Gavin Maclure's Musings

My take on politics locally, nationally and internationally


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Nigel Farage patently made the right decision not to stand in Newark

 

UKIP leader Nigel Farage on European Elections campaign trail

UKIP leader Nigel Farage on European Elections campaign trail

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.


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Oh dear oh dear, when will the Establishment learn?

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage

UKIP Leader Nigel Farage

Today’s Times newspaper splashes with a ‘scandal’ story on Nigel Farage allegedly misuse of EU funds. Except the UKIP leader says he hasn’t, the allegation has been made by someone who is serving a suspended prison sentence for fraud and, by the way, the money are EU allowances and he can do what he likes with them – especially use them to fight against the EU.

And Mr Farage’s tactic of offense rather than defense (as they say in America) seems to be working. The Daily Telegraph, as blogger Guido Fawkes points out, is usually the first to attack when it smells expenses blood. But it has decided it’s far better (and funnier) to stick it to the Times with the added calculation that the public don’t care about Nigel Farage’s expenses/allowances/mistresses as what he stands for politically – i.e. anti-Establishment — trumps scandal and mud-slinging.

The UKIP leader is a canny operator. Mr Farage knows what he is doing. His identifying Russian President Vladimir Putin as a political operator he admires (even if he can’t stand his policies and wouldn’t want to live in Russia) was no slip of the tongue during the EU debate with Clegg. He knew perfectly well how Clegg and the Establishment would react, allowing him to lead them into the Syria trap of accusing the Establishment of warmongering when they were desperate to bomb Damascus after the chemical attacks last summer, only to be stopped by backbench MPs.

The public are behind UKIP and in all probability they will win the European Elections on 22nd May. As Nigel Farage has said, a “political earthquake” will then occur. If he is right, all bets on the General Election are off.


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UKIP win by a landslide in Suffolk by-election

UKIP logo

As reported in today’s national press, UKIP continued their march to the European elections later this year by winning a landslide victory in two by-elections in Haverhill, west Suffolk on Thursday.

Nigel Farage’s party managed to get more votes than all the other parties combined. The election was held to fill vacant seats on  St Edmundsbury Borough Council and Haverhill Town Council after former town mayor Les Ager died last year.

Landslide: New UKIP councillor Tony Brown who won Haverhill East ward on St Edmundsbury Borough Council with double the vote of his nearest challenger

Landslide: New UKIP councillor Tony Brown who won Haverhill East ward on St Edmundsbury Borough Council with double the vote of his nearest challenger

Tony Brown – who is also a Suffolk County Councillor for Haverhill – won Haverhill East ward on the Borough Council for UKIP with a majority of 54 per cent, more than double that of his Labour opponent Pat Hanlon with 24.5 per cent. And the Haverhill East town council seat was won by UKIP candidate Paul Firman with 64 per cent of the vote, triple that of the Labour candidate Liz Smith.

This victory follows on the back of the Suffolk County Council elections last year when UKIP gained eight seats – they now hold nine seats at Endeavour House – and pushed the Tories into third place in four out of the thirteen divisions in Ipswich.

Is this a sign of things to come when voters go to the polls in the European and local government elections on 22nd May? In Ipswich, UKIP currently have no council seats at Grafton House and this may well still be the case after the count but based on the County Council results last year they are likely to cause more upset for the Conservative Party in seats like Stoke Park and Holywells, where – if they stand – they could end up splitting the Tory vote and allowing Labour to win. But even without UKIP contention, seats like Holywells are looking very precarious. Back in 2012, popular former Borough Council leader Liz Harsant just about scraped home with a majority of 49 over her Labour challenger. Do we really think Cllr George Debman will hold on to Holywells this time round? If UKIP stand in Holywells he will lose by several hundred votes.

In the European poll, I’d put money on UKIP winning the elections.


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Last year’s predictions: how did I do? And 2014 predictions

good-bye-2013-and-welcome-2014

This time last year I predicted the following:

1. One main prediction for this year is it will be pretty boring. But after the sporting and patriotic events of 2012, a change is as good as a rest. That’s not to say we won’t get a little excited about the Royal birth in the Summer. Hey, I’ll toss a coin and predict the baby will be a girl. We certainly got a little excited but I was wrong on the sex front. It was a boy!

2. Both Coalition parties – Conservatives and Liberal Democrats – will perform very badly in the England County Council elections in May. Cameron and co. will put it down to “mid-term blues”. I will put it down to another nail in the coffin for the Conservatives’ chances of winning the General Election in 2015: Opposition and a leadership contest will be that bit closer for the Tories. On the yellow peril front, the sharks will start circling around Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg but he’ll be safe in 2013.  Correct. The governing parties did appallingly in the County Council elections, especially the Tories who were pushed into third and fourth place in some divisions by Ukip. Nigel Farage’s party captured one in four of the votes cast in the England County Council elections, winning 150 seats. To reflect his democratic mandate, the Ukip leader was immediately elevated to being on a par with the mainstream political parties on TV news interviews and programmes such as the BBC’s Question Time. Because of Nick Clegg’s reneging on the Coalition Agreement back in August 2012 by refusing to back boundary changes, the Tories immediately lost 20 seats at the next General Election. It’s not exactly in keeping with this post, but in 2015, David Cameron will become the first Conservative Party leader to lose two General Elections in a row. I was correct again on Nick Clegg: he survived to be annihilated another day.

3. UKIP’s stock will continue to rise. The party will do well in the County Elections. Nigel Farage’s troops won’t necessarily win many seats but they will deny the Conservatives a bundle. This will be another milestone on their journey to European Elections victory in 2014.  Half correct. Ukip’s stock certainly did rise (see above) but they won a lot of seats for a local government election: 150 in total!

4. The economy will hardly grow this year. The only thing which will change is more debt will be added to the already huge pile, which currently stands at over £1 Trillion!  Correct. The economy did grow but by less than 1% and this has only occurred because of the growth of assets (houses, national infrastructure etc). The meagre growth in the economy is still not being felt in the country with people still poorer in real terms compared to before the crash of 2008. This is mainly because inflation is still rising faster than the growth in wages. Debt certainly is still increasing. £600bn will be borrowed between 2010 – 2015 to pay primarily for the bloated welfare state which is still exceedingly generous (you’d have to earn £35,000 to take home the capped handout of £26,000, which of course is tax free).

5. Andrew Mitchell will return to Government (probably not until the year-end) and serving police officers will be charged with misconduct in a public office.  Half correct. A police officer was indeed charged with misconduct in public officer over allegations he sent an email to Mr Mitchell’s deputy John Randall falsely claiming he had seen what happened in Downing Street in 2011. However, Mr Mitchell was not returned to Government by David Cameron.

6. Chris Huhne will escape a jail sentence when the charge against him is watered down.  Wrong. Chris Huhne pled guilty to perverting the course of justice and was sent down for eight months but was out after two (go figure!).

And this is what I predict for 2014:

1. Ukip will win the European Elections in the UK.

2. The Coalition Government will stay together despite constant carping from the likes of Vince Cable.

3. Scotland will vote ‘No’ in the Independence referendum.

4. There will be a royal engagement: either Prince Harry will get engaged or the Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson will get engaged (again!).

5. Thousands of Romanians and Bulgarians will travel to the UK.

6. As much as I would like to be proved wrong, England won’t make it through the group stage at the Brazil World Cup.

 

Let’s see how I get on in a year’s time!