services of David Davis, Liam Fox and Owen Paterson. Only Iain Duncan Smith from the traditionalist right has so far lasted the course in Cabinet.

    Following the establishment of the coalition in 2010, he established a Cabinet in the image of Nick Clegg and himself.  When the Conservatives gained their overall majority in May 2015, rather than taking the opportunity to accommodate the traditionalist right of his party, he chose to stick with the same balance.

In the euphoria of the election victory, most Conservatives did not notice this.  But the traditionalist right remains firmly out in the cold.  David Cameron keeps his friends close, as has been widely remarked upon.  He clearly does not believe in keeping his enemies closer.

This would not matter much ordinarily.  They can conspire against David Cameron as much as they like but while he remains popular in the wider party with a secure support base on the left and centre of the Parliamentary party and the enthusiastic gratitude of the 2015 MPs, the traditionalist right would be reduced to guerrilla attacks on very specific subjects in tacit co-operation with the real opposition parties.  I expect that David Cameron could live with that quite happily.

These are not ordinary times.  The landmark event of this Parliament is likely to be the EU referendum.  On this, the traditionalist right of the Conservative party will fancy themselves to be the intellectual leaders of the Leave campaign.  They will also expect to exert a lot of influence on many of their Parliamentary colleagues.

For many years the Conservative party was split into three camps: Europhiles; Eurosceptics and the undecided.  The Conservatives are now split into two camps: on the one hand those for whom the EU referendum is the biggest political decision since the Reformation – as, unbelievably, Owen Paterson has described it – and who can talk and think of nothing else (“the live-and-breathers”); and, on the other hand those who heartily wish that the whole subject would just go away (“the pillow buriers”).

David Cameron is a founder member of the pillow buriers.  In his first conference speech as Conservative leader, he told his party that they had alienated voters by banging on about Europe.  He is now going to bang on about Europe for a couple of years or so.  On his own analysis, this does not sound like a promising strategy for his party to follow.

The Conservative party is currently in a holding pattern.  Before David Cameron announces what his renegotiation has achieved, it suits neither side to prejudge the outcome (even though we could probably write down long lists of Conservative MPs who will be Remainders and Leavers with a fair degree of accuracy today).

So both sides politely stress the need to see what can be achieved while using subtle inflections to suggest what they consider the likelihood or otherwise of David Cameron bringing home sufficient bacon.  In the meantime, every political topic is seen through a prism of EU membership.  We haven’t yet had an EU referendum angle on the tax credits reforms, but give it time and I’m sure someone will find one.

But this is where the traditionalist right’s loathing of David Cameron matters.  They don’t like him and they sure as hell don’t trust him.  They think that he is going to rig the vote against them and they’re determined not to let that happen.  So far they have sniped at him over the wording of the referendum question, kept pawing at whether and to what extent the government will go into purdah during the referendum campaign and are now calling for him to suspend collective Cabinet responsibility on the subject of the EU referendum.  They are approaching these subjects in the same way that the Americans approached discussions with the Iranians over the nuclear talks, with the same complete absence of any goodwill.

What will happen once the renegotiation is announced?  The live-and-breathers will declare that the renegotiation is nowhere near good enough.  David Cameron will commend it with measured but palpable enthusiasm.  Then the pillow buriers will need to reach their decisions.

In this respect at least, they will be very representative of the wider British public.  The public aren’t enthusiastic about the EU and some aspects of it enrage them.  Equally, they have a general sense that it probably gives benefits to Britain that they don’t fully appreciate.  Whether national identity or perceived economic interest wins out will be a personal decision for each pillow-burying Conservative MP, depending in considerable part on temperament and the extent of their desire to show loyalty to the party hierarchy.

Such MPs will not wish to see the party split over the question of EU membership and will work hard to avoid such an outcome.  The challenge that the Conservatives are going to face is to ensure that the live-and-breathers keep their passion on a short leash.  Words are easier spoken than unspoken and aggressive hostility is likely to be met with the same.  It is easy to see how bitter civil war could break out with no one really wanting it.

There are undoubtedly more pillow buriers than live-and-breathers, but the live-and-breathers are quite numerous enough to create havoc if they get out of control.  Will the Conservatives have enough self-discipline to keep their ranks under control?  I guess there’s a first time for everything.  The smart money must be factoring in the high likelihood that by the end of the referendum campaign some Conservatives will not be on speaking terms.



UKIP are doing a passable impression of ferrets in a sack again

Sunday, September 27th, 2015

For a party with only one MP such regular ructions is a real achievement

The above is a tweet from Douglas Carswell quoting an article about the UKIP donor Arron Banks, the rest of Douglas Carswell’s twitter feed over the past few days has been similarly entertaining about his disagreements and issues with Banks and his staff.

Whilst all of this amusing to non UKIPers it might have wider ramifications for UK politics, especially with Arron Banks telling campaigners ‘I have Nigel by the short and curlies financially.’

It makes defections to UKIP less likely given the opprobrium heaped upon Douglas Carswell by some in UKIP since the election and Mark Reckless losing his seat in May and is now attempting to revive his career by standing in next year’s Welsh assembly elections, defecting to UKIP is the equivalent of the Kiss of Death for one’s career. As is opposing/criticising  Nigel Farage as Suzanne Evans has found out to her cost again this weekend. 

With Labour appearing to place ideological purity ahead of electability, the migrant crisis and with the forthcoming EU referendum, UKIP have a historic opportunity to reshape the fabric of this country but right now they appear to be declining that opportunity whilst opponents of UKIP are struggling to contain their glee.

Forget all the post election council by elections showing UKIP generally doing badly, forget the opinion polls, the key stat for UKIP is the following one, ten per cent of UKIP members have left the party since the election. The People’s Army is demobilising before their most important battle, that does not bode well for UKIP and could damage the wider Leave movement if not handled well.


PS – It is exactly one year ago today that Mark Reckless defected to UKIP, if a week is a long time in politics, a year must feel like an aeon for Mark Reckless


New study suggests that UKIP’s “2020 strategy” is going to be challenging

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

House of Commons Library blog – Steven Ayres

In 5/6ths its 120 GE15 2nd places it faces majorities of 10%+

In the aftermath of May 7th UKIP was taking some comfort from the 120 second places it had chalked up suggesting that this provided a good platform for next time. Maybe.

Steven Ayres on the House of Commons Library blog has produced an interesting analysis of Farage’s party’s performance and the potential to build on its record GE15.

His chart says it all. The party might have chalked up 120 second places but in the vast majority of these seats it was a long way behind.

The regional split in the post is interesting. UKIP took 40% of the second places in the South East in the majority displacing the LDs.

Mike Smithson