Conservative Home ask a question:
On the face if it, the implication is a valid one. These are seats where the number of UKIP votes is greater than the margin by which a conservative candidate was defeated. The table is from the above Con-Home piece, but updated* by me (red lines) to show one of the flaws in their premise.:
Bolton West: Labour 18,329; Conservative 18,235; UKIP 1,901; GREEN 545 Derby North: Labour 14,896; Conservative 14,283; UKIP 829; BNP 2,000 Derbyshire NE: Labour 17,948: Conservative 15,503; UKIP 2,636 Dorset mid & Poole: Labour 21,100; Conservative 20,831; UKIP 2,109 Dudley North: Labour 14,923; Conservative 14,274; UKIP 3,267; BNP 1,899 Great Grimsby: Labour 10,777: Conservative 10,063: UKIP 2,043; BNP 1,517 Hampstead & Kilburn: Labour 17,332; Conservative 17,290; UKIP 408; GREEN 759; BNP 328 Middlesbrough South: Labour 18,138; Conservative 16,461; UKIP 1,881; BNP 1,576; IND 818 Morley (Ed Balls): Labour 18,365; Conservatives 17,264; UKIP 1,506; BNP 3,535 Newcastle-Under-Lyme: Labour 16,393; Conservatives 14,841; UKIP 3,491 Plymouth Moor View: Labour 15,433; Conservatives 13,845; UKIP 3,188; BNP 1,438 Solihull: Liberal 23,635; Conservatives 23,460; UKIP 1,200; BNP 1,624 Somerton & Frome: Liberal 28,793; Conservatives 26,976; UKIP 1,932 Southampton Itchen: Labour 16,326; Conservatives 16,134; UKIP 1,928; GREEN 600 St Austell & Newquay: Liberal 20,189; Conservatives 18,877; UKIP 1,757; MEB KER 2,007; BNP 1,022 St Ives: Liberal 19,619; Conservatives 17,900; UKIP 2,560; GREEN 1,308; CORNWALL PARTIES 783 Telford: Labour 15,977; Conservatives 14,996; UKIP 2,428; BNP 1513 Walsall North: Labour 13,385; Conservatives 12,395; UKIP 1,737; BNP 2,930 Walsall South: Labour 16,211; Conservatives 14,456; UKIP 3,449 Wells: Liberal 24,560; Conservatives 23,760; UKIP 1,711; BNP 1,004 Wirral South: Labour 16,276; Conservatives 15,745; UKIP 1,274
What you’ll notice on the red lines is that other parties also peeled off votes that could make or break one of the dominant candidates. Frequently, the BNP won more votes than UKIP. If it’s fair to assume that UKIP voters are disaffected Tories, then it’s also fair to assume that BNP voters are disaffected working class socialists i.e. former Labour core voters. Greens could be disaffected Lab or Lib voters.
So UKIP no more ‘cost’ the Tories a majority than the BNP and Greens cost Labour a majority. Which brings me to my second point, and the second reason that UKIP did not steal the Tories’ victory.
People voted UKIP rather than Tory (as I did) because Cameron let us down over the Lisbon referendum and under him, the party has a pro-EU outlook. If the Tories had offered something of value to an increasingly Eurosceptic public, they could have won a comfortable majority.
Likewise, if Labour hadn’t been so arrogant and cack-handed over immigration for the last 13 years, they wouldn’t have haemorrhaged votes to the BNP.
To sum up then: It’s complete and utter cobblers.
* If you’re interested in playing with the numbers, they’re here on the Guardian’s Datablog.
6 thoughts on “UKIP did NOT cost the Tories victory.”
to be fair, i’d have voted for a euro-sceptic Conservative party. It still wouldn’t have made any difference because the Tories won here anyway.
The whole “UKIP stole votes from the Tories” sounds more like someone shooting the messenger than actually reading the message. The message was that the Tories and Labour both got their electoral strategies wrong. The whole UK electoral system is very tribal (a bit like football team supporters) and if they lose its never due to their own mistakes but the fault of someone else.
If you subtract the BNP and Green votes from UKIP, then you still get 10 seats where the net impact on your argument is more than the majority, which would be enough to give Conservatives plus DUP a slim majority of the 645 MPs attending the House of Commons.
However in the ConHome piece Tim Montgomerie points out the more basic flaw in the argument posited by the Daily Telegraph: that one cannot assume that all UKIP voters would have voted Conservative rather than abstaining (there is anecdotal evidence of a lot of protest votes over expenses went to UKIP and BNP) and its list of marginals with UKIP votes is just that, a list. I think you are being unfair to ConHome by implying that they agree with the claim.
It’s a fair point.
Probably but I carefully considered all the issue and voted UKIP from conscience. In good conscience I cannot /will not accept Call Me Dave as leader of any party that I vote for. IMO he should be a Liberal not Tory.
As a staunch old style Tory, I’d rather vote for another independent or simply abstain than vote for Cam.
Under AV a lot of Tories first preference will go to UKIP. Maybe then they’ll get the message?