Archive for the 'UKIP' Category


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


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


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


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


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


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.


Looking at the UKIP leadership race

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017

Matthew Shaddick (Shadsy) of Ladbrokes on the UKIP leadership race.

This year’s running of the UKIP leadership race might not have attracted all that much attention, but it’s probably one of the most open and unpredictable party leader elections I can remember. Of the seven candidates left, six have a plausible shot at winning and there could be plenty of betting value around.

Long time favourite Peter Whittle looks a very shaky front-runner. Once as short as 2/5, he’s now 6/4 and not that many people seem interested in risking any cash on him at the moment.. Probably the best known in party circles coming into this election, he hasn’t been overly impressive in the media appearances that I have seen. Maybe his greater name recognition will get him home, but I’d want a bigger price.

Jane Collins was a 100/1 shot before a few other potential candidates dropped out and agreed to support her and she’s now 8/1. Unfortunately for her, those drop-outs came to late to be removed from the ballot paper so the likes of David Coburn will probably still nick a few votes away from her.

David Kurten got a boost when Raheem Kassam endorsed him last week, which might be a hint that he’d be acceptable to Nigel Farage. Nige has kept away from promoting anyone openly, although he’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t want Anne Marrie Waters. 10/1.

John Rees-Evans, although miles behind Paul Nuttall, got a very creditable 18% in the last leadership race. He seems to have the best social media minions working for him, but maybe his past indiscretions will prove too much. Not totally impossible at 12/1

Henry Bolton has been, by some accounts, the best performer at the various hustings around the country. A former Army officer, he seems a relatively credible option despite being pretty unknown coming into this. I’ve had a few quid on him; currently 7/1 with Ladbrokes

Someone called Aidan Powlesland is still in the betting at 100/1 but Ladbrokes have yet to take a single bet on this person.

Which leaves us with the big unknown of how anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters will perform. We really have very little information about how well her message will go down with UKIP members. She’s certainly getting a lot of support on twitter, although how much difference that will make is hard to say. Still, I can see why people might still want to back her at 7/4. With the other five realistic runners all attracting some sort of following, it’s extremely likely that anyone getting 30% of the vote will win this, which seems more than achievable for her. Don’t be surprised if she’s favourite before long.

Matthew Shaddick (Shadsy) is Head of Political Odds at Ladbrokes


The UKIP leadership race – Alastair Meeks marks your card

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

As Mike Smithson pointed out last week, these are fallow days for political betting. We have been spoiled in recent years with a nonstop cavalcade of elections, referendums and leadership contests. We are suffering withdrawal pangs.

So far this summer, only UKIP have given us a full-blown leadership election. (The Lib Dems let us down by having a walkover.) Interest in this election, as in the party itself this year, has been minimal. With UKIP leadership elections being so frequent, they may be suffering from the decline in quality and audience that is commonly observed in the later instalments of long-running film franchises.

UKIP elects its leader by first past the post. With eleven candidates having submitted nomination papers by 4 August, the closing date, it is time to inspect the field. All prices are Ladbrokes as at the date of writing.

Peter Whittle (4/9)

London Assembly member. Current deputy leader, culture and communities spokesman. Gay (he claims never to have come across homophobia in UKIP), atheist. “The biggest issues of our time are cultural ones… Nobody voted for multiculturalism.” In the past he has proposed a registry for London’s brownfield sites, taxing buy-to-let landlords at a higher rate if their properties are empty and prioritising longterm London residents for social housing. In favour of gay marriage. In favour of a burka ban and seen as one of the “Islam-focussed” candidates.

He has labelled Hillary Clinton as being “as deeply unsavoury” as Vladimir Putin and compared the “expansionist impulse” of Russia with that of the EU “and so this makes for a very, very difficult and very touchy situation.”

Anne-Marie Waters (4/1)

Previously a Labour party member, director of Sharia Watch UK and co-founder (with Tommy Robinson and Paul Weston) of Pegida UK. Admirer of Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders.

Lesbian, in a civil partnership. Has called Islam “evil” and “a killing machine”. “It’ll be another 20 years of rape, terror, erosion of liberty before professional politicians are forced to give the principled a chance.” Like her compatriot Father Ted, she is anxious to insist that she is not a racist.

Opposed by the UKIP hierarchy including Nigel Farage (who said the party would be finished if she became leader) and Arron Banks. Some have expressed fears of far right entryism to secure victory for her. May be excluded from the race by party hierarchy in the vetting process.

John Rees-Evans (7/1)

Sees himself as a Faragist, wants to shrink the size of government and massively expand the use of direct democracy. Favours much greater use of vocational education.

Supporter of right to bear arms, owner of fortified compound in Bulgaria, claimed that a homosexual donkey had tried to rape his horse. Took 18% of the vote in the last leadership election.

David Kurten (10/1)

London Assembly member, UKIP education and apprenticeships spokesman. Has three degrees. “I will make the implementation of a tripartite education system a top priority with grammar schools for the academically talented, technical schools to train young people with an aptitude for practical and vocational skills, and general schools to ensure that all children have the personal and entrepreneurial skills and employability to succeed in the world of work if they leave formal education at 16.” Opposed to compulsory relationships education on the basis that “this will allow sexual propaganda which is grossly age-inappropriate to confuse and damage young children”. Seeks “a special and esteemed place for our Judaeo-Christian traditions and heritage”. Supported by Leave.EU.

Henry Bolton (16/1)

Former infantry officer, police officer, international trouble-shooter, commended for outstanding bravery by the police in 1997. Stood as UKIP’s candidate for Kent police commissioner in 2016. Positioning himself to lead a non-ideological party offering effective leadership to “Deliver for Britain”. Focussing on party reform and processes for policy development.

David Coburn (25/1)

UKIP MEP in Scotland. Gay. Keen to “release the shackles” through hard Brexit. Describes himself as “a Libertarian and a proud Unionist”.

Compared Humza Yousaf, a Scottish government minister, to Abu Hamza. Called Ruth Davidson “a fat lesbian”. Described women as “men with a womb”. Indefinitely banned from wikipedia for directing edits to his own page.

Aidan Powlesland (50/1)

UKIP South Suffolk candidate at the 2017 general election. Campaigned for investment to encourage the design of an interstellar colony ship and profitably mining the asteroid belt for water and/or platinum, so long as they do so by 2026.

Ben Walker (50/1)

Local councillor and positioning himself as a grassroots candidate. Ex forces. Recognises that he is an unknown, but believes that the party is dying. Positioning himself as a candidate for libertarians and classic liberals. Not a single issue anti-Islam campaigner. Pledging direct democracy within UKIP.

David Allen (50/1)

Author, contributor to UKIP Daily. Acknowledges he’s unlikely to win, aiming to present an alternative vision that a leader can implement. “Ironically, the only ‘cliff edge’ associated with Brexit, is the one our members are falling off. We have no parliamentary presence and have lost our standing as a major party.”

Opposed to burka ban, would deport Islamist idealists at the end of prison sentences. “What should happen is that local authorities would tell central government their migration requirements and not the other way round.”

In favour of electoral reform to a system called F2PTP (First Two Past The Post).

Jane Collins (50/1)

UKIP MEP for Yorkshire & The Humber. Describes herself as a progressive libertarian. “I’m offering a real alternative to the other options of EDL-lite or diet Labour.”

Claimed Rotherham MPs Sir Kevin Barron, John Healey and Sarah Champion knew about child exploitation in the town but did not intervene, and as a result faces bankruptcy for non-payment of defamation damages.

Marion Mason (50/1)

Former Parliamentary and PCC candidate, NEC member. No manifesto or up to date twitter account. Not a gifted speller.


Keener eyes than mine are needed to distinguish reliably between the serious candidates and the joke candidates. Aidan Powlesland is surely the Foinavon of this race, only capable of winning if the rest are thrown from their mounts.

Both the favourite and the second favourite look set to remodel UKIP into a party familiar to the supporters of Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen, with a strongly anti-Islam focus. Most of the other candidates seem agreed that UKIP urgently needs to change but don’t really seem clear how. Sadly, there is probably a ready market for strident anti-Islamic populism. It would at least grab attention.

However, one or two of the longshots look too longpriced. Unlike every other candidate, Henry Bolton has a distinguished cv with impressive achievements. If he could find something meaningful to say to go with it, he might be worth a flutter.

David Kurten has secured the backing of Leave.EU. That is almost certainly worth a fair bit with this particular electorate. I backed him at 16/1 and he is probably still value at 10/1. In a first past the post election with a wide field, the chances of someone coming through the middle are substantial. I’m on.

Alastair Meeks