On Thursday, I went down to Sittingbourne to support Roger Truelove and Ghlin Whelan who were standing in Swale Central. Roger was the KCC councillor but lost in 2009. Ghlin has tried several times to win the other seat.
I did a quick interview on Sittingbourne FM and then went out to Milton and then Iwade largely delivering what we call "Get Out the Vote" cards to specific addresses. It's a thankless task but has to be done. All in all I was out walking for four hours with old friends including Ghlin. We saw one Tory candidate (who took the ward in 2009) otherwise we saw no other politicians, one knocker up in Milton but no knockers in Iwade and our tellers on the booths told us we were the only party manning them.
And yet, mysteriously when the votes were counted yesterday, Roger won but UKIP candidates were 2nd and 3rd, the Tories were 4th and 5th and poor Ghlin was 6th. We didn't see a single UKIP canvasser the whole day......and hardly any of them over the past month.....
UKIP is not a protest party: we have simply mislabelled them. In 1997, we had what were essentially five pathetically small promises. UKIP has three - a referendum on Europe which should it lead to the country voting for us to leave would see the Tory party being usurped by them. This is seismic. They want controlled immigration which would happen if we voted to leave the EU. They want to change the political status quo. They have nothing yet to say that makes sense on the economy, education, transport et al except to focus on opposing Tory policy like HS2 because it is popular. The Tories are now scared to offer the referendum before 2015. What a mess.
UKIP will carry all before them in the European elections next year because we do not have a first past the post system. Most people couldn't name their MEPs. Europe is leaderless, rudderless and steeped in the past. Where is our political leadership? What are we saying about Britain's role in the world?