The first modern army in terms of its structure was set up by the Roman Marius. He vastly increased the size of the Roman Army, removed the property qualification to enlist, reorganised the structure into legions and cohorts, paid the squaddies and gave them conquered land at the end of their service and crucially trained his army relentlessly. It was a greatly increased professional army loyal to its General. His nephew Julius Caesar capitalised on this in his Gallic wars but it was his uncle Marius, 7 times elected consul who made the Roman Empire possible.
UKIP badly needs a training programme for its candidates. It was what made the Roman Army in 100 BC and what made Cromwell's New Model Army in 1640. Watching the Eastleigh candidates it is clear the Tory Maria Hutchings has been put through an intensive training course and Ms James has not. Hence she got caught out on her 4 million Bulgarian immigrants claim on C4 News last night by Murphy and his supplementary, what is the population of Bulgaria? Ms James had not a clue how to handle her faux pas. It was also depressing to listen to her trotting out the Farage fag paper metaphor. It rang false. Farage and fag papers are OK but not a nice lady like Ms James.
Ms James has been let down by UKIP. She is easily the best candidate but won't winn because of lack of back up from her party.
UKIP did have the people who could do this training but Farage of course has got rid of them. His army is shrinking not growing. Worse, his choice of subordinates is dreadful. He confuses sycophancy to him with loyalty. The sleazier the sycophant the more likely he will be preferred by Farage. Basic UKIP administration is dreadful. Who was responsible for the London assembly ballot paper fiasco? He is still there.
Andreasen and Bannerman would not have been put on a UKIP MEP slate without Farage actively promoting them. A General needs loyal subordinates. Both have now gone off to join the Tories and both have been in Eastleigh canvassing for Ms Hutchings! Both aspire to Tory MEP slots. I do not think the Tories are that stupid.
Over half the LibDem MPs are reported in Eastleigh today canvassing for their candidate. How many UKIP MEPs are there? The LibDems are well organised. Will the Rennard revelations hurt them? Yes, a bit but because they got their postal votes organised in week one of the campaign most of these votes would have been returmned before the Rennard story broke! Time to explain to UKIP's Crowther what a postal vote is and how to organise it.
The LibDems are still 2/5 on to win with the Tories at 11/4. UKIP are solid at 7/1 so not to far from the Tories. For those of us who want an EU referendum sooner rather than later this indicates a good result with UKIP a close third to the Tories and with a Tory plus UKIP total ahead of the LibDems. A bad night for Dave, good!