As the Daily Mail sternly noted, UKIP, with Douglas “Kamikaze” Carswell as their candidate, could well win the upcoming Clacton by-election by a substantial margin, which in the Mail’s view means that Young Dave has been pandering to the unholy triumvirate of political correctness, the EU, and same-sex marriage, and sometimes all three. The Tories’ prospects look bleak.
It's squeaky finger up the bum time again
What may make matters even worse, as I observed last week, is that party chairman Grant “Spiv” Shapps may have to rely on his pal Mark Clarke and the Road Trip 2015 organisation, which will be able to send well over 1,500 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed activists into the constituency, but as they are mostly young people, all those UKIP-leaning retirees may not take kindly to the idea.
So what do the Tories do? The Clacton electorate would not be impressed if Cameron and his fellow jolly good chaps drafted London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson as their candidate, and they have been persuaded that the things to be concerned about are mainly immigration (not much of that in Clacton) and the dastardly EU.
The silver lining on this otherwise big and dark grey cloud concerns UKIP’s leader, Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who, in one of those moments when he could be prised away from propping up the nearest saloon bar, declared that the world leader he most admired was one Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, now presiding over an attempt to annex part of Ukraine while pretending Russia is not involved, honestly.
Mr Thirsty said of Putin “The way he played the whole Syria thing. Brilliant”, and he defended him a second time after Prince Brian likened the Russian leader to Hitler: “Prince Charles has made those comments. I know some people feel that way about Putin. I think there’s a difference and the difference, I think, is that right from the very start Hitler was expansionist and we haven’t seen much evidence of that until now from Putin”. He may be regretting that one right now.
That changed after MH17: “Everybody would like to see him say something rather more strongly than has happened. It shows the folly of putting weapons into the hands of indisciplined people. Be that the Russians to the separatists, or Britain to the rebel forces in Syria. He looks cold to the point of callousness”.
But Farage has given the Tories a significantly-sized stick for them to pick up and beat him with. His candidate is all in favour of more democracy – Carswell wants to move politics closer to the people – yet he professes admiration for one world leader whose only interest in the ballot box is massaging the results until they favour the view of Himself Personally Now. CCHQ will be working on that right now.
Nigel Farage may not lose Clacton for his party. But he has given the Tories hope.