Thursday, 12 April 2018

UKIP declining in Southend-on-Sea

UKIP are fielding three candidates in this year’s local elections in Southend-on-Sea. This is way below the numbers fielded at their high point. Here are this year’s UKIP trio:


Belfairs – Frank Snell
Blenheim Park – Paul Lloyd
West Leigh – Lesley Martin

We are back to 2008 levels and earlier in terms of the size of the UKIP team in Southend’s local elections. It remains to be seen whether we are back to those levels in terms of vote share; this table shows UKIP’s performance over the years in Southend-on-Sea.



candidates
wins
vote %
2016
16
0
14.6
2015
9
1
10.2
2014
12
5
19.1
2012
7
0
7.7
2011
9
0
6.6
2010
12
0
4.2
2008
3
0
1.3
2007
3
0
1.7
2006
2
0
2.1
2004
1
0
1.6
2000
3
0
1.5



Four years ago, when those seeking re-election on May 3rd last sought approval from their electorates, UKIP won five seats. One lasted but a year, replaced in a by-election by another from UKIP. Subsequently all have defected; three are now Independents, two sought the comforting embrace of the Conservative Party. Voting UKIP is no guarantee of getting a UIP councillor, or indeed one that stays true to their principles.

One of the UKIP councillors even tried his hand at a Parliamentary seat before deserting the party that got him elected.
Laurie Burton - Labour candidate in Blenheim Park ward
UKIP national fortunes have declined during this period too, as the referendum and a series of leadership mishaps have damaged their reason for existence, as well as their credibility.

UKIP in Southend are only attempting to recapture Blenheim Park; they are avoiding the other wards they won in in 2014. Oddly, in 2016 the fielded candidates in all but one ward, Belfairs – a ward they are contesting this time around. I am puzzled by this strategy, if indeed any thought has been given as to where they are targeting their diminished resources.

Blenheim Park will prove an intriguing contest, and any of three candidates could take it. I do not see either the Liberal Democrat or Independent making any headway, but I can envisage an improved Labour performance.

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