Result in Heywood and Middleton at GE 2010 pic.twitter.com/l8HQ2vq4SC
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) September 24, 2014
And you know what? They’ll probably succeed
Suddenly the Heywood and Middleton by-election two weeks from today is not looking like the foregone conclusion that it appeared when the vacancy was created following the death of the popular MP Jim Dobbin.
In the past couple of days there have been are a wave of stories about the possibility of UKIP taking the hitherto rock solid LAB seat. This is from last night’s Manchester Evening News:-
“Labour figures are now genuinely worried Ukip could win the Heywood and Middleton by-election a fortnight tomorrow, we understand.
The anti-EU party has already promised to give them a shock on October 9 â€“ but Labour insiders now fear Ukip could actually take it….. they were worried at how close their main rivals could come, but several told the M.E.N there is a real possibility they could actually lose to Mr Bickley. One said the pro-Ukip sentiment on the doorstep is palpable and that some colleagues are ‘terrified’ they could lose.
Certainly the high BNP share there in 2010 together with recent good local elections performances for UKIP are very positive indicators for Farage’s party.
For me the interesting thing is that it is LAB that is now raising the expectations about UKIP and an indication how Miliband’s party will deal with the Farage threat at GE2015.
The first audience for this is the party itself. They need to get activists engaged. But there’s a second audience – the 23% who voted LD there at GE2010 and the 27% who voted Tory. The LAB strategy seems to be designed to attract anti-UKIP tactical votes.
For as Ipsos-MORI reported earlier in the week Farage’s party is seen as the one that’s least liked and is most disliked.
- What better way could there be of defending the seat than by galvanising anti-kippers of all colours to impede the “purple peril” than by suggesting that it could win?