Apologies for the tired alliteration by way of post title, I couldn’t think of anything else.
I wanted to write about Farage’s ‘Dammit Thanet’ moment; just why did he lose? Or rather, what did his opponent have to offer that was so radically different, and more appealing, that it seduced a large chunk of Thanet to tick a box other than ‘Farage’?
My first problem was that Farage has so occupied the column inches that I didn’t even know who was standing against him. Go on then, without peeking, who won Thanet and which party did they represent? (Political nerds need not enter this competition, I know you will know the answer – but from a short poll amongst the 20 people standing nearest to me – not one of them could give me the answer).
Craig Mackinlay is the answer. Craig who? This Craig. Standing forlornly outside the local Lloyd’s Bank offering to write a letter to Lloyd’s asking them not to close their branch in Wingham. I appreciate that writing a letter for you might be a vote winner if you happen to be a car-less pensioner in Wingham – but sufficient to rule out a man who has campaigned so volubly and extensively as Nigel Farage?
In fairness to Craig, he also advocates ‘the advantages of a local candidate’, along with ‘tougher residency tests’ so local people get first crack at social housing, and ‘re-opening Manston airport’ – apparently flights to and from Accra, Nairobi, Dammam, or Jeddah, are all to the good for the local population.
It must have been a difficult decision for the electorate; Farage with clearly defined policies, or ‘not letting in Ed Miliband’ along with regular flights to Jeddah. So difficult, that Boris Johnson and George Osborne were dispatched to shore up the Conservative mettle.
Could the deciding factor have been ‘a local candidate’ – not really, Will Scobie, the Labour candidate was born in Thanet and has lived there all his life. Craig was born in Chatham. Not far, but not as local as Scobie.
Maybe it was the ‘tougher residency tests’ eh? Code for immigration curbs? Surely Farage had him beat on those grounds?
Perhaps it was the ‘Manston Airport’ issue, A strong local issue. If that had been the case you might have expected Ruth Bailey of the ‘Manston Airport Independent Party’ to have polled one or two more than the desultory 191 votes she achieved.
It can only be the first item on Craig’s ‘What I Stand For’ entry on his website:
This is a two-horse race between the Conservatives and UKIP. […] A vote for UKIP risks the chaos of a Labour government led by Ed Miliband – propped up by the Scottish Nationalists. Nigel Farage himself has said he would “do a deal” with Miliband and UKIP have told the newspapers “they would prefer Labour to win the election.”
Ah, so a vote for Craig was a definite ‘keep Farage out’ vote? A ‘can’t be doing with those sort of policies’ vote? A ‘the man’s aim’s are abhorrent to me’ sort of vote?
Which is deucedly odd, Jeeves.
For you see, whilst you may (politics nerds excepted) have been under the impression that UKIP was one man’s sole vision – Nigel Farage – it was far from that. Nigel Farage is only the latest of a series of architects and leaders of UKIP. Albeit, by far the most successful, and has certainly garnered more column inches than any other.
You won’t learn this from UKIPs Wikipedia entry, nor from Conservative Party headquarters, but while UKIP was started by one Alan Sked, he was ably assisted by his trusted Treasurer and nominated successor as leader bearing the by now familiar name of – Craig Mackinlay…
Petunia impressed me by even knowing that Craig Mackinlay had once voted UKIP – but I can’t find anyone who had an inkling that actually Farage was beaten to a seat in Parliament by one of the founding fathers of UKIP who defected to the Conservative Party after 12 years at the very heart of UKIP.
Good luck to Cameron with Mackinlay on the back benches…the man has stood for UKIP three times in general elections, and twice in european elections, always on an ‘anti-EU’ ticket, and always failing dismally. Now he is finally in Parliament in time for important decisions to be made on Britain’s place in the EU, do we know where he stands on Europe? Does he?
Doesn’t the main stream media keep us wonderfully informed?