If you’re an oldie like me, you’ll remember the famous Morecambe and Wise skit with Andre Previn, with Eric messing up. When told he is playing all the wrong notes of Greig’s Piano Concerto, Eric retorts:
“I’m playing all the right notes—but not necessarily in the right order”
In an article I wrote for UKIP Daily in early April, “Are we just seeing a narrative” I suggested that in the final week of the campaign:
…you’ll see the polls start to rise in UKIP’s favour, as the pollsters will need to hedge their bets, as will their establishment paymasters… what we can also expect is a torrent of both regurgitated and fresh smear stories on UKIP in the final week.
It hasn’t happened, has it? I am always prepared to eat humble pie, just as I live in hope that D J P Hodges, Telegraph journalist of this parish, heir to Labour grandee Glenda Jackson, will streak down Whitehall sometime on Friday for his prediction failing to come true (UKIP no more than 6% in GE2015)
There has not been a torrent of abuse about UKIP, has there? I wonder why? Perhaps it has been the use of social media to spread this particular webpage far and wide across the internet: 28 more members of our Lib/Lab/Con hall of shame since 22 April. Some of the UKIP seniors have publicly referenced this, so LibLabConMSM have been put under notice that if they smear us, boy, can we smear them, big time!
OK, what about the polls, as they are doggedly sticking to their line? UKIP support is edging up, but nothing spectacular. But, we have a lot of anecdotal evidence from fairly conducted constituency polls, from canvassing returns and our own less formal voter engagements that something is going on.
In my constituency, we haven’t done much canvassing as we are short on resource, but we have leafleted, written to the papers a lot and kept our local online presence very active. However, I did some sampling in different areas. OK, in one of our weaker wards, a wealthy area near the sea, perhaps 20% of those spoken to were voting for us, but in another area, less wealthy but not destitute, 80% of those spoken to in a long road were voting UKIP. And we got the same story: “I’m voting UKIP, my husband is, my children are, most of my friends and colleagues are…”
However, asking if they’d have a garden board, the answer was a firm no.
“Bricks?” I would enquire.
“Yes, and intimidation,” would be the reply.
It’s an irrational fear, it’s not right in our supposed democratic society, but there are one heck of a lot Shy UKIPpers out there.
So, what will the pollsters do to explain it away if/when UKIP exceeds expectations on Thursday night? They will hurriedly admit their omissions in not prompting for UKIP, in factoring out the don’t knows in proportion of the 2010 popular vote, say they never realised we had sub-regional hotspots (where we win), and perhaps mutter about former non-voters now voting UKIP.
And what about the media? They have adopted their alternative strategy of ignoring us. I don’t need to spell it out for you, you’ve all seen it with your own eyes, but it would seem it hasn’t worked. Two reasons, one very old fashioned, one very modern:
- People DO talk to each other, at work, in pubs and clubs, on the street, outside schools, in supermarket queues. And the word is going out.
- Online, people speak to each other even more nowadays, and UKIP is winning the online war. Add to that alternative media outlets, like Breitbart and the comment columns of the online papers, and you have yourself a set of powerful electioneering tools.
Of course, the media might release all their smears the day before the election and the final set of polls may just show a sudden upswing, we just don’t know:
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Let’s wait and see what the fat lady sings, and in the meantime keep this famous saying in your head, allegedly attributed to Gandhi:
First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.