At the beginning of the campaign UKIP had a grand total of six councillors in the 10,000 seats being fought last Thursday. Amid great fanfare they anounced they were putting up 1,000 councillors. Their leader, Nigel Farage, made great claims about how well they were going to do. Well, amid all the controversy about how well the Conservatives had done (or not), the media seems to have overlooked the fact that UKIP not only didn't win any new council seats, they actually lost one, leaving them with 5 councillors - that's two fewer than the Cornish nationalists, Mebyon Kernow and one more than the Independent Kidderminster Hospital and Health Concern. Well done to UKIP! A fantastic advance!
Indeed. Although, as Iain points out, the Greens aside, the minor parties and Independents all stood still or went backwards. As we dicussed on 18DS last night, it seems that people have decided were really out voting for the two main parties this time.
For what it is worth, I have received an email with a breakdown on how UKIP did in the English locals.
- UKIP won 5 seats in 2007, up from just 1 in 2006.
- UKIP won 2 seats on Newcastle-Under-Lyme council, where we can now form a UKIP group. We also had wins in Kennet, Staffordshire Moorlands and Carrick.
- UKIP took an average 12% of the vote where we stood in 2007, up from 10.5% last year.
- UKIP took over 200,000 votes in the English local elections, more than double our previous record.
- Candidate Brian Pearce missed out on winning a seat in Wycombe by the drawing of lots after he tied with his Conservative opponent.
- Other ‘near misses’ include Roy Hopwood (14 votes short of a seat on Wyre council) and Martin Aiken, who finished 3rd with 32.1% of the vote and was just 23 votes short of winning his ward in Hartlepool.
- UKIP stood in every ward in Milton Keynes, Dudley, Wokingham and Newcastle-Under-Lyme. Despite not winning a seat in Dudley, UKIP took more votes across the council than Lib Dems, Greens and BNP put together!
- Across Bournemouth and Poole, UKIP took more votes than the Labour Party. Who is supposed to be governing the country?
- More than 3/4 of a million personalised election address leaflets were ordered by candidates from the national party. Many more were produced by local branches.
- UKIP also won over 20 parish council seats.
Whilst more seats would have been nice, I don't think that this picture is all doom and gloom. Just as we failed to win seats in Wales but obtained 10.1% of the vote in Montgomaryshire, for instance.
The problem is that people see the EU as a national concern, not a local one. But it is a local issue; so many of the EU's edicts have severe local impact (the EU Landfill Directive, for instance, is at the heart of the fortnightly rubbish collections issue).
Unfortunately, the MSM are, generally, not terribly interested in the EU; and, all too often, even when they do report on such things they will let UKIP do the work and the research and then fail to mention the party in the eventual article. Thus we are subject to a double black-out: the unwillingness of the media to talk about the EU and also the unwillingness of editors to allow any mention of UKIP in anything except a bad, or slightly ridiculous, light.
And as for our elected representatives... well... their unwillingness to mention anything to do with the EU is becoming quite legendary. However, their ignorance, stupity, venality and entrenched unwillingness to discuss their position is summed up all too neatly by my exchange with Tory Head of Policy, Oliver Letwin who, when faced with cold, hard facts, backed out of the argument.
I am sorry that you and I do not agree about this matter - but I fear that we shall have to agree to differ.
I know that I keep banging on about this exchange, but it can never be emphasised too much.
The Head of Policy of the supposedly EUsceptic Conservative Party is adamant that we must remain in the EU but is unable to justify—in the face of a reasonable, factual and source-linked argument—any reason why this should be so.
Our membership is not a matter of faith: it is a matter of what is best economically, politically and socially for the British people, and if a politician is unable to identify the reasons why he supports a policy, then he does not deserve to represent us. It is that simple.
But since politicians are all corrupt and self-serving, we should not be surprised if we find that they are selling us down the river for their own comfort.
But we should be very, very angry.