Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media to derail UKIP’s European Elections campaign, the polls suggest otherwise. 38% say they will vote UKIP on 22nd May. The Newark by-election, caused by Tory MP Patrick Mercer being found guilty by the Commons standards committee for allegedly tabling questions in the House of Commons after signing a deal with a lobbying firm that paid him £4,000 for seeking the readmission of Fiji to the Commonwealth, required UKIP leader Nigel Farage to decide if he would stand in the election. He chose not to. The BBC screamed he bottled it on the Today programme yesterday. But did he?
If you look at the facts in the clear light of day, it could be argued he made the right decision:
(1) UKIP’s figurehead standing in a Westminster by-election either on the same day as the European Elections or shortly afterwards would have allowed a local election contest to overshadow a national election on 22nd May, where UKIP not only hope to do well, but win these elections in the UK by sending the most MEPs to Brussels.
(2) Newark is no where near Kent, Nigel Farage’s powerbase.
(3) Even if the UKIP leader stood and won the Newark seat he would have been either forced to fight it again in a year’s time at the General Election or walk away to stand where he really wants to: a parliamentary seat in Kent.
All in all a good decision.