Last weekend there was masses of political outrage that children had been removed from foster parents purely because of the foster parents supporting Ukip. Back then I said it sounded dodgy, and what do you know, mere hours after the election…
Fresh details have emerged about the removal of three eastern European children from their foster parents that cast doubt on claims the decision was politically motivated and taken purely because the couple were members
of Ukip. The removal of the children from the Ukip-supporting foster couple in Rotherham caused […]
Although you’d be forgiven for missing it in amongst the publication of the Leveson report, yesterday there were three by-elections. Labour held all three seats previously, and were expected to hold on to them, which they did. The published stories there are highlight the strong showing from Ukip, but what is maybe more of a worry for certain people would be the abysmal showing from the Liberal Democrats. In Rotherham it was a particularly poor showing with the party coming in eighth place producing the worst result by a major party in a by-election on record. This placing was behind Ukip, the racist BNP, the virtually Marxist Respect party, their Tory coalition partners, an English Democrat, and a clergyman standing as an independent. The abysmal showing represented an almost 14% swing away from the LibDems, marking another by-election where the party did appallingly badly.
Are the Liberal Democrats heading for a total wipeout at the next General Election? The Guardian discusses some of the mitigating circumstances in Rotherham, but it
certainly seems to be more than mid-term blues…
In Rotherham, which Labour held with 9,866 votes, Ukip had hoped for a late surge after a week of dream publicity. Not only had polls put its national support at an all-time high of 11% but the Eurosceptic party topped the news agenda after two of its local members claimed they had been told they were unsuitable foster parents for children of east European origin because of their political views.
Ukip came second in the town with 4,648 votes, and the BNP was third with 1,804. Respect took 1,778, and were followed by the Conservative party with 1,157. It was a particularly dismal night for the Liberal Democrats, who came eighth – behind the English Democrats – and lost their deposit. The turnout was 21,330 (33.63%), down by a quarter on 2010 levels.
As we approach the local elections on Thursday, and with the Tories rocked by a succession of scandals and crises since the Budget, the local Tory candidates can increasingly see the writing on the wall.
As a result there seems to be an increasing attempt by Tory candidates to disassociate themselves with their own party, taking the local battle that’s been attracting most attention, the very marginal ward of Winnersh, the initial leaflet from Tory candidate Mark Ashwell is quite clearly Tory.
But on this page are pictures of the latest ‘leaflet’, an apparent copy of a handwritten letter. It does mention he’s the Conservative candidate in the second paragraph, but the required declaration on the bottom of the second page lists only his agents name, and the address of the local Conservatives, without actually highlighting that this is the Conservative HQ. There is no Conservative branding at all.
So what is going on? This is not the only place it is happening, elsewhere local Tory candidates are starting to see the Tory brand as toxic.
But as you come to the booth on Thursday to cast your vote what do you do? Don’t be fooled, whatever the leaflets say, if you vote for a Tory you get a Tory, if you vote for a Liberal Democrat you get a Liberal Democrat, if you vote for a Labour candidate that’s what you get too. If you want somebody independent who will stand up for wherever you live then you need an independent – but there are precious few of those around. Also don’t forget that around here you’ve got the Green Party and UKIP vying for your vote as well, in fact they’re running in more seats than Labour this time around.
Certainly with the unpopularity of the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats nationally and the memory of Labour still pretty fresh (and not really a big force around here) the election in Wokingham is going to be interesting. The rubbish issue really has got an awful lot of people annoyed, especially when, like most things around here it was brought in with the minimum of consultation and many people were totally unaware of it until blue bags started dropping through their door. Could it be the issue that results in a dent in the local Tory parties absolute power and domination of the Borough? But if people are also wary of the Liberal Democrats over national issues, and have doubts over Labour, could we be seeing some UKIP and Green councillors by the end of the week?
Thoughts from, and the lives of a Canadian and a Brit living in Southern England.