My Contribution to a LinkedIn Discussion in Conservatives started by Ben Bradley entitled: Tories must learn a lesson from UKIP ‘success’!
This direction of this debate is taking concerns me. Gentlemen we need a sense of perspective! This can only be gained by looking forensically at the emprical evidence. As I only have access to Data from the Lancashire County Council Elections I will offer that up as evidence. UKIP contested 68 Seats out of 84. They polled a Total of 41,326 Votes – Polling an Average of 607.74 Votes where they stood. In 35 of these Seats they Polled more than this racking up 27,261 Votes – Polling an Average of 778.89 Votes where they stood. In 11 of these Seats they Polled more than 800 Votes. Their best placed candidates however finished 2nd on only 6 occassions finishing a very long way behind the ultimate winner on 4 occasions a Conservative, on 1 occasion each an Independent and Labour candidate respectively. The seats for reference Morecombe West, Ribble Valley North West, Penwortham North, South Ribble Rural West, Garstang & Thornton Clevelys Central : the common factor that unites them all – THE THREAT OF LARGE SCALE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT!
That does not tell the full story however. In 34 Seats UKIP were Contesting the Seat for the first time, Polling a Total of 21,075 Votes – an Average of 619.85 New UKIP Voters where they stood. This had a dramatic consequence on Conservative fortunes in Lancashire being the sole factor in the loss of 7 County Council Seats (6 to Labour and 1 to the Lib Dems) in mainly SubUrban Areas!
There is a very clear message here. Vote UKIP and you get Labour!
It was also the major contributory factor in the loss of a further 6 seats (3 to Labour and 3 to the Lib Dems) in mainly Working Class Town Fringe Areas. However the fact that a sizeable number of Conservative Voters Stayed at Home must be additionally taken into account. It was also a contributory factor in the loss of one further Conservative Seat to a Popular Independent Candidate in Fylde West.
An increase in the Vote on 2009 for UKIP was the Sole Factor in the loss of 1 Conservative Seat (a Marginal) to Labour in Morecombe West and the Major Contributory Factor in the loss of another to Labour in Fleetwood West.
Again this does not tell the complete story. In the 2009 County Council Elections in Lancashire UKIP Polled 23,244 Votes in the 34 Seats in which it stood, achieving an Average of 683.65 Votes – more than it achieved in 2013! Indeed UKIP achieved only 18,082 Votes more than it did in 2009.
Once again this does not tell the full story. When it recontested those seats in 2013 it received only 21,075 Votes – 2,169 Votes less than in 2009. In 19 of these seats it Polled 4,640 Votes less than in 2009 – an Average of 244.21 Votes less. In 15 of these seats it Polled 1,647 Votes more than in 2009 – an Average of only 109.8 Votes more.
Confronted by the reality of a Fourth Force or Extra-Parliamentary Protest Movement that cannot win and cannot make a difference in Local Government Voters are unlikely to Vote for them beyond a 2nd time.
The message in the North is clear. UKIP haven’t won a Seat. They cannot win and won’t win.
As Conservatives we are making a Change for the Better! Believe in the Message but for Goodness Sake take UKIP on in Campaigns! Make people aware that by Voting for them there are unintended consequences they don’t want and won’t like!