Coffee House

Could Farage win if he stands in Thanet South?

7 July 2014

5:12 PM

7 July 2014

5:12 PM

Will he or won’t he stand in Thanet South? Nigel Farage’s name has been circulating in connection with this constituency for months, after the sitting Tory MP Laura Sandys announced she was standing down. But it’s all grown a whole lot more complicated in the past few days because a former Ukip member, Craig Mackinlay, has been selected to stand for the Conservatives. Now, the Ukip leader must decide whether standing against a former comrade will weaken his appeal in the seat.

But how strong is that appeal anyway? The following data allows the households within Thanet South constituency to be segmented into 69 distinct demographic groups, and the chart below shows the demographic profile of Thanet South. The coloured bars represent the proportion of households from each demographic group in Thanet South. The hollow black bars represent the proportion of households from each demographic group in England & Wales.

Demographics

Click to expand

Here are the descriptions of these groups, together with the proportion of households in the seat, and their likely voting behaviour and turnout record.

  • A4 Villagers with few well-paid alternatives to agricultural employment (2.06% of households; most likely Conservative, but some UKIP support; good turnout)
  • B5 Better-off empty nesters in low density estates on town fringes (5.13%; most likely Con, some UKIP; very good turnout)
  • B6 Self-employed trades people living in smaller communities (3.54%; equal Con/UKIP split; good turnout)
  • B7 Empty nester owner occupiers making little use of public services (4.22%; equal Con/UKIP split; good turnout)
  • B8 Mixed communities with many single people in the centres of small towns (5.34%; most likely Con, some UKIP or LD; good turnout)
  • D15 Well-off commuters living in spacious houses in semi-rural settings  (2.1%; most likely Con or LD; excellent turnout)
  • G33 Transient singles, poorly supported by family and neighbours (5.6%; most likely Labour; poor turnout)
  • I43 Older town centres terraces with transient, single populations (3.8%; most likely Labour, but more recently UKIP; poor turnout)
  • I44 Low income families occupying poor quality older terraces (2.99%; most likely Labour, more recently UKIP; poor turnout)
  • J45 Low income communities reliant on low skill industrial jobs (4.67%; most likely Labour, more recently UKIP; poor turnout)
  • J46 Residents in blue collar communities revitalised by commuters (3.77%; most likely Con, some UKIP or LD; good turnout)
  • K48 Middle-aged couples and families in right-to-buy homes (3.04%; most likely Labour, more recently some UKIP; poor turnout)
  • L52 Communities of wealthy older people living in large seaside houses (4.39%; most likely Con, some UKIP; good turnout)
  • L54 Retired people of modest means commonly living in seaside bungalows (4.99%; equal split Con/UKIP; good turnout)
  • L55 Capable older people leasing / owning flats in purpose built blocks (1.79%; equal split Con/LD; good turnout)
  • M56 Older people living on social housing estates with limited budgets (3.77; UKIP then Labour; poor turnout)
  • M57 Old people in flats subsisting on welfare payments (2.14%; Labour; very poor turnout)
  • M58 Less mobile older people requiring a degree of care (1.62%; LD or Con; good turnout)
  • M59 People living in social accommodation designed for older people (1.66%; Labour; poor turnout)
  • N60 Tenants in social housing flats on estates at risk of serious social problems (1.19%; Labour; poor turnout)
  • N61 Childless tenants in social housing flats with modest social needs (2.89%; most likely Labour; very poor turnout)
  • O68 Families with varied structures living on low rise social housing estates (2.62%; Labour or UKIP; poor turnout)

One important factor in Thanet South, and perhaps a key reason why Farage may choose the seat, is that there are fewer younger households than would be expected nationally and almost no student households. Younger voters and students are not convinced by UKIPs narrow focus on immigration and Europe or their conservative social views. A lack of younger voters increases the median age of residents in Thanet South, which Farage and the Conservatives would welcome. Thanet South is also a constituency with small proportions of ethnic minority residents, again a demographic with which UKIP has struggled to find support. Finally the poorer demographic groups (N62 to O69, with the exception of O68) are not strongly represented in the constituency; groups which lean towards Labour. The combination of these factors mean the constituency plays very well for both the Conservatives and UKIP, and not so well for either the Liberal Democrats or Labour.

Using the voting behaviour of each of the demographic groups, it is possible to portray the political ‘balance’ of areas within Thanet South. Balance measures simply reflect the sum of all the demographic groups’ voting behaviour in particular areas. For example, if an area contained 100% poor households the balance would clearly be tilted towards Labour, based on previous voting behaviour. Where the demographic composition is balanced more equally between groups the likely reception for any particular party is less definitive. The maps below show the likely reception for each of the four main parties in Thanet South, based on the demographic composition of neighbourhoods and their prior voting behaviour (in the 2005 and 2010 general elections and the 2012 and 2014 local elections).

Conrec

labrec

UKIPrec

[Alt-Text]


LDrec

These maps display the relative political leanings of particular areas within Thanet South. Although the UKIP and Conservative maps may seem similar there are some subtle but noticeable differences. For instance UKIP can expect a slightly better reception than the Conservatives in the areas around Ramsgate and Margate. Where the reception for UKIP in these areas is broadly neutral, for the Conservatives these areas are likely to be fairly unreceptive to their charms. Why? Because these areas are home to lower income families or transient singles in terraced houses (I43s and I44s in the list above) that vote Labour but have also more recently been attracted to UKIP. These groups will most certainly not be voting Conservative.

How have the voters of Thanet South behaved in the recent past? The following map shows the results of the 2013 Kent county elections in the constituency. The winning party is shaded (blue = Con, purple = UKIP) and the percentage vote share is shown on the map for the Conservatives, UKIP and Labour.

2013Elections

UKIP performed extremely well in the 2013 elections as the map shows. Farage has always stated he would only stand in a seat where the party has an established local presence in terms of councillors and vote share. This condition has been met in Thanet South.

In the 2011 Thanet and Dover local elections UKIP only stood in four of the twenty wards in Thanet South where elections were held, so the results are not as indicative as 2013 in terms of how UKIP performed.

2011Elections

The vote tallies from the recent European elections in Dover and Thanet are also worth considering. While these elections are low in turnout and not that reliable as a measure of general election vote intention the results for UKIP are again strong. The map below shows the results for the two counting areas of Dover and Thanet, together with the boundaries of the Thanet South constituency (dotted line):

2014Elections

Taken together the above results point to some electoral strength for UKIP in the constituency. Council and European election successes embolden the local party and help with recruitment drives. They also further legitimise the party in the eyes of voters and Farage will be hoping to point to the competence of newly-elected councillors as exemplars of UKIP in office.

Finally, there are the results of the last four general elections to consider. It is important to understand that the boundaries of the constituency were changed for the 2010 general election. However the record of the three main parties in recent general elections has been mixed.

Labour has seen their vote share fall from 46% in 1997 to 31% in 2010, a loss of over 6,000 votes. However there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic for Labour in the seat. The party has consistently punched above its weight in the constituency when compared to the rest of the south-east, a region where Labour has struggled to break 30% since 1997. The party suffered vote share losses between 2005 and 2010 but broadly in line with the national and regional swings, and the party will hope their uptick in vote intention polling since 2010 will be reflected in an improved performance in the seat. If Farage runs as a candidate, it may open a path for Labour to regain the seat in a tight three-way contest. This provides a quandary for Labour HQ; if they go hard after UKIP they risk handing seats like Thanet South to the Conservatives. Go easy and UKIP begins to stake a claim as the party of opposition in the Labour heartlands.

For the Conservatives the seat should present good ground. The demographics are good, turnout amongst their groups here is strong. However their sitting MP, Laura Sandys, has already announced her intention to step down in 2015 and at the time of writing the party has yet to announce a candidate. Since 1997 the party has seen its vote share rise from 40% to 48%, broadly in line with the momentum in voting intention polling over that time. It remains to be seen how the deflation in Conservative poll numbers will be reflected in 2015 but the worry must be that UKIP will eat further into their base. The Conservatives have little choice but to adopt a firebreak strategy, using negative campaign tactics to separate the burning fires of the right-wing of the party with the relative calm of the centre ground.

For UKIP the strategy will be to sneak out a close win in a three-way race between themselves, Labour and the Conservatives. The party needs to draw votes from both parties. However this is a strategy that has thus far only resulted in respectable seconds in by-elections up and down the country. There is a limit to how far this approach can take the party, and the strategy has a natural ceiling. This could be why Farage may choose to concentrate on seats where lower vote shares could win the seat. Polling of the constituency carried out by Survation has shown that UKIP are in second behind Labour (35%) at 30% with the Conservatives on 28% – and this was long before any suggestion that Farage might stand there.

One fascinating aspect of UKIPs rise has been how it has destroyed the neatly arranged strategies of both Labour and the Conservatives. Across the country UKIP presents first- and second-order impacts for the main parties. In some seats UKIP vote share will likely determine the winner although the party will have little chance of winning. In other seats they represent a genuine challenge for the seat in tight three-way marginals. It remains to be seen whether the possible involvement of Farage means Thanet South is an example of the former or the latter. One thing’s for sure; the hostelries of Ramsgate and Margate can expect a bumper May 2015.

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Show comments
  • Blakenburg

    Choice between the Peoples Party or the old Westminster Establishment parties !

  • jmjm208

    I live in South Thanet and there is a huge amount of UKIP support in the area. Farage will win if he stands

  • Shorne

    I lived in Minster-in-Thanet (which is in Thanet South) for most of the 1980s. I was struck by the following, Thanet Council did a deal with a ferry company whereby any one who paid Rates/Council Tax in Thanet could buy a return ticket across the Channel for £1. In return the ferry company were allowed to expand their facilities at the port. I used to take advantage of this for shopping trips (alright ‘booze cruises’) as often as seemed necessary. However none of my neighbours or colleagues ever did, the idea of going ‘abroad’ seemed to be anathema to them. Likewise when the traditional seaside holiday collapsed many establishments were taken over by English as a foreign language courses. The foreign students, who were bringing much needed cash to a very depressed economy were vilified and often physically attacked by the locals. There is a ditch called the Wansum that you can step over that technically still means Thanet is an island but the insular mentality was (and perhaps still is) so strong would seem to make it ideal UKIP territory.

  • swatnan

    He chickened out in Newark, so if he doesn’t in Thanet then his credibility will be completely demolished. If he stands he still won’t win because UKIP have peaked; the People have given the Govt a good kicking and feel better now its out of their system.
    Its back to UKIP being a bunch of comedians and fruitcakes, exiled in Brussells.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you forgot to mention that in 10.0 months, Dave’s head is going to be mounted on a spike.

    • Wessex Man

      Coming from a far left labour luvie like you really made me chuckle.

  • amicus

    If he stood. NOT if he stands.

  • Ella Humpheries

    Many people seem worried and it has been said that a vote for UKIP in the General Election 2015 might let Labour into No 10.

    NOT TRUE! YOUR VOTE FOR UKIP WILL COUNT.

    To allay fears I came across this little gem from Jon Smith on John Redwoods (Con MP) diary February 18, 2014

    REMEMBER THIS WAS BEFORE THE LANDSLIDE VICTORY OF UKIP IN THE MAY ELECTIONS!

    “UKIP don’t need to be in power in Westmi…nster; they just need to hold the balance of power in Westminster.

    Predictions are that 2015 will be another hung Parliament. There are already murmurings in the press that Clegg will side with Miliband in that event. Cameron is relying on his (doubtless to be reneged on) promise that a Tory majority will see us have an in/out vote, since the other two parties killed the Bill in the Lords last month.

    However, the LibDems lost their eighth (I think) deposit last week and UKIP trumped the Tories, coming second. In a Parliamentary election… Granted, it was a safe Labour seat and the majority was similar to usual (despite the usual continued suspicions regarding Labours relationship with the postal vote system).

    If the LibDems are demolished in 2015 as much as they have been in local and by-elections since 2010 and both the Tories and Labour continue to haemorrhage voters to UKIP as they are doing then, come 2015, it could very well be Farage and not Clegg that ultimately decides whether the Tories or Labour form a three- not two-party coalition or try to govern in a minority single party government or two-party coalition. Either way, that would lead to a very prompt referendum, changes to immigration policy, etc. because to deny it further would see UKIP either walking out of coalition and bringing down the government or hammering any legislative attempts in the Commons whilst being all over the media explaining why everything is at a standstill.

    Government would be effectively hamstrung unless UKIP got their way.

    They don’t need to be in power, just hold the balance – and they wouldn’t need that big a representation in the Commons to do that.”

    • Tony_E

      I think that comment at the time may have raised a few eyebrows. I think John Redwood has it rather wrong here – the electoral arithmetic isn’t good for a Tory/UKIP coalition, or even a supply agreement.

      Even if UKIP do well in the GE, it will be quite evenly spread I suspect, where the Lib Dems will hold a certain number of seats simply based on incumbency and geography.

      I would be surprised if UKIP won even one Parliamentary seat, let alone enough to hold the balance of power.

      Labour (despite being absolutely useless) has the next election pretty much sown up. The Lib Dem plan has always been to eventually create a coalition of the left, thinking that then it would secure continual power (It was ready to go in 1997, when it was clearly not necessary for Labour). This term has been a means to an end maybe, but that end was always coalition with Labour, and probably a new single progressive social democratic party. 10-20 Lib Dem seats will see this happen. 25-30 will make it a racing certainty.

      • Ella Humpheries

        LibDems? Who are they?

    • Mike Oddpiece

      UKIP didn’t have a landslide victory in May.

      • Kaine

        I spy a member of the reality-based community! We don’t take kindly to your sort here in Kipperland.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, they beat LibLabCon, but that’s really not much of an accomplishment, is it?

      • Ella Humpheries

        Mike – were you sleeping? The local and Europeans elections?

        UKIP is now a threat to EVERY party!

    • global city

      Spot on. All they have to do is displace the Lib Dems as king makers.

      A reminder to their supporters of the influence the Lib Dems had had and so it is vital that they stay with UKIP should do the trick nicely.

  • Dan Grover

    I think there is a small problem with the editing here – the opening bit mentions that the Tory candidate is an ex Ukip member but near the bottom in the paragraph summing up the Conservative chances it states that a candidate hasn’t been chosen yet.

  • Smithersjones2013

    1) Craig who? This is the guy who got beaten by an independent in the Kent PCC elections despite Kent being solely represented by Tory MP’s He is also the only candidate of the three who does not have local roots (he was born 35 miles away).

    Mackinlay was anointed by leftie Alan Sked as UKIP leader in 97 and decided that rather than continue as leader he should hold a leadership contest which he duly lost so they gave him the deputy leadership (UKIP’s John Prescott, Hattie Harman?) until there was another bust up and the whole leadership team was sacked by the party. He also never became an MEP which given his position seems very strange . He did however fight Totnes for UKIP holding onto his deposit in 2001 before losing his deposit in his home town of Gilllingham in 2005. He then moved from UKIP to the Tories. So there is a big question as to why this UKIP cast off moved to the Tories and how he now reconciles his prior EU secessionism with the Tories current ‘ In Europe but Humiliated by Europe’ policy? The main point is that he will likely spend most of the campaign explaining things that have little or nothing to do with anything other than his credibility.

    The only impact I can see of Mackinlay having once been (temporary)
    leader of UKIP Is to invite the question, why, when they have the real thing
    in let’s say the current leader of UKIP, would people vote for a
    former UKIP reject in Tory clothing?

    To me the choice of Mackinlay is the Tories repeating the mistakes of Eastleigh all over again except this time it is not a Libdem stronghold it is a growing UKIP stronghold. It may help Labour and will surely confuse the remaining Tories whilst likely having little or no effect on UKIP support.

    2) Warren conveniently fails to highlight that UKIP won the overall vote in Thanet in 2013. The big blue blob on that map hes showing is mainly farmland and the vast majority of voters live in the three wards that voted heavily UKIP.

    In Thanet as a whole (I do not have the North / South constituency split) the vote shares were UKIP 39% Labour 28% Tories 26%. it is worth noting that Labour did better in Thanet South relatively than they did in Thanet North in 2010. So its possible that whilst winning Sandwich ward the Tories came third across the whole of the constituency.

    Combine that with the Euro elections and UKIP would seem to be in pole position. They have also won both council by elections since 2013 as well. However….

    3) Warren fails to mention that there are two polls on the South Thanet outcome. One commissioned by UKIP in November 2013 saw Labour with 35%, UKIP with 30% and the Tories wallowing in 3rd on 28%. Lord Ashcroft has more recently commissioned a poll which indicated shares of Tory 32% Lab 31% UKIP 26%. However it should be noted Ashcroft normally uses Populus whose normal weighting methodology penalises UKIP more than any other pollster

    4) Warren ignores all the local information such as Farage was born in the neighbouring constituency, the Labour candidate is the local 24 year old appointed (not elected) Mayor of Margate and Mackinlay is the outsider of the group particularly given Farage fought the seat in 2005 in part denying the Tories victory.

    5) Warren also fails to mention that Thanet South was neither a Labour target seat (given the size of Sandys majority) nor consequently on the Tories list of centrally supported seats to defend. How much resource either party will free up to fight the seat is questionable given there are many other Con lab marginals to be supported. That is particularly so of Labour because if UKIp take the seat from the Tories that is half a victory in terms of their walking into Downing Street anyway. Will Labour expend any real effort to win Thanet South given the competition. Surely they have much better targets to focus on?

    Of course if Farage stands then UKIP will put Thanet South at the top of their target list and throw the Kitchen sink at it

    6) Warren having seemingly no local knowledge also completely misses the point of why Labour gained control of Thanet South in 1997. The incumbent Tory MP in 97 was disgraced Tory minister Jonathan Aitken. It was sleaze that turned Thanet South Labour. How much residual ill feeling as a result of that is unclear.

    7) Finally Warren’s ridiculous attempt to pigeon hole people using bland and generic demographic data demonstrates only how poor this analysis is.Unless you have knowledge of the relative status of people within the community (Thanet like many Kent coastal towns is relatively isolated) then the demographics are just gobbledegook that confuse the issue. You cannot compare Thanet to commuter belt Kent Towns further inland for example.let alone other in the Home Counties r further afield.

    For example, I believe one of the blue unreceptive wards in Warren’s UKIP demographic receptiveness map is Cliftonville East. UKIP won the by election there in 2013.

    8) Warren fails to recognise that in so many ways Thanet fits the UKIP profile (not just demographicaly but socially culturally and historically) Not least because the man who betrayed this country by joining us to the EEC in the first place (Heath) was educated at a Grammar School in Thanet South. There are so many subliminals in UKIPs favour in Thanet South now that they have broken out in voting terms and given it is their most promising seat it seem hard to believe Farage would not rise to the challenge, MacKinlay or no Mackinlay, unless of course he fancies taking on the ageing Roger Gale in Thanet North. Other than a much bigger majority to challenge and a 32 year incumbency Thanet North has much the same factors in play.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      I quit reading at the second paragraph, when this muppet claimed to have broken up the local population into 69 (that would be sixty-nine… a six and a nine) distinct demographic groups, and actually implied that to be a useful exercise in electoral analysis.

      I was wondering why he didn’t just break it up into about 9-10,000 different demographics or so, and really do it right and proper.

      I was also wondering how is it that the Speccie teenagers are always so successful in attracting such brilliant political analysts? Nobody, anywhere has ever taken such a course as this. You’ve broken fresh ground, kids.

      Congratulations.

    • El_Sid

      @Smithersjones2013

      I am sick to death of the inane superficial uninformed stereotypical ramblings

      Shame your own ramblings include such gems as “Farage was born in the neighbouring constituency“. No he wasn’t – he’s firmly Kentish, he was born and bred in Downe and still lives there, I suspect he’s never lived outside the M25. As you say “You cannot compare Thanet to commuter belt Kent Towns further inland“.

      For that reason I still think he’s more likely to go for Maidstone or one of the Medway towns. Part of it boils down to how confident UKIP feel – are they trying to win one seat in the next Parliament or several? As you say “in so many ways Thanet fits the UKIP profile” – so they’ve a good chance of getting their 2nd or 3rd MP there. Do they want to waste Farage’s personal vote on such an easy seat?

      The other slight unknown is how recent demographic shifts affect things – for instance there’s been a lot of people moving into Cliftonville (the suburb east of Margate proper), at the same time you’ve seen the closure of Manston airport which will have taken a good slug of jobs away from places like Newington (the pro-Labour bit by the airport). Given the boom in civil aviation I can imagine airport workers finding it quite easy to get work elsewhere.

      There’s a lot hanging on the airport and some of the proposed development around there, I imagine that there’s a lot of votes up for grabs (particularly in the south of the consitutency) for any candidate that can link those aspects of the local economy to a wider national plan. I can see the Miliband promises of bread and circuses courtesy of nanny’s magic beans might play quite well there, but it’s not the sort of thing that really fits UKIP’s narrative.

  • global city

    Two interesting stories about corrupt and unaccountable ministry bureaucrats in tonight’s Newsnight (7/7/14) http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006mk25

    UKIP should force the link between these and the EU… after all what our Whitehall mandarins let slip what they aspire to in some middle distant UK is what the EU Commission actually is.

    Perhaps this is all part of the future plans for the EU masterplan of how the whole entity will be ruled? Cooperative mandarins, calmly charting the future lives and paths of 500 million people, without the people needing to bother themselves with ideas and political debate which can then be manifest in elections?

    It is also a good way of providing a nexus for transnational career development for permanent secretaries?

  • Guest

    If Farage doesn’t succeed in getting the whole of the UK out of the EU, at least he could start with the Isle of Thanet. I would definitely support Thanet independence from both the UK and the EU. Alas, I don’t think they know what voting slips are for over there on the “island”, They just wave pitchforks at them and throw faeces at the horseless carriages that fly past towards civilisation.

    • Smithersjones2013

      They just wave pitchforks at them and throw faeces at the horseless carriages that fly past towards civilisation.

      Well if it keeps idiots like you out of their way do you blame them?

  • Daidragon

    Farage would split the right wing vote and let Labour take the seat.

    • Ella Humpheries

      Many people seem worried and it has been said that a vote for UKIP in the General Election 2015 might let Labour into No 10.

      NOT TRUE! YOUR VOTE FOR UKIP WILL COUNT.

      To allay fears I came across this little gem from Jon Smith on John Redwoods (Con MP) diary February 18, 2014

      REMEMBER THIS WAS BEFORE THE LANDSLIDE VICTORY OF UKIP IN THE MAY ELECTIONS!

      “UKIP don’t need to be in power in Westmi…nster; they just need to hold the balance of power in Westminster.

      Predictions are that 2015 will be another hung Parliament. There are already murmurings in the press that Clegg will side with Miliband in that event. Cameron is relying on his (doubtless to be reneged on) promise that a Tory majority will see us have an in/out vote, since the other two parties killed the Bill in the Lords last month.

      However, the LibDems lost their eighth (I think) deposit last week and UKIP trumped the Tories, coming second. In a Parliamentary election… Granted, it was a safe Labour seat and the majority was similar to usual (despite the usual continued suspicions regarding Labours relationship with the postal vote system).

      If the LibDems are demolished in 2015 as much as they have been in local and by-elections since 2010 and both the Tories and Labour continue to haemorrhage voters to UKIP as they are doing then, come 2015, it could very well be Farage and not Clegg that ultimately decides whether the Tories or Labour form a three- not two-party coalition or try to govern in a minority single party government or two-party coalition. Either way, that would lead to a very prompt referendum, changes to immigration policy, etc. because to deny it further would see UKIP either walking out of coalition and bringing down the government or hammering any legislative attempts in the Commons whilst being all over the media explaining why everything is at a standstill.

      Government would be effectively hamstrung unless UKIP got their way.

      They don’t need to be in power, just hold the balance – and they wouldn’t need that big a representation in the Commons to do that.”
      Amen.

      • HookesLaw

        Keep screaming but it does not make it true. UKIP will let in Europhile Labour led by a crypto marxist. How dumb is that? And at a time when the nation would otherwise get a referendum in 2017.

        • Ella Humpheries

          Screaming? Oh! Oh! Unworthy.
          I’ll take my chance with a big fat cross in the £UKIP box at the GE thanks.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Well, if that’s your concern, perhaps you shouldn’t split the UKIP vote, lad.

        • Wessex Man

          oh hooky babe you never change do you, no sound poltical nor economic arguments to put forward again so just scare tactics and lies, so so sad.

        • global city

          as opposed to Europhile Cameron?

        • Blakenburg

          So what your implying is, forget UKIP, just vote either one of the two failed parties in Westminster ?

    • global city

      tell that to the good folk of Rotherham.

  • Alexsandr

    no mention of whether the usual fringe candidates will migrate to thanet to get their share of glory if Farage stands They could skew the result.

    • Smithersjones2013

      It’s a general election so they have plenty of celebrity candidates to grandstand with. so I doubt it. I see the Greens are standing for the first time since 1997 which could be crucial in reducing the Labour vote.

  • Mynydd

    Old UKIP fighting New UKIP over pint pots in the last English pub before the EU.

  • @PhilKean1

    .
    The British people desperately need him to win somewhere.

    The trouble, though, is that quite a few of them don’t know it.

    Come on, Nigel. Britain’s salvation now rests solely in your bold and principled hands.

    Save Britain from EU dictatorship and you will rank alongside Cromwell, Churchill and Thatcher, as one of Britain’s greatest ever leaders.

    A Knighthood is already well overdue !
    .

    • Ooh!MePurse!

      Yes, those of us who don’t vote Ukip are stupid and ignorant and don’t know what is in our best interests. Wasn’t that the linelie that the Communists used to peddle? To suggest that Farage could attain the same status as the three you have mentioned is risible, he can’t even start to aspire to it. A knighthood? For what? Services to second hand car salesmen?

      • The Masked Marvel

        Meanwhile, Chuka Umunna has been telling the BBC and everyone else those who do vote UKIP are stupid and ignorant and don’t know what is in their best interests. His email inbox apparently got stuffed by a bunch of UKIP supporters telling him to…er…get stuffed. Most BBC employees have been saying that about UKIP supporters as well, come to think of it. So yes, it is the line/lie that the Communists are peddling now. But one supposes it’s alright with you if the right-thinking people are peddling it, yes?

        Agreed that Farage hasn’t done anything to merit a knighthood yet.

        • Conway

          I’d say Farage had done more to merit a knighthood than some people who had been given them for playing sport, for instance.

          • Makroon

            Why would he want that (ridiculously devalued) bauble ?
            Eventually, when he mellows a bit more, the BBC will give him some well-paid, but obscure political discussion slot (on the couch with Brillo ‘n Portillo perhaps), and he will progress to knighthood and establishment membership. All in good time.

          • miford

            Or our national treasure, Jimmy Savile.

        • will91

          A jumped up Labour politician pouring scorn on the British electorate. Pity no one will hear about this. Wonder what the reaction would be like if say Farage or Roger Helmer were to make such remarks. You know I think that story might just about make it into the back pages of the Guardian and maybe even get a passing mention on the news.

    • telemachus

      Forget it
      Farage has been and gone
      Folks have been to the precipice and looked over
      And they do not like what they see
      *
      He is partly reaping the rewards of the racist overtones of his billboards
      And partly the inherent British conservatism

    • Makroon

      If Farage were to become an MP, what opportunities would he have to “put his pov” ?
      Close to zero, I would guess. He might have an occasional chance to be rude to the PM at PMQs, but if the PM was Red, that would all be censored out by our “public service broadcaster”.
      He would find that the HOC is even more boring than Brussels and pays a pittance with miserly expenses.
      He has a short attention span and is short on energy, so how would he combine being an MP (all that annoying constituency work), with running his party in his accustomed (one man band) manner ?
      Some decent, cheap beer on offer though.

      • Mike Oddpiece

        His chance of a question should be about one question a year given the number of questions at PMQs and the number of sessions per annum.

  • Denis_Cooper

    So what has happened to make Craig Mackinlay change his mind about the EU?

    Once upon a time he apparently believed that there was no alternative to leaving
    the EU and so he was in UKIP, but now he is standing as a candidate for a party which only holds out the prospect of a repeat performance of Wilson’s charade of
    a renegotiation followed by a referendum to keep us in the EU.

    It’s possible that he has genuinely changed his mind, but if so what has made him change his mind?

    It can’t be anything that Cameron has promised, not unless he is prepared to totally suspend disbelief.

    Well, there will be ten months during which he can be asked to explain himself.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Well, he was once possessed by an evil UKIP demon, but he successfully underwent Cameroonian exorcism and reaffirmed his station amongst the wet as a shower progressive luvvies. And somebody in his family had cancer, and he likes dogs, and is a big supporter of <<>> and he’s fighting to make a difference for everybody.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Am I right in thinking that the Cameroonian Exorcism involves having ones spine and ones testicles removed?

        PS As Mackinlay was born in Gilllingham, I expect he will support his local team (the only league team in Kent)

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Well, it’s been rumored that such procedures are firm canon for the Cameroonian confession, yes, but the sect is quite opaque and no one can be sure. But judging by the adherents, well…

          And don’t forget about the pink tie, too. Pink is the new green, which used to be the new blue, which started off as the original red. Pink vestments are requisite for all Cameroonian rituals. A bicycle is always a good choice, too.

          • global city

            and a broken windmill stuck onto your chimney

  • dado_trunking

    I am going back to bed.
    Please call me when the revolution will finally be televised.

    • global city

      The BBC have decided not to show it.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …do you and the goat share the bed, lad?

  • John Dalton

    I hope Farage does stand and I hope that the Spectator will give him fair and balanced coverage – unlike the constant anti-UKIP slurry they put out prior to the Euro elections. Farage and UKIP represent the broad sweep of the Speccie’s readership far better than Cameron and his left-leaning metropolitan luvvies. I’d quite like the 6th formers to keep this in mind.

    • telemachus

      At the 2001 UK census, the Newington electoral ward had a population of 5,009. The ethnicity was 98.8% white, 0.8% mixed race, 0.1% Asian, 0.2% black and 0.1% other. The place of birth of residents was 97.4% United Kingdom, 0.3% Republic of Ireland, 0.8% other Western European countries, and 1.5% elsewhere. Religion was recorded as 67.8% Christian, 0.1% Buddhist, 0% Hindu, 0.1% Sikh, 0.1% Jewish, and 0.3% Muslim. 21.7% were recorded as having no religion, 0.2% had an alternative religion and 9.8% did not state their religion.[1]

      • John Dalton

        No, what you’re saying you nasty little troll is that it’s a bad thing that there are constituencies that are overwhelmingly “white”. The rest of us find that pleasurably astounding given the concerted efforts of New Labour to flood our country with immigrants to “rub the Right’s nose in diversity”.

        • telemachus

          What you might say however is that he would hope to win the seat with arguments on Europe alone, there being no numerical fear of immigrants
          *
          Refreshing

          • will91

            But arguments about Europe are intimately connected to immigration. And you don’t need to go to places which experience high levels of immigration to find negative views of immigration.

          • Kitty MLB

            I see you are buzzing around quite furiously, has the silly season started somewhat early, my darling.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Shabash Memsahib!

          • Smithersjones2013

            Well except one of the main entry points for illegal immigrants (Dover Port) is in the neighbouring constituency.

            Be assured immigration will be an issue!

      • global city

        Wouldn’t you find that, whilst on your eco-trecking tour that once you had left behind the local cosmopolis, no matter how far you left the beaten track or how ‘traditional’ you had assumed the culture you spent thousands £s in expectation of being to drink in that EVERYWHERE you went there was the same multi-culti effnik mix of competing racial groups?

      • Smithersjones2013

        Yeah I know it is upsetting for all you leftie clones that there is still diversity in this country when you no doubt would prefer everywhere to fit some turgid mediocre left wing model that some long dead unknown leftie academic held up as socialist nirvana back in the 1870’s…..

    • Kitty MLB

      That smouldering silver fox of a political leader Nigel Farage will win if he were stand, especially so close to the English channel.
      We do need more variety in the HOC which is basically a medieval bear beating club..As long as its a ex labour seat..ready for becoming my
      parties opposition.
      Indeed dear John, there is an exceptional amount of kippers here.. almost a
      platter. Yet remember the Spectator is always fair.

      • Smithersjones2013

        They won’t give you a free subscription for sucking up to them dontcha know?

        • Kitty MLB

          Oh you again, with more devotions.I am a Conservative and shall remain one.Its the loyalty
          thing sweetie, dontcha know ?

          • telemachus

            Mackinlay could not even stand up to Holmes
            The one good thing about Farage standing against fellow traveller Mac is that it emphasises the pivotal role of UKIP in splitting the Tory vote to deliver the constituency to the forces of reason

            • Wessex Man

              Are you still here you slimy lying sleaze ball.

          • Makroon

            A blog-post with a bit of red meat to encourage more Kipper clicks alert !!
            Yawn.

            • Kitty MLB

              Oh I know, somewhat childish I suppose.

          • global city

            Displaying that sort of loyalty to a political party is silly.

            Truly silly.

      • Wessex Man

        Well I can think of other things to call it after the revelations about the missing files of recent days, MPs expenses scandals, Chris Hulne’s criminal conviction, Nick Clegg’s demise Mike Hancocks adventures with Russain Spies and the Tories paying for a luxury studio for orgies while at Conference.

    • Marmalade Sandwich

      I would like Farage to stand in Bexhill and Battle across the county border as we have to make do with the utterly useless Gregory Barker.

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