Archive for the 'UKIP' Category

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A reminder of how GE2015 UKIP voters voted at GE2017

Sunday, October 14th, 2018

History suggests assuming Kippers will strongly back the Tories when UKIP don’t stand is a mistake.

Since the announcement of the Chequers deal in July UKIP have experienced a bit of a polling surge with some polls having them polling 7% and 8% but generally in the 4% to 6% range.

I’m expecting UKIP at the next general election will repeat their 2017 strategy of not standing in many constituencies. Right now UKIP seem happy to be the political wing of the EDL and their leader, a convicted fraudster, the man arrested for being an illegal immigrant, and assaulter of police, and all round bad egg Tommy Robinson. All of this seesUKIP potentially reconfiguring into a street movement than a political party.

So who will these current UKIP voters vote for at the next general election if UKIP don’t stand many candidates? The graph below shows how 2015 UKIP voters voted at the 2017 general election based on some analysis by YouGov.

Anyone adding most of the current UKIP vote share to the Tory share will be making a huge mistake based on past performance. In 2017 centre left voters put Jeremy Corbyn on cusp of Downing Street, at the next general election Tory to UKIP defectors might end up putting him Downing Street.

I suspect how these current UKIP voters vote at the next general election will mostly be determined by 1) The type of Brexit we achieve and 2) Who the Tory leader is. Someone like Jacob Rees-Mogg will see them back the Tories in greater numbers, less so if the Tory leader is someone like Philip Hammond or Sajid Javid.

Hopefully YouGov and other pollsters will track these switchers, and further analyse their long term past voting past behaviour so we can work out if this just typical mid term blues for the governing party or a more fundamental switch.

TSE



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Last rights? Are UKIP set to revive?

Saturday, August 18th, 2018

It is a regular feature of horror films that, just when you think it has been destroyed, the monster lurches back into life one last time to terrorise the valiant hero.  Right now the corpse of UKIP is lying slouched in the corner but with its poll ratings a quantum level higher than they were two months ago its body is twitching as if an electrical stimulus is being pumped through it.  Can it return from the dead?

Following the Brexit vote, UKIP became a bit of a joke.  It had a succession of increasingly-unsuitable leaders chosen through farcical leadership contests.  For a surprisingly long time it held up well in the polls until seeing its rating disintegrate in the run-up to the 2017 election.  In the end, it tallied just 1.8% of the UK vote, as the Conservatives absorbed all but the most hardcore supporters.

On the surface, things have not improved.  The current UKIP leader, Gerald Batten, could not be picked out of an identity parade by most voters.  Its general secretary compared UKIP to the Black Death.  It nearly went bust following a court order that it had to underwrite legal costs following a libel case before a donor intervened.  Former luminaries such as Nigel Farage and Arron Banks are currently engaged on other projects.  At least three previous leading figures of the kipperati have set up their own parties. 

Membership has seemingly collapsed.  Precise numbers are not available but we got a good indication earlier this month when the UKIP Welsh leadership election was announced.  The winner, Gareth Bennett, won with 269 votes and the whole electorate, in other words all of UKIP Wales’s members, was 876.  A small village has just chosen its new idiot.

Yet the UKIP brand evidently remains strong.  Despite everything, it is now tallying 5% or more in the polls.  This has coincided, probably not by chance, with an apparent dip in Conservative poll ratings.  This cohort of voters could prove significant for the chances of the two main parties next time.

There are good reasons to suspect that UKIP’s current polling would not be replicated at a general election in the short term.  For a start, it would have difficulty even putting up a full slate of candidates.  It is open to question whether they could afford to fund the deposits.  Many voters would have no UKIP option to protest with.

If UKIP did field a full slate, many of them could be expected to add to the gaiety of the nation.  Remember, one past UKIP leadership candidate claimed that a gay donkey tried to rape his horse and another advocated the mining of asteroids.  Just imagine the quality of the next tier down.  The candidates are likely to ensure that the UKIP vote is a very principles-driven vote.

So even if the UKIP vote were not squeezed by the major parties in the election campaign, as happened last time, there is every chance that their vote share would be no higher than last time if the election were held any time soon.  The corpse may be twitching but these look, for now at least, like cadaveric spasms.

That isn’t as good news for the Conservatives as it sounds.  For a start, just because disgruntled voters can’t vote for UKIP doesn’t mean they will vote for the Conservatives.  Even if they don’t want to vote Labour (and some will), they can stay at home and not vote at all.  Many might.

So the Conservatives will need to keep an eye on their right flank.  The support of some of those 2017 voters is highly contingent. 

Moreover, the obvious fragility of the Conservatives’ hard Brexit support means that the prospect of a new hard right party emerging cannot be ruled out.  Arron Banks seems to be enjoying his self-image as a bad boy of Brexit and as controller of Leave.EU, with 181,000 twitter followers, has the numbers to set up a new vehicle.

The hard right still have one star player, Nigel Farage, and if he could be persuaded to rejoin the fray (whether under UKIP’s banner or elsewhere) he would immediately draw a large number of committed followers to his side. Perhaps the film that we are watching is not Terminator, but Terminator 2.

Or perhaps the film is Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Instead of starting a new party to take on the Conservatives, the hard right can try to take it over instead. Leave.EU have tweeted to encourage like-minded Leavers to join the Conservative party in order to be able to vote in the next leadership election.

Entryism would be a shortcut to political contention.Conservative Leavers already seem pretty focused on the topic of Brexit reliability and the more intense ones aren’t paying much regard to party boundaries. 

Some at least of Leave.EU’s twitter followers have answered the call, and within three months these entryists will have a vote in the final round of any future Conservative leadership election campaign.

If they succeed, we might rapidly see both main parties as the territory of hardline activists with the MPs who are not true believers struggling to maintain their heads above the waves. If you think that politics has become too partisan in recent years, it might well get far worse. That really should give you the shivers and keep you awake at night.

Alastair Meeks




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UKIP drops to just 1% in latest ICM poll

Tuesday, March 20th, 2018

Is it all over now the party’s task is almost complete?

Ever since the referendum on June 23rd 2016 life has been pretty difficult for UKIP the party, which undoubtedly played a huge part in shaping this dramatic decision.

Since then we’ve all followed the various leadership issues and I chuckled when Fairy liquid produced an advertisement suggesting that one pack would last longer than four UKIP leaders.

Tonight’s poll from ICM, as can be seen above, has the party down at 1% which I believe is the lowest certainly since GE2010.

This coincides with a dramatic fall off in the number of council seats that it holds as well as the failure last June win a single MP.

BREXIT means, of course, that there will be no UKIP MEPs from March 29th next year assuming everything goes to plan.

It can be argued, of course, that the UKIP agenda has now been absorbed by the Conservative Party and that the need for the single issue organisation is not necessary anymore.

If this poll is right then the voters appear to have taken that on board.

Mike Smithson




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It is a big mistake to assume that the decline of UKIP means its voters automatically go to the Tories

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018

Serious analysis shows this is not happening

One of the big electoral assumptions that continues to be made is that the decline of UKIP means that their votes shift almost an entirety to the Conservatives.

We saw this thinking big time in a run up to the June 2016 general election when people were looking at the previous results from a seat and simply adding the UKIP share to the Tory total to come to some of you as to what would happen.

We continue to see it in current polling analysis when people look at the national pole shares of 4%-5% for UKIP compared with what happened at the general election in this party secured 1.8%. A big reason for that decline with that it did not put up candidates in a full range of seats and therefore, so the reasoning goes, you can add two or three percent to Conservative total.

This is total bullocks and simply does not stand up to serious analysis.

A major study was carried out by the leading political scientist, Oxford’s Stephen Fisher after the May 2017 local elections when the party vote shares in the 939 local seats where UKIP had stood four years earlier were examined.

This is what he concluded.

“..Regression analysis shows that where UKIP started with around 13% (taking their vote share in the 2015 General Election as an example) the swing from Labour to the Conservatives was 3.9 points if UKIP stood again, and 4.6 points if they dropped out. A difference of just 0.7 points.

Similarly, the swing from the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives was 1.8 points if UKIP stood again, and 2.3 points if they dropped out. A difference of just 0.5 points.

These differences, the dropout effects, get larger the stronger the UKIP starting point. But they are never very big. For the divisions where UKIP got more than 30% in 2013, the effect of dropout is to increase the swings from either Labour and the Liberal Democrats to the Conservatives by just 2 points each on average.

The reason UKIP dropout had such a small effect on the swings to the Conservatives is that it benefited all three of the other main parties, it just helped the Conservatives a bit more.

It was that article last May that caused me to bet on the spread markets that the Conservatives would not win more than 393 seats in the general election. As it turned out that bet with my biggest ever political winner.

Mike Smithson




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UKIP as a political party – one of the big casualties of Brexit

Tuesday, February 20th, 2018

How Brussels created the electoral system for UKIP to prosper

One of the ongoing political developments that has amused many since the referendum has been the UKIP leadership and the problems the party has in ensuring that whoever is gets the job lasts the course.

    An of the success of UKIP over the years is that it owes so much to Brussels for seeking to impose similar voting systems for MEPs across the whole EU. If that had not happened then it is hard to see how it could have emerged as an electoral force rather than a fringe pressure group.

For the 1999 MEP elections the EU resolved that all countries should elect their MEPs using a form of proportional representation. What played a key part, and probably crucial, in the UK was the decision of the Labour government ahead of the 1999 elections to have it operated on the basis of the closed party list.

This meant that voters simply chose a party and not individual candidates to be the Euro MPs and reduces the needs for individual MEPs to build up a presence with voters. Amongst most other EU countries the PR system operates but an open list exists and voters choose the order in which candidates by name they want to represent them.

It was that 1999 election that first saw UKIP MEP going to Brussels and in each succeeding euro elections the party increased it’s representation significantly to 2014 when it topped the poll in the UK.

If all goes to plan UKIP will lose all its MEPs on March 29th next year and its only elected politicians will be a few remaining local councillors and members of the Welsh and Scottish Assemblies, elected by the regional list, whose terms end in 2021.

Unless UKIP can miraculously find a way of winning first past the post elections it will be electorally dead.

Mike Smithson




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One thing’s for sure – Henry Bolton’s name awareness has soared

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

But what about bets on his survival?

I quite like the 11/4 that he’ll hang on – after all Farage is on his side and the party doesn’t have an abundance of talent.

I’ve been quite impressed with his resilience so far.

Mike Smithson




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A challenge for Henry Bolton is that he got the job with just 29.9% of the vote

Monday, January 22nd, 2018

Leadership elections really need a level of PR/AV or STV

So Henry Bolton has decided to ignore the vote no confidence from his executive and try to struggle on taking his case to the members.

One of the problems here is represented in the chart above showing the results from September election when he took over the role. As can be seen there were a lot of candidates and he ended up with the job on only 29.9% of votes cast.

It really is important that party leadership election rules ensure that the eventual winner is seen to have brought support even if that means that they’re the one that people are least opposed to.

Labour has a complex system based broadly on the alternative vote whereas the Tories have MPs choosing the final shortlist of two so that whoever wins the members ballot is going to secure more than 50% of the votes.

The LDs use STV though that hasn’t been necessary in the last two elections. Tim Farron won on a straight run off against Norman Lamb and Vince Cable, of course, got the job without having to face an opponent.

As far as I am aware, and I’m sure somebody will correct me if I’m wrong, UKIP is the only party which still runs leadership ballots on a first past the post bases period

What this means with Bolton’s position now being decided by the membership is that we have no real idea, based on the last result, just how much support he has.

Mike Smithson




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UKIP: circling the plughole

Saturday, January 20th, 2018

The problem is the leader – but could anyone else do better?

Revolutions devouring their own creators is hardly a novelty but UKIP are giving a fascinating new take on an old theme. They were never the most disciplined of parties and perhaps that was, for some, part of their attraction. Even so, since their crowning glory with their success in the referendum, they’ve not been so much undisciplined but ungovernable.

After Nigel Farage stepped down in September 2016, they’ve worked through no fewer than five leaders or acting leaders in the space of 16 months. By next week, they could be onto their sixth if Henry Bolton is forced out over his girlfriend’s racist tweets and over whether he was truthful in his statements as to whether they’d subsequently split up. This is taking the Throwaway Society to a whole new level – and as with other one-time use items, there’s a cost that comes with such excessive consumption. (To be fair to UKIP, they did make Nigel Farage reusable but even that’s no longer a solution).

With infighting, incompetence and instability on this scale, UKIP’s voice has become completely absent from the political debate at a time when their core issue is still very much live and when the fight to prevent Brexit – forlorn though that may be – still has vocal and powerful advocates. Certainly their support is a fraction of what it was but they still polled nearly 600,000 votes at the 2017 general election: around 70,000 more than the Greens despite standing 89 fewer candidates. Media access would be there for the asking.

The simple analysis would be to say that UKIP’s central problem is that Brexit has robbed it of its purpose and identity – and to a large extent, that’s true. But it’s far from the whole story and shouldn’t be used as an excuse for their subsequent collapse, for two main reasons.

Firstly, Brexit is a process and one which is likely to take much longer than many expected and leave Britain much closer to the EU than many natural UKIP voters would have expected. There is a story there to be sold and resentment there to be mined.

That opportunity would only take UKIP so far. The political class may be obsessed with Europe at the moment but few of the public are. Sure, it scores highly on polls measuring issues of concern because there is a lot of risk involved and because it’s in the news a lot. For all that, few members of the public are bothered about the detail and few votes will be won campaigning on it. There might be enough for a party polling in low single figures to progress but probably not much further than mid-single figures if its campaigning was limited to that alone. Even then, once Brexit is done and dusted, the issue will again drop off the public’s radar.

However, there’s no reason for a radical anti-establishment right-of-centre party to limit itself in such a way and a populist party campaigning on domestic issues as well as international ones would have plenty of scope to eat into the vote shares of a Tory party which has been on the defensive ever since the shock of last year’s election result, a Labour Party whose leadership stance is widely at odds with the values of many of its traditional supporters, and Lib Dem and Green parties which have wholly failed to capture the NOTA vote. There are more than enough examples across Europe and beyond to demonstrate what’s possible when the old order struggles. Indeed, we don’t even need to look abroad: capturing that vote in 2012-13 was precisely what prompted Cameron into promising the referendum in the first place.

But that was then: when it had money, an effective leader and an esprit de corps. With a highly talented leader now, it would still stand a decent chance of capitalising on the numerous opportunities before it and transitioning for a post-Brexit role. Instead, if it can’t sort out its internal problems – and given the depth of current divisions and the paucity of talent available, that looks the most likely outcome – it is heading for utter irrelevance.

David Herdson

p.s. I did think about writing about the impending US government shutdown or Nick Boles’ comments on Theresa May. But on the former, this is just more of the same: it will change very little unless a shutdown goes on for weeks. On the latter, the only point of interest is that he’s said it publicly. Again, it’s not going to change anything.