Sunday, 16 February 2014

UKIP protest vote? You're Not Even Close



The Wythenshaw and Sale East by election has come and gone with the predictable result of an emphatic Labour win. All eyes were on UKIP and how well they would do. The answer is that they did dreadfully. With the Lib Dems in Government they are only convenient protest party for voters to turn to and should have done a whole lot better. The by election was held with a little more than 400 days until the next General Election. A close parallel would be the 1991 Ribble Valley by election where Nigel Evans was selected to defend David Waddington's thumping majority of almost 20,000. The result was predicted to be a shoe in for Nigel Evans but, as is now well known, the Liberal Democrats chalked up one of the biggest electoral upsets in modern times, making Michael Carr the, albeit short lived, MP for Ribble Valley with a majority of over 4,500. These days a majority like that would barely make it to the Conservative's 40:40 list. This was extreme but not a one off, Newburgh, Christchurch, Eastleigh, Eastbourne; all were the spoils of the Lib Dem protest vote machine and some have even remained Lib Dem since. Fast forward 23 years from Ribble Valley and we find ourselves, again, 400 or so days from the next General Election. It was clear from the result in Wythenshaw that with the Lib Dems in Goverment they are no longer the protest vote but the Conservative vote held well as the party of Government in a reasonably strong Labour area. The real news is that the usual mid term protest vote didn't materialise to any great extent with UKIP falling massively short of anything remotely noteworthy. When it comes to protest votes UKIP aren't a patch on the Lib Dems who were able to overturn massive majorities time and time again.  With their position of protest vote usurped by UKIP it would not be a huge leap of faith to believe that they could come close to taking a seat, or even take one. The fact is UKIP's pretences of being a political force are not being realised enough to win seats, far from it. The real threat of UKIP is as it ever was, they will never win any seats in 2015 but will make sure that Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister. The mystery is why are UKIP working so hard to ensure a Labour majority?

See also ...
Nigel Farage, Prime Minister ,  
UKIP Government, The First 100 Days  
UKIP Government, The Cracks Begin to Show , 
UKIP, Back to Obscurity