The by-elections in Stoke Central and Copeland have been held. The public relations people for Labour (UKIP seems to have no public relations section) are still trying to spin positives out of the Stoke result and even the Copeland defeat. The time has come to look to the future based on what can be taken from these by-elections.
The Result in Stoke Central
The Result in Copeland
I blogged before the poll that, if UKIP failed to win Stoke Central, that that would surely be the end or at least beginning of the end for it as a serious contender. I have also blogged and tweeted for 18 months my view that UKIP peaked in 2014. I have no reason to change those views now.
As a candidate, Paul Nuttall was fairly poor, not resilient, not intelligent, not really passionate enough politically. The UKIP organization or administration of the campaign also seemed poor. Overall, as in the past, UKIP seemed to be afraid to really set the campaign alight. The law being what it now is, UKIP could hardly have copied the successful 1960s Smethwick Conservative by-election candidate whose posters said “if you want a n****r for a neighbour, vote Labour”, but UKIP seemed to want to bypass the race/culture question entirely. There was no bite to the UKIP campaign.
The Labour candidate at Stoke Central, Gareth Snell, might fairly be described as “a poorly-educated and spotty Twitter troll, living mainly if not entirely off his allowances and expenses as a local council leader, who seems never to have had a non-political job (except a trade union one of some kind)”. In some respects he was a worse candidate than Paul Nuttall.
One has to bear in mind the heavily-industrial, heavily-Labour-voting history of Stoke-on-Trent. Labour has always had a built-in advantage there. The Conservative candidate, Jack Brereton, though looking like a schoolboy, did well to come a close third to Labour and UKIP, though in fact the Conservative vote increased by only a modest 1.8 points over the 2015 result.
Apathy or hostile apathy was the real winner in Stoke Central. 62% of the electorate did not vote. No party energized them to come out to vote for it.
As to Copeland, the main point that leaps out, apart from the obvious Labour car crash, is the poor performance of UKIP.
UKIP surely must be finished now. It started in 1993 and in the nearly 24 years since then has failed to win a single Westminster seat, save for that of former Conservative MP Douglas Carswell, who is really just a Brexit Conservative and “free market” globalist.
UKIP would have been in a far better position had it won even a couple of seats at the 2015 General Election, but, in the irritating phrase, “we are where we are”. Theresa May’s Brexit policy has “shot UKIP’s fox” on the EU.
That leaves immigration, race and culture. UKIP now seems to have many spokesmen who are not of European race, so UKIP is not even offering the UK a white persona, a white country, if you like.
The conclusion is clear: UKIP is pointless, hopeless and must go.
Labour has been declining for years. Corbyn is both symptom and cause. The disappearance of the industrial proletariat has swept away the bedrock underneath Labour, replacing it by the sand of the “precariat”. Labour imported millions of immigrants, who are now breeding. The social landscape becomes volatile. The political landscape too.
The elimination of “socialism” from Labour led to focus-group rudderlessness, surely personified by Tony Blair, who has no principles, no real ideology, just careerism, self-seeking and politically-correct non-thinking. Labour became a party made in Blair’s image. It has no real ideology any more, not even social-democracy.
By 2020, the House of Commons will consist of 600 MPs, reduced from the current 650. Labour is currently at about 25% in the opinion polls and it is likely that, in 2020, Labour will have between 100 and 200 MPs in the House. Labour cannot now form even a coalition or minority government. It will slowly crumble.
The Future Beyond 2020
A new social nationalist party must be formed. It must be ideologically clear, administratively disciplined, capable of gaining trust and credibility. When a crisis comes, that small party may be able to seize control, as has happened before in history.