Audrey Spencer who was to be the UKIP candidate in the Somerset County Council elections sadly died last week leading to the postponement of the election and UKIP seeking a new candidate. I was approached to stand for UKIP and out of my regard for Audrey, agreed. I printed the forms off the Electoral Commission web site and set out to get my nomination papers completed. My wife was my proposer and I set off round my neighbours to get the required seconder and 8 assentors. All my neighbours knew I had stood for the District Council in 2009 for UKIP. I approached five of my female neighbours all of whom asked if I were standing for UKIP again. I replied I probably was as it was a UKIP candidate who had died. They were all to varying degrees slightly unhappy some even mentioned they disliked Farage from what they had seen of him on TV. I said I would see if I could stand as an independent and they all then signed my papers. As it turns out I cannot stand as an independent the closing date having passed for new nominations.
I did not solicit these negative comments about Mr Farage. They were freely offered, but it did set me thinking Farage pomotes himself as the bloke in the pub with a fag and a pint. Maybe this does not appeal to the ladies as much as to men. That is a big disadvantage for UKIP given over 50% of voters are women. UKIP's most successful by-election candidates over the past year have been women. This cannot be a coincidence and confirms my tiny sample findings. This is serious for UKIP's electoral prospects as their public image is Farage and his all male cronies. UKIP's two women MEPs Nikki and Marta have recently jumped ship enhancing the all male over 60 image of Bloom, Clarke, Agnew, Legge etc.
UKIP clearly needs more ladies in the Ms James mold but how to get them? This is an urgent problem and requires desperate measures. Mrs Thatcher won all three elections on the women's vote. That is why Tony Blair went down the all women short list route. Its not something I like but it worked for Maggie and Tony so UKIP must follow this strategy if they wish to pose a credible electoral threat to LibLabCon. Leave Farage to puff his fags and sink his pints but if you want to get out of the EU start recruiting some presentable intelligent women now.
Where do you find them at such short notice? It has to be from the ranks of the Tories. Again it has its dangers but the pay off would be huge. Nadine Dorries must be approached asap. I would suggest Stuart Wheeler and his glamorous daughter and possibly Lady Pearson are the right people to do the approaching. Nads will know other disillusioned Tory ladies sympathetic to UKIP. The younger ones will be in Tory Central Office. Back this up with all women Euro slates in 50% of the regions and you will get some great candidates. The time to act is now! There are a lot of Tory ladies worried about their future.
Run this approach onto the 2015 General Election and you could easily get a handful of UKIP MPs UKIP MPs. Its a pragmatic strategy, the kind that worked for the Greens in Brighton.
What about NF? The sooner he stands as leader down in favour of Mrs James the better UKIP's results will be. UKIP under Farage is limited to less than 50% of the vote. Under Mrs James it can harvest the full field. Five to ten UKIP MPs will be enough to get Nigel's bum on the red leather and more invites onto chat shows than he can ever fulfil. He can be UKIP's answer to my neighbour Paddy Pantsdown.
If allowed I will stand for UKIP in Somerset for Audrey's memory. UKIP SouthWest region is stuffed with a whole village of male idiots so I confidently expect I will be barred. Its crazy given there are many South West seat going uncontested and UKIP are trailing 4th behind the LibDems in terms of numbers of candidates. Watch this space.