UKIP’s Newark vote and lessons from recent by-election history

According to the corporate-media, on Friday morning after the Newark by-election UKIP was a spent force. Of course, this triumphalism was only to be expected; the British Establishment wants the British People to believe that there is no solution or alternative to the status quo. The rule of war being applied is the one whereby fighting must be avoided if your army is not fit to do it, and victory should be gained psychologically instead. Likewise, the LibLabCon is not fit to fight because it cannot win most arguments on any point of policy from its alien culturally-Marxist, pro-EU, anti-British stance and attitude. Because it cannot execute a straight fight, it will try to convince its enemy in the field – UKIP -  to surrender through psychology, and the corporate-media is its tool.

So let it be understood that the corporate-media is like a microscopic man with a bull-horn. It’s like one of those microbial Whos of Dr Seuss directing the Elephant Horton. There are divisions of the corporate-media aimed at particular sorts of Briton; the Telegraph, for instance, is aimed at those living in 1970s-surburbia-bubble-fantasia. The Guardian is for people who would react against that, perhaps.

Through the mega-phone of the corporate-media, the Newark victory has been given more resonance because the Tories have not won a by-election while in office since 1989 when William Hague scraped in at Richmond (what a blinding act of oblivious cruelty that was – a gift to the world for which many Syrians, Libyans and Ukranians must be very grateful). The Tories, you see, never win by-elections while in office; thus is Newark such an extraordinary and rare event (UKIP’s ‘loss’ is inversely proportional). However, when you look at those intervening losing by-election results – and in particular the ones that have percentage share swaps of the like we saw in Newark where UKIP gained 22% of the vote – there is an interesting pattern.

From 1990 to 1993, it appears that voters merely swapped across from the Tories to the Lib Dems. Given that it was generally considered that Labour were wild and unelectable, this was surely the discouraged Tory vote trying out a new home with a tiny and safe step to the (perceived) Left. It was the Protest Vote – the same that UKIP’s success is wrongly and optimistically attributed to  these days. Come 1994, and there was a bigger act of inhumanity to Man than that of the election of William Hague; Tony Blair became Labour Party leader. Incredible as it may now seem, Corporate-fascist Labour became a plausible destination for voters fed up with the Tories. In Dudley West that year, the percentage swap went straight from the Tories to Blair’s altered Labour Party-nouveau. But the most interesting result was in 1995 and in Littleborough and Saddleworth. The Lib Dems won the seat, but the switch-across went to Labour; Phil Woolas added 14.9% to the previous tally. When the electoral boundaries were later changed, Woolas would be elected as MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth in the 1997 General Election.

Thereafter the biggest swap around in the by-elections lost by the Tories happened in South East Staffordshire in 1996, with a 22% gain for Labour, and then in Wirral South in 1997, with an 18% gain for Blair’s party.

Clearly, what had happened is that the Labour Party had achieved some credibility as a prospective governing party under Blair (albeit, as it would turn out, through outright deception), that the Lib Dems had not been able to acquire for themselves, and became the party of destination for voters deserting the Tories. The by-election of 1995 was a missing-link moment where despite a big swing to Labour, the base support had not already been present in the constituency to build upon. It perhaps needs to be suggested that this is what happened to UKIP at Newark on Thursday night. Furthermore, as electoral history also shows us, when UKIP repeat that 20+ percentage increase performance in places where it has previously been able to create a foundation, or where there is a much smaller starting LibLabCon majority beyond which the swing will convey them, the party will take the seat. More crucially, that history also suggests that to become a party of power, UKIP has to become perceived in the generally politically-obtuse masses as the party to which people can swap to without perturbing any of the psychological constructions regarding party-affiliation that they may possess (these perhaps being more significant than actual policies in many cases). The good news is that UKIP is already doing this, and in a way that is more dynamic than the way Labour was able to win voters from a post-Thatcher Tory Party. UKIP appeals to people supposedly ensconced across the political spectrum (exposing the divide and conquer left/right paradigm into the bargain).

Therefore, in stark contrast to the triumphant corporate-media which heralded UKIP’s demise on Friday morning, and the cock-a-doodling Grant Shapps who single-handedly angered, and motivated millions with his Orwellian statements about gaining votes signifying a going backwards, the result in Newark was in fact a sign post to a fantastic UKIP future. There is only one proviso, however; any sign post that points to a destination represents a distance to traverse, and that means hard work (in one form or another). In fact, there may have been a sense in any disappointment that UKIP supporters or members may have had on Friday morning that there was still so much hard work to do after all the travail so far expended; but look at it in perspective: UKIP only wants to free the country from a cartel who have had a death-lock stranglehold for over a hundred years. Of course it is going to take a lot of work.