6 April 2013

Will UKIP stand more candidates than the Lib Dems in May?

With nominations now closed for the county and unitary elections and statements of those nominated starting to be posted by local returning officers it is clear UKIP's boasts about standing large numbers of candidates have proven true.

Vote UK forum has comprehensive threads on the elections on a county by county (and unitary) basis including details of those nominated. And so far it looks like the Lib Dems will come fourth in the number of candidates nominated with UKIP standing more candidates than the party in Lancashire, Derbyshire and Norfolk - and  more worryingly for the the Lib Dems - in Dorset and Devon, traditional strongholds for the party (and where it has MPs).  In the Isle of Wight, where the Lib Dems held the seat until 2001 the party is standing in just seven out of 40 seats with UKIP standing in 29 and even Labour managing to find 23 candidates.

Two years of hollowing out has taken its toll and the collapse in membership means the pool of those able (let alone willing) to stand has been squashed.  Clegg and the leadership cannot ignore the party any more.  Issues like secret courts - while having almost no impact on the wider voting public - are touchstone issues for party members and activists.  If Lib Dem members are supposed to be 'on message, in volume, over time' then Clegg has to pay more attention to them.  It's a two way street.  Why should party members work to help get MPs elected (and win local elections) if the MPs ignore their views and do things totally at odds to the principles of the party?

While Clegg will no doubt point to the fact that the Lib Dems will return more county councillors than UKIP, the fact they have more candidates will boost UKIP's share of the popular vote and must make it possible the Lib Dems could come fourth in vote share - and that would be a result that shifted the tectonic plates of British politics.

1 comment:

  1. What's the point of Lib Dem candidates/councillors anyway if they are not Liberals?
    Many from my experience have lost their way.... the Party Leadership also seems to be losing the plot.....

    Good luck.