UKIP is reported this morning at 14% in the latest ComRes national poll. That share of the vote in Eastlleigh would be curtains for Dave and his pro-EU line. The LibDems would win big. It can be done and more!
There is no positive reason for UKIP to be doing so well. Its a rejection of our sordid political elite. A plague on all your houses say the voters nationally. Its a protest vote pure and simple. They are now getting the anti-establishment vote which used to go to the LibDems who are now of course part of the political establishment.
Tennis matches even at Andy Murray's level are won by the player who makes the fewest mistakes not the player who hits the most winners. In politics the surest way of avoiding mistakes is to say nothing. Sure you talk plenty but with minimal content. That is what makes a good politician. I think UKIP's Diane James has now learned that lesson. Calling for a temporary halt to immigration, rightly linking immigration to housing controls anf green field develeopment, opposing the closure of the Ford factory is all great. It plays well with the electorate and its bomb proof for a protest vote party. Click on link to see and hear Ms James doing it really well. Dare I say it she is far less strident and thus far more effective than Mr Farage.
Maria Hutchings the Tory candidate is meanwhile opening her gob and shooting herself in both feet over private schools n particular. She is losing support hand over fist. The bookies' odds show this. She started level with the LibDems and the latest odds are roughly LibDems 2/1 on and Tories 2/1 against or in approximate percentages to win LibDems 66%, Tories 33%. Mrs Hutchings is a decent woman but a poor candidate. The Lib Dems are picking up her stop Labour vote. Time for Ms James to squeeze her from the other side.
Labour's candidate, O'Farrell is figuratively and in real life a joke. His pro IRA comments on the IRA Brighton bomb and pro Argentine comments on the Falklands war where many British soldiers died were born out Labour's visceral hatred of Mrs Thatcher are sinking his campaign before it starts. Why Labour chose a candidate with so much baggage in such a high profile election is beyond me. He is unelectable and Ms James should beat him easily and he can crawl back to HIGNFY where he belongs. There is a big betting market on Betfair for UKIP to beat Labour. You can still get good odds on Ms James. I hope you are reading this Mr Wood. I know you like a nice filly.
Its LibDem's election to lose. Their candidate Mike Thornton is trying to say as little as possible. His problem is that his party is in government both nationally and totally control the local council. Therein lies his problem. LibDems try to be all things to all men to maximise their vote. In particular they want to keep the countryside green and oppose housing on greenfield development. Unfortunately just before the late and unlamented Huhne fell on his shandicaps.word Councillor Thornton voted through a 4000 house greenfield development in Eastleigh. Being in power is nice but it does require you to make decisions which inevitably become electoral albatrosses. The opposite happened over student fees in 2010. The LibDems never for one moment thought they would have to implement their signed promises!
Thornton's big asset is the Lib Dem machine something I have seen in Yeovil keep Laws in power. I quote from their web site:
That shows how formidable their activists are and how much effort they are putting into their campaign. They are offering their activists travel plus subsistence to come to Eastleigh and knock on doors and it will win the seat for them.
This is what Farage's EUKIP cannot do and why it will inevitably let down the millions of voters who want to leave the EU. Its all very well for little Arnott to boast of UKIP's 22,000 members but as any military man will tell you unless you can mobilise your troops and get them to the battlefield you cannot win. The LibDems have done that ,UKIP has not. That has always been UKIP's failing. Troops in barracks don't win battles or elections.
I remember being berated on the NEC by Farage over the failure of the SW members to turn out and go to Henley in the by-election caused by BoJo becoming mayor of London. I merely pointed out to NF that Helnley was in his South East region and asked how many UKIPers from there had gone to Henley. Answer there was none.
Eastleigh illustrates why Farage's EUKIP shambles, chief of staff or chief incompetent Steve Crowther, can never win a Westminster seat. It needs organisation, management and leadership which EUKIP could have had but the talent that could have done this has been hounded out of UKIP to preserve Farage's power base and his sycophant wannabee MEPs place on UKIP slates so they can go to Brussels!
How many UKIP MEPs have been in Eastleigh leafleting the voters? Answers with names below please.
This could have been UKIP's breakthrough into Westminster. It was winnable. The national mood is very favourable for UKIP. The two leading candidates represented a deeply unpopular government. One has shown herself to be a liability and the other is less than inspiring with big local difficulties. The principal opposition party, Labour candidate is unelectable. UKIP had an excellent candidate, presentable and saying the right things. The odds are however stacked against her by Farage's wasted years posturing and drinking in Brussels rather than building up the grassroots base in the UK. He has destroyed many UKIP branches and made many enemies by so doing.
It still could be for Ms James but it will take a political miracle. I hope Farage butts out and lets the capable Ms James get on with it and take centre stage with the media. Every Farage rant will knock hundreds off her vote so let us pray he stays in Brussels for the next two weeks.
NB Every battle is won or lost before the first shot is fired. Its logistics.