Well, the most of the results are NEARLY all in. Here they are:
|Region||Percent of Votes||Seats|
|Northern Ireland||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A||Declare on Monday|
|South East||33%||15%||34%||9%||9%||4||1||3||1||1 Grn|
|South West||32%||14%||29%||11%||14%||2||1||2||0||1 Grn|
|Yorkshire & N Lincs||30%||29%||19%||6%||16%||3||2||1||0||–|
Three results were late. London had a long delay owing to issues in Tower Hamlets with a cumulative build-up of delay from local, mayoral and Euro results. In Scotland, it would seem that SNP was not happy with the prospect of a threatened UKIP seat, and with delayed results from the Western Isles a result was finally declared around 3AM, with UKIP winning one by a narrow margin. Northern Ireland planned to declare on Monday. The final count is 24 MEPs for UKIP.
We can rejoice this result, we will send our new MEPs to Brussels (for not too much of the week, we hope), they will get organised with their staffs and start campaigning for the 2015 election, alongside our hundreds of Elected Councillors and thousands of branch activists.
The $64,000 question is: how much of that vote can we retain on 7 May 2015? Lord Ashcroft has already told us part of the answer with his exit poll of 4000 people. One of his many questions was:
As you may know, the next UK general election will be held just under a year from now, on 7 May 2015. Which party do you think it is most likely you will end up voting for when it comes to the general election?
The answers were:
51% of those voters would vote for UKIP, so even in the strongest region, that gives UKIP only 17.5% of the vote. Two factors mitigate that apparent looking weakness:
- There are “hotspots” within each region. Analysis of the results by Counting Authority (usually Districts/Boroughs/Cities, but in some places the smaller Counties) will reveal where the spot percentage in that area is stronger, and usually this coincides with where UKIP has elected Councillors.
- The turnout was only around 38%. The average general election turnout in 2010 was 64.7%, so there are as many voters again who have not voted this time. One can guess that these are the more apathetic, less politically aware voters, so how aware are they of UKIP and what we stand for?
So, who are we campaigning to attract? There are essentially 4 key groups:
- Conservative Eurosceptics and protest voters who voted UKIP (the 21% in the table)
- Labour Eurosceptics and protest voters who voted UKIP (the 11% in the table)
- The Don’t Knows who voted for us (14%)
- Those who didn’t vote in this election.
How are we going to campaign for them? For a start, we must dispel the false notions about the party that the mainstream media has tried to put about. Towards the end of the campaign they seemed to soften the tone, and some commentators observed that their strategy (and there was a strategy, it was no accident) wasn’t working., and the attacks will be more subtle now, including things like Cameron pretending that he can introduce a bill to limit EU immigration.
However, while these attacks have managed to attract the more bl**dy-minded Brits to UKIP, they have deterred others with gentler dispositions. These people (and they include members of my own family) recite the various false accusations that include “UKIP are racist”, “UKIP will halve maternity pay” and “UKIP will reduce sick and holiday pay”. The alleged policies are utter nonsense, and we need to dispel such nonsense with sensible policies that clearly discount such punitive policy approaches. The racist card will be hardest to put down, and to that we must avoid picking on certain nationalities, and do our research, presenting cold, hard facts on the way that mass immigration has disadvantaged large sections of British society.
There are other positive messages that UKIP needs to broadcast, which will play to different degrees of important with the 4 key groups I identified above, but all are necessary:
- “It’s the economy stupid”. We need to present a credible economic policy, and show how many of the figures present by the government are smoke and mirrors.
- A promise of a European Union Referendum BEFORE March 2017 when the transfer of 43 more competencies to Brussels becomes both binding and irreversible, showing that Cameron’s referendum pledge (to come after that date) is not worth the paper it is written on.
- The benefits of being able to control immigration
- The benefits to Britain of being able to negotiate free trade deals with the world, especially the Commonwealth.
And, on top of this, the campaign for May 2015 starts now! Branches must not rest of their laurels, there must be continuous (but not overt) local campaigning through the year to show the voters we are not a flash in the pan party. Where we have elected Councillors, they will play an indispensable role in that campaign.
We can win Westminster seats in 2015, but it will not happen by itself, it will take a lot of hard work.