It is only a by-election but do we have time to redeem ourselves?
Governments mostly don’t win by-elections; they’re a time to protest and show disaffection. It took 25 years for the Conservatives to win a by-election when in government, so we could say that the result isn’t ‘real’ and the people of Clacton are voting for more of the same i.e. the man not the party. But you cannot ignore the swing, which at 44.1% to Ukip puts it second place for the largest ever in a by-election
Labour won in Heywood and Middleton, but Ukip increased their votes by 36% and Labour achieved the unwanted prize of 3rd place for the largest reduction in share of votes ever.
With the parties of government trashed last night, this has to be the biggest opportunity for Labour. The policies of Ukip – however palatably worded to sound like the benign pursuits of a party which just wants what is right for the Great British Public – have to be countered now. Labour has to expose Ukip for what they are; a party of climate change deniers who will encourage smoking, provoke racism and who want to make the UK a closed shop for new migrants or at best subject them to destitution when they arrive.
Labour is better than this and Labour must show the UK public that they are better than this so no more votes will be wasted on this hateful Ukip wish list.
Next up Rochester and Strood… we need another podium night but one to be remembered for progress, fairness, equality and compassion.