Roger Helmer has just written a post regarding the Corby By-Election entitled “It doesn’t have to be Labour”. It doesn’t, but it will be.
I would wager that Helmer will prove absolutely correct in stating that the Lib Dems will come no-where, and that voters, having experienced the sort of candidate that the Conservatives have to offer, won’t go back for more. Helmer goes on to say that most commentators therefore expect Labour to be a shoe-in, yet the constituency does have a further choice in UKIP.
I admire Helmer’s enthusiasm and positivity, but UKIP simply have too much to do in terms of spreading their message to take this seat. People still associate UKIP with the EU question, and they still associate the EU with, essentially, foreign policy. Does the public want out of Europe? By a margin, probably yes. Do they think the government has other priorities in terms of the economy and job creation? Yes they do.
To further add to UKIP’s problems, I don’t think that the public is yet at the stage of total disaffection with all three main parties required for them to take a gamble on a complete unknown. However, this is where the Corby by-election could work in UKIP’s favour. Coming in second place on this ballot would prove that UKIP are becoming a force to be reckoned with in UK politics, and not merely a side-show. It would certainly cause serious existential questions to be asked within the Conservative Party, could precipitate large scale defections within the ranks, and may even cause the Coalition to wobble precariously. Moreover, it would certainly set the scene for election wins in 2015.
In last week’s Olympic competition, one of the commentators mentioned that the Chinese had come to a particular sport with the aim of winning silver. The commentator said that she’d much rather go into any competition with the intention of taking gold, in order to be best placed to take silver if the competition proved too much on the day. Perhaps that is the mindset that Helmer is now embracing in the run-up to Corby. Certainly if it could translate into votes, it would seem to stand his party in good stead.