I write before the count has started. Yesterday on Newsnight one of the BBC's numerous political correspondents reported that Cameron had made 6 visits to Norwich to support their candidate! Farage has I believe made 2 visits. Cameron and Osbourne had been out in Norwich at dawn yesterday, voting day, leafleting for the Tories. At least 40 Tory MPs including most of the shadow cabinet had visited Norwich in the last two weeks to work, canvass and generally support their candidate! THE UKIP hierarchy's performance in support of their candidate is woeful compared to this Tory effort.
The support for UKIP is there as this morning's excellent local council results in Ramsey, Cambridgeshire show but UKIP hierarchy must get out of Brussels and back to the UK at these critical Westminster elections and get their support out and into the polling booths.
We can only get out of the EU by a vote repealing the 72/73 European Act in the House of Commons. Not only is serving on EU committees a distraction and waste of time but it simply ties UKIP into support for the whole EU project. We will end up with another situation as ocurred in Romnania with Derek Clark, a UKIP MEP, signing us up to a subsiduarity agreement although it is UKIP policy to oppose subsiduarity root and branch.
Well the results are now in, a Tory victory as expected. I give the full results below.
The UKIP share of the vote at 12% is around the average we were getting in District Council elections but given this was a high profile Westminster by-election it is an OK performance for which the candidate, Mr Tingle deserves credit. However let us forget all the rubbish that we beat the Greens, trounced the BNP. The fact is we did not disturb the 3 party dominance of Westminster elections.
How much better could it have been if Mr Tingle had received from the UKIP hierarchy the sort of support Ms Smith got from the Tory high command? UKIP will wait a long time to have as good an opportunity as this for the reasons I discussed previously. The drop in the turnout from 62% to 45% will be mainly Labour votes which I estimate at roughly 10000 i.e. more than enough to wipe out Ms Smith's majority. One fifth of these votes, roughly 2000, would have been enough to put UKIP into second place which would have been a real success. These were votes that UKIP should have been targeting with their big guns. The Tories could never hope to get these votes but UKIP could. Why did UKIP not succeed? Because their big guns were not there for the fight. They were only concerned with getting their noses into the EU gravy train in Brussels, securing places on 'important' committees etc. Campaigning hard in the UK for Westminster seats as the Tory hierarchy did is simply not important to the Farage Cabal now their future at Brussels is secure for 5 years.
That is UKIP's weakness and I weep for our cause. Can you see Andreasen doing what Cameron and Osbourne did yesterday, up at the crack of dawn, leafleting for their candidate in Norwich. I cannot! Ms Andreasen has got what she wants out of UKIP, an MEP seat. She sees her interests and her future in Brussels. It will be interesting to see how long Mr Farage or UKIP figures in her plans.