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In an not unexpected development, Tory defector and now UKIP MP Mark Reckless (Gotta love a pol with a name like that!) was the winner and retained his seat in the British Parliament in his seat in Rochester and Strood!

Here’s the results and here’s the live blog of the receipt of the results from the Guardian (UK) newspaper (As usual Andrew Sparrow is fabulous and the results are too):

Byelection results in full

Here’s the Press Association table with the results, and percentages.

Mark Reckless (UKIP) 16,867 (42.10%)

Kelly Tolhurst (C) 13,947 (34.81%, -14.39%)

Naushabah Khan (Lab) 6,713 (16.76%, -11.70%)

Clive Gregory (Green) 1,692 (4.22%, +2.69%)

Geoff Juby (LD) 349 (0.87%, -15.39%)

Hairy Knorm Davidson (Loony) 151 (0.38%)

Stephen Goldsbrough (Ind) 69 (0.17%)

Nick Long (PBP) 69 (0.17%)

Jayda Fransen (Britain 1st) 56 (0.14%)

Mike Barker (Ind) 54 (0.13%)

Charlotte Rose (Ind) 43 (0.11%)

Dave Osborn (Pat Soc) 33 (0.08%)

Christopher Challis (Ind) 22 (0.05%)

UKIP maj 2,920 (7.29%)

Electorate 79,163; Turnout 40,065 (50.61%, -14.32%)

Several observations.

First, there should be more MP defections.  I will look and see if there are any rumo(u)rs of such when I get up this morning (I am writing at about 230 am on 11/21)  Here is a veteran local government officer defection from Tory to UKIP yesterday in Norfolk.

Second, the Liberal Democrats are in serious trouble – nearly beat by the joke Monster Raving Loony party!  And the Greens beat the LibDems handily.  I will make a bold prediction:  Merger talks will start between the Greens and the LibDems.  They may not formally merge but they have to work together.

This seat was not at all favorable to UKIP as Matthew Goodwin, author of a book about UKIP tweeted:

Those who say Ukip not delivering same lead as Clacton shd look at demography. Clacton no.1 most Ukip-friendly seat, Rochester & Strood 271

There are over 600 seats in Parliament.

Third, renewed calls for new leadership in BOTH the Tory and Labour parties.

Fourth, the UKIP train of sovereignty and liberty rolls down the tracks with renewed vigo(u)r!

Fifth, the real lesder of UKIP is not Nigel Farage but Douglas Carswell.  He will be the leader in Parliament but he also is a serious political intellect with real ideas.  I will in next week or two begin to analyze Carswell’s book co-written when he was a Tory MP with (still but I’ll check to be sure 🙂 ) Tory MEP Daniel Hannan.  I am re-reading it.  The Plan: Twelve Months to Renew Britain.  It should be adopted immediately as the UKIP manifesto with the exception of the NHS part, which cannot be adopted yet but reform of NHS should be done if UKIP wins another national election.  Carswell is a Newt Gingrich (also an intellect who rose to the top with his daring and revolutionary Contract with America, who was cited as inspiration for Carswell and Hannan) for Britain.

Sixth, someone will use my Farage Labourite term (and probably will not give me credit!); let’s recall where I got it from:  It is an adaptation of the term in the 1980 election – Reagan Democrat:  The Democrat voter who switched to vote for Reagan due to national defense and values issues.  Tim Stanley at the Telegraph implied it well here (emphasis added):

Thank goodness that’s over! Mark Reckless won the Rochester and Strood by-election after what felt like the longest election count in history: Robert Mugabe has faked national elections in a shorter time. But when the announcement finally came, the result was clear. Ukip first with about seven points over the Tories (as Ukip insiders were saying the day before voting); Labour embarrassed into third place; the Lib Dems garnering a pathetic 349 votes. I sincerely look forward to the day when my children say to me, “Daddy what was a Lib Dem?” And I can reply, “They were what people voted for before Ukip came along.”

The ghost of the Lib Dems might whisper that they were the leopards before the jackals – and Ukip is certainly starting to look like a more plebian third party. In his victory speech, Reckless claimed that the radical “working class tradition” has “found a home in Ukip”. And he’s not far wrong. Britain now has a political class war on its hands and – in perverse British fashion – it’s the Right, not the Left, that started it.

For political realignment to start and succeed, there is usually a transforming moment where old allegiances are cast aside and new ones embraced.  Perhaps the near win in Middleton in October is that moment for UKIP.  The old parties still have some clout but people are willing to look about for new ones.  Hence the interest in the SNP and the Greens.  The 2020 General Election could be a tight contest between UKIP and Greens with Scotland dominated by the SNP.

Finally, Reckless had a nice victory speech!  He thanked the Farage Labourites who helped, struck a conciliatory tone on immigration, and finally called for others throughout Britain to join him and his new party:

We must be a party that speaks to the whole nation.

Imagine what it would be like to have a block of Ukip MPs at Westminster large enough to hold the balance of power.

If you believe in an independent Britain, come with us and we will give you back your country, he says.

There actually were two elections tonight in Rochester – a local one as well – and the defector to UKIP won that one too!

We’ve just had the result of the Peninsula ward byelection.

The Ukip candidate, Chris Irvine, won. He was the Conservative candidate who defected.

He got 2,850 votes. The Conservative candidate, Ron Sands, was in second place, with 1,965.

So, it excitement for UKIP and gloom for almost everyone else.  So I did my (quiet) victory lap!  Now go to bed, America!


About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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