It is hugely important, if you are someone as insecure as myself, to say ‘I told you so’ whenever the opportunity arises. So, on 28th January this year I wrote a piece about the Stoke and Copeland by-elections and took a bit of stick on here for its thesis. This was the crucial bit:
‘And Copeland and Stoke-on-Trent Central? Nuttall has risked all by standing in the latter, where his party came second last time. If he doesn’t win, that may well be it for them. The Lib Dems will continue their revival in both seats, but win neither. My guess is that with a decent candidate, a quiescent Ukip and a split vote, Labour will just about hold Stoke. And the Tories will gain Copeland, again benefiting from an increased Lib Dem vote. How perverse will that be?’
This subsequently happened precisely as predicted and the Lib Dem share doubled in both seats. At the time, most people were tipping Ukip to win Stoke (a Labour Leave poll put them well ahead) and Labour to narrowly hold Copeland.
And sorry, Ukippers – I fear that is it for the party. All you have to cling to is the hope that the government will backtrack on Brexit.