Friday, 10 October 2014

Clacton was a defeat for the BBC, the Church of England and politicians who don't like ordinary people

Congratulations to Clacton for relecting an outstanding Member of Parliament and offending the Anglican clergy, the BBC and people like Dan Hodges and Matthew D'Ancona. Douglas Carswell is a Conservative who joined UKIP and resigned to fight a by-election. 

You might ask why the clergy should dislike the only British political party that opposed single-sex marriage. That's a very good question, which I cannot answer, but according to the well informed Damien Thompson they do.

For the first time in my life I had a vote in a parliamentary by-election and what a by-election! Douglas Carswell, the MP I probably most admired in the House, swept to a landslide victory for UKIP. More surprisingly - and yet I wasn't surprised - and almost more importantly, UKIP came within a whisker of winning the safe Labour stronghold of Heywood and Middleton. 

Nigel Farage, the UKIP leader, decided Heywood and Middleton wasn't winnable and put little effort into it, something he must now regret. 

If the House of Commons was still powerful Mr. Carswell would be UKIP leader now - he would be very good indeed - but the House scarcely matters anymore - except when it roused itself like the Kraken in Tennyson's poem to prevent Great Britain bombing Syria last year.

This is an article worth reading about Clacton by Spectator editor, Fraser Nelson. I grew up in more vibrant Southend-on-Sea (WestclIff-on-Sea actually, though both places are not on the sea but on the Thames estuary) but my family live just outside Clacton and I lived there briefly before coming to Bucharest.

I find that Clacton is a depressing, unlovely place which makes my native town seem beautiful, but I do not much like the slurs of Matthew Parris who wrote

Clacton-on-Sea is a friendly resort trying not to die, inhabited by friendly people trying not to die… These are not wealthy retired professionals (almost 40 per cent of residents have no qualifications at all) and if you associate tattoos with youth, Clacton will surprise you. Father Time is busy with his scythe here: I counted 19 estate agents on Station Road, and you can get a three-bedroom detached bungalow for £94,995. Only in Asmara after Eritrea’s bloody war have I encountered a greater proportion of citizens on crutches or in wheelchairs....

I am not arguing that we should be careless of the needs of struggling people and places such as Clacton. But I am arguing — if I am honest — that we should be careless of their opinions.
In other words, he thinks the electorate is out of touch with the modern world. 

In this Matthew Parris is speaking for David Cameron and the Conservative modernisers. An anonymous 'senior moderniser' is quoted as saying

We have to respect these people. But we must not change our policy to go nearer to where they are ...

Since I was a little boy I have sided with the views of the elderly so I am not able to be objective but Peter Oborne answers Matthew Parris very well here. In fact the argument that the Conservative brand is 'toxic' and the party needs to be socially liberal to win elections has surprisingly little evidence from polling to sustain it but this is not really about focus groups. It's about the values of opinion-formers and the people they meet. 

The truth is that many Conservative politicians, and many more Labour ones, just do not like England very much. Someone on the left said Clacton was classic UKIP territory - white, poor and uneducated. I thought that was supposed to be classic Labour territory but times have changed. The working class have few friends left and very few on the left.

When I went to Twitter and put in the word 'Clacton' I was astonished and saddened at the malice and hatred directed at that blameless town because it had the temerity to vote to leave the EU. You'd have thought Clacton had collectively committed treason. The antiracists who feel entitled to hate Clacton or UKIP voters are, paradoxically, themselves being racist.

The Independent printed a collection of this stuff - which I think would make any reader feel like sending off for a UKIP membership form.


  1. yes I was cheered even more by the Heywood result than by Clacton (carswell did stupendously but was always expected to do well) In Heywood a safe labour seat nearly fell with a massive swing to UKIP. There are no no go areas now for them and both so called 'major' parties are this morning sick as parrots.

  2. personally I think both Labour and Conservatives abandoned all but a few percent of the people of Great Britain a very long time ago, possibly in 1945. I think Carswell was exceptionally brave to decide to abandon the party which a long long time ago abandoned Toryism and to move to the UKIP which at the present time offers the only honest glimmer of hope for our country.

    I don't know of Farage decided Heywood and Middleton was not winnable but the UKIP stood there all the same. I just hope that at the General Election next year the UKIP do terribly well. People with any intelligence must vote for a party which will restore Britain's sovereignty and our people's fundamental right to govern themselves. So that means they cannot vote for the three traitor EU loving parties.

  3. id be much more sympatico to UKIP (I like the cut of much of their jib) if they werent so hung up on free trade or so obtuse about the environment.

  4. in fact the bog standard academic wisdom eg Matthew Goodwin of Nottingham University, (in his recent book 'Revolt on the Right') is that UKIP's support is concentrated among the 'left behind' whatever that means. That instant mash analysis is looking somehwat threadbare now methinks.

  5. some pretty sensible comments from a left wing perspective imo

  6. In essence, Ukip has a simple human story to tell. People feel abandoned; this new force assures them it will listen. They complain of being insulted and patronised; Ukip insists they should never apologise for who they are. Whereas modern politics is fronted by androids who talk in borderline riddles – “One nation”, “the big society” – Ukip’s thinking is presented in appetisingly straightforward terms. In other words, despite huffing and puffing about the details of Ukip policy (witness the absurd spectacle of Labour forensically tackling its views on the NHS), all that is for the birds. As far as Farage’s supporters are concerned, it’s less what he says than the way he says it. from Harris' piece. indeed simplicity is often the best policy and goes strasight to the jugular.

  7. Paul ... UKIP?! YOU? What a disappointment. What a terrible terrible disappointment... Diana

  8. Diana, for some reason you remind me of Lucy in Charlie Brown. Why is someone as right-wing as you shocked by UKIP? And in any case I am not sure whether I do support them, because they will let in Labour. I'd like a Conservative -UKIP pact or for UKIP to win Labour seats as almost happened yesterday but didn't quite.