Archive for the 'UKIP' Category


UKIP has suffered most in real elections in LEAVE areas since BREXIT – the pro-EU LDs the best

Friday, January 6th, 2017


A few months ago Harry Hayfield, PB’s local election specialist, introduced a new element in his regular monitoring of local by-election: dividing them up into whether the local authority areas voted REMAIN or LEAVE on June 23rd. This enables us to compare the two areas.

A lot of focus has been put on seat changes but the above data looks at how the vote shares have changed in the two types of seat. The vote change relates to what happened in the wards in comparison to when when they were last fought.

We all know that the LDs have been having a particularly good time in local by-election of late but I was quite surprised by the vote share changes that have the most pro-EU party doing far better in places that voted for BREXIT than those that didn’t.

Turnout, of course, is a key factor. The referendum saw it top 70% in most parts of England while in local by-elections he number of voters participating is a lot fewer so you cannot assume that the make-up of by-election voters will reflect the referendum pattern.

Mike Smithson


A 20/1 tip to start off 2017

Sunday, January 1st, 2017


Why I’m taking the 20/1 on Farage being UKIP leader at the end of 2017

Betway have some specials up on what will happen to UKIP in 2017, the one that caught my attention was Nigel Farage to end 2017 as UKIP leader at 20/1, much like a persistent rash, Nigel Farage regularly returns as the next UKIP leader. Ladbrokes make it 3/1 that Nigel Farage will be the next UKIP leader, so by my reckoning the 20/1 on Farage to end 2017 as UKIP leader is value and here’s why.

2017 will be the year Mrs May will have to explain what Brexit actually means and I suspect whatever she proposes it will not satisfy Nigel Farage and the more passionate leavers and that might help UKIP find a role (and votes) in the post Brexit world, but is Paul Nuttal the man best to exploit that? I have my doubts, especially if Doctor Nuttal performs poorly in the by election in the Leave supporting constituency of Leigh.

Intriguingly there is the belief among many Tories that charges are inevitable relating to Thanet South, and a successful prosecution would lead to a by election. In the past governments have lost by elections in seats with majorities even larger than the majority in Thanet South, I can see Farage standing in the resulting by election and winning, that would give UKIP their first MP that wasn’t a defector-incumbent.

Whatever you think of Farage, he is undoubtedly political box office, especially if he retains his close links with President-Elect Donald Trump, coupled with him finally becoming an MP, it would make sense for Farage to regain the UKIP leadership, especially with no European Parliament elections in 2019 for UKIP to win to cement their status as a major party in a general election.

The odds imply that it is less than a 5% chance that Farage ends 2017 as UKIP leader, for the reasons above, my view is that the chances are higher, if  you agree, take the 20/1.



Surely Douglas Carswell can’t remain in UKIP for much longer, can he?

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016

Just before Christmas, Douglas Carswell UKIP’s sole MP received an interesting present from former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who effectively told Carswell to begat off.

Douglas Carswell should not be in Ukip, Nigel Farage has said of the party’s only MP, despite vowing not to interfere in internal politics after stepping down as leader.

Relations between Farage and the Clacton MP have soured since Carswell’s high-profile defection from the Conservatives in 2014.

“He shouldn’t be in the party,” Farage told LBC radio on Friday. “He doesn’t believe in what we stand for, he never has done … Since the general election all he’s done is sought to undermine us and divide us. And I notice even since Paul [Nuttall] has become leader we’ve had some statement from Carswell saying that he thought Theresa May’s doing a fantastic job.”

Whilst he might no longer be UKIP leader, Nigel Farage often ends up playing the role of Banquo’s Ghost to his successors as UKIP leader, Farage’s view should have some impact, coupled with allegations made to the police earlier on this year by an Arron Banks owned company saying that Douglas Carswell helped the Tories defeat Nigel Farage in Thanet South at the last general election this appears to another reason to conclude Douglas Carswell long term future doesn’t lie within UKIP.

And the cherry on the parfait earlier on this year was when it was stated in Owen Bennett’s book The Brexit ClubDouglas Carswell infiltrated Ukip as part of a plot to “neutralise” Nigel Farage’s “toxic” leadership and stop him playing a key role in the EU Referendum.’  If that allegation is true, now that Leave has won the the referendum, like a good sleeper agent, Carswell can return home.

Around this time of the year bookies put up special bets for the forthcoming year, I’m hoping at least one will put a market on Douglas Carswell ceasing to be a UKIP MP in 2017, depending on the odds it might be worth a punt. Paddy Power are currently offering 8/1 on Douglas Carswell defecting back to the Tories by the end of 2018, that might make a good proxy bet depending on your viewpoint. Though with the precedent that Carswell set when he originally defected, if he defects backs to the Tories that means a by election, and the good people might not reward Carswell for yet another by election, if he becomes independent then that might negate the need for a by election.


PS – Were Carswell to cease to be a UKIP MP, that would mean nearly 4 million voters would be without an MP, indeed had Carswell not defected back in 2014, it is very likely that UKIP would not have won a single constituency at the last general election. That is not meant as a criticism of UKIP more a reflection that first past the post makes it very difficult for other parties than aren’t the Tories or Labour to win seats.

A little over 30 years ago the Alliance polled over 25% of the votes and ended up with fewer than 4% of the seats, and a 186 fewer seats than Labour, despite being a little over 2% behind Labour in the popular vote and The Alliance had a lot more defector-incumbents than UKIP had in 2015, something people should remember when making forecast of a major breakthrough for UKIP at the expense of Labour at the next general election.

If UKIP are looking for a role in the post Brexit world perhaps they should start championing fairer voting systems like AV.


Looking at Leigh in Gtr Manchester – the seat which Paul Nuttall is planning to contest in the likely by-election

Monday, December 12th, 2016


What are the chances for UKIP’s new leader?

On May 4th, less than five months away, the MP for Leigh and twice failed LAB leadership contender, Andy Burnham, will be the LAB candidate for the newly created elected mayoralty of Greater Manchester – a position which was very much the brain-child of George Osborne as part of his “Northern Powerhouse” project.

Ladbrokes make Burnham the 1/6 favourite to take what would be the most powerful elected mayoralty after London and it is very hard to see him failing. This is super solid Labour territory and Burnham is a high profile national figure.

What we don’t know is whether Burnham will step down as Leigh MP before May 4th which would enable Labour to hold the parliamentary by-election on the same day. This was done by Sir Peter Soulsby in Leicester South in 2011 when he ran and won the newly created Mayoralty of his city.

    Holding the by-election on the same day as the other May elections would make it more challenging for other parties who would be focused elsewhere and would also mean less media interest in the Leigh by-election itself. My sense is this is what will happen.

Looking at the result Leigh is a classic Labour heartland seat where UKIP performed well at GE2015 but was a very long way behind Labour’s Burnham. In the June 23rd referendum the area was almost two to one to LEAVE.

But it is not all plain sailing:- The composition of Wigan council of which Leigh is part is:

LAB 65

So there is no councillor base there which is generally a good indication of organisation levels.

UKIP’s best ever Westminster by-election performance took place two years ago in the Greater Manchester seat of Heywood and Middleton where the purples came within 2.2% of victory. In December 2015 the party had great hopes of winning the Oldham West and Royton by-election and put in a huge effort. This was to no avail with Labour increasing its majority to 38.7%.

UKIP also saw its vote share fall in last week’s Sleaford and North Hykeham by-election.

Overall Leigh will be a big challenge for the new leader.

Mike Smithson


Hills make it odds-on that UKIP won’t have a single MP after the next election

Monday, November 28th, 2016



Nuttall’s first goal as UKIP leader is winning under first past the post

Monday, November 28th, 2016


BREXIT means no UKIP MEPs from 2019

Today marks another new chapter in UKIP’s short history with the election by a substantial majority of members of Paul Nuttall as party leader. He’s from the North West and has a very different back story than the public-school former city trader, Nigel Farage, that he replaces.

Nuttall said his first objective was to take the battle to Labour which under Corbyn has looked weaker and extremely vulnerable particularly in its heartlands. If Nuttall’s UKIP can do to the red team what the SNP did in Scotland then then Corbyn’s party could be in serious trouble.

Credible parties need elected representatives and this is where UKIP have really struggled when the elections are under first past the post. They’ve just one MP and a relative handful of local councillors given the vote shares that they’ve been managing in recent years.

The other area where they’ve had reasonable success has been winning the PR-related list seats on the Welsh Assembly where overall vote totals matter. Unfortunately the next set of these elections is 2021.

So with the sizeable UKIP representation in Brussels, elected under a form of proportional representation, due to end in less than four years Nuttall needs to build an electoral force that can win when what matters is coming top in a constituency or a ward.

Mike Smithson


The UKIP meltdown continues with Diane James, the last elected leader, quitting the party

Monday, November 21st, 2016


29% of those who’ve served as UKIP MEPs since 2009 have either been expelled or quit

This afternoon’s big news from UKIP has been that Diane James, who won the November leadership contest only to pull out after 18 days, has now quit the party. She wants to remain as an MEP and is hoping to sit as an independent.

She came to the forefront in February 2013, when she got very close in the Eastleigh by-election beating the Tories in the race to fill the seat vacated by Chris Huhne.

Her decision this afternoon brings to nine the number of those who’ve served as UKIP MEPs since the 2009 Euro election having been forced out or going of their own accord.

Quite what is happening to the party, which continues to poll in double figures, is hard to say. Clearly Nigel Farage was a massive personality and his decision, once again to step down as leader, has left a massive hole at the top.

Meanwhile the latest ICM poll has found that 58% to 20% of those sampled said Farage should not be given a peerage. This includes 25% of GE2015 UKIP voters.

This means that the Tories have been in the 40s in every single published poll since conference season in September Corbyn was re-elected LAB leader.

Mike Smithson


Unless the betting is wildly wrong Paul Nuttall looks set to be UKIP’s next leader

Monday, October 31st, 2016


His first challenge: planning for the loss of all UKIP’s MEPs

The UKIP leadership race is down to four with Paul Nuttall the 1/4 odds-on favourite. It is hard to see anyone beating him.

The Merseysider has been a growing force within the party and the hope is that he will help UKIP challenge in Labour strongholds in the north. Certainly he’s an increasingly confident media performer and will set a different tone from Nigel Farage.

Second in the betting is Suzanne Evans who looked more able to appeal to voters in southern England.

    One feature of BREXIT is that the party’s traditional political stronghold, the European Parliament, where the party has been helped enormously the PR voting system, will no longer be an option from 2019. At the 2014 Euro elections UKIP came top winning most seats.

UKIP has to start learning to win under first past the post elections – something which it has struggled with – and the only MP is the semi-detached Douglas Carswell who, of course, defected from the Tories.

Mike Smithson