In a way UKIP did vastly better in the election than the SNP. UKIP got 3,881,129 votes, 12.6% of the total, a 9.5% increase on 2010. SNP got 1,454,436 votes, 4.7% of the total, a 3.1% increase. Yet UKIP won just one seat whilst SNP won 56. This is because the General election in the UK is lots of individual elections for local representatives who then go to London and choose the government.
The one seat UKIP won was the Conservative party defector, Douglas Carswell. The other defector, Mark Reckless, lost his seat. This is exactly what this blog said would happen. This proves what the Libdems have known for decades; in a two party FPTP system minor parties need very strong local candidates to win seats. It is no good Farage moaning about FPTP, UKIP need to adapt to it and learn to use it to their advantage.
What was truly outstanding was the huge number of second places UKIP achieved, as can be seen in the map above. This means that UKIP cost both the Conservatives and the Labour party seats, it would be interesting to see which major party lost out most. Perhaps some academic psephologist will tell us. It also tells us that UKIP were not all that far from achieving breakthrough.
UKIP’s problem in the election was their strategy. In trying to be seen as a “national” party they put up a lot of candidates, in 624 of the 650 Westminster constituencies, 66 more than in 2010. This is a good idea in the EU elections which are proportional representation, so every vote counts, in order to select people from party lists. But the EU elections don’t matter and the Westminster elections matters a lot. Many UKIP candidates were “paper” candidates who didn’t campaign. UKIP would have been far better off with fewer candidates in winnable seats (the ones they came second in the map above) and then putting all their effort into those.
I would like to see a really strong UKIP. Strong enough to replace Labour as one of the two main parties. A “working class” party of the right is so much better, in every way, for everyone in Great Britain than a “working class” party of the left. And this is achievable because the “working class” are instinctively right wing. Socialism does not fit them well.
The problem here is that UKIP grew as a party for protest votes from Conservatives who wanted to go back to 1950. But Conservatives are mainly too well educated to fall for this. UKIP’s main voter base now is “working class” people either returning to their natural roots or being utterly fed up with the metropolitan middle class leftism of the Labour party. Red UKIP.
In marketing terms UKIP need to identify their target audience then adapt their offering to match the requirements of these potential customers. It is obvious that a great swathe of seats are there for the taking. The electorate in many places are fed up with Labour but won’t vote Conservative. First of all UKIP need a big purge of all their bigots and racists. They need to become the party of integration and social cohesion, areas where the Conservatives and especially the Labour Party fall down very badly.
With the right leader, the right policies and the right strategy UKIP are not too far away from becoming a party of government. Their problem is the final hurdle. I have said all this before and foolishly UKIP didn’t listen.