One of those clever young chaps at The UK Spectator has poured some cold water over speculation that UKIP could do well, even win, should a by election be held at in the Portsmouth South constituency of beleaguered Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock.
Young Mr Jones points out that the Portsmouth South demographics indicate a younger population and, as we all know, only old people, hankering over a Britain that never really existed, support UKIP.
But we can expect the average Portsmouth South voter to be at least slightly younger — and therefore less likely to vote Ukip — than the average Eastleigh voter.
Moreover the Lib Dems are deeply entrenched locally, as they were in Eastleigh
And, like in Eastleigh, the Liberal Democrats dominate at a local government level — they hold 17 of the 18 City Council seats in the constituency (the Tories have one).
Therefore, he implies, let’s stop fantasising over UKIP and get down to good old fashioned traditional three way party politics…..it’s all a bit of a fairy story.
What he conveniently ignores, of course, is that the Lib Dems only won Eastleigh through the rather dubious organising of postal votes. On the day real time voters went massively UKIP because, during the actual campaign, voters were impressed by the party’s actual messaging (as distinct from the usual media inspired caricature) and the quality of the UKIP candidate.
Eastleigh has given the party a tremendous boost by proving that voting purple no longer a Raving Monster Loony Party moment. The media has begun to take the party a little more seriously, Nigel Farage’s Common Sense tour has played to packed halls and the national polls has shown UKIP pushing ahead of the Lib Dems.
This is not to say that the party would win in Portsmouth but the fact that a high tory outlet like the Spectator is engaging in a little agitprop shows that Cameron & Co are worried..
And so they should be…..membership is growing fast and a lot of these are from the younger demographic. Moreover they are not all disillusioned former Conservative voters. Some are from other parties and a number are people who were previously apolitical and who see the party as giving a voice to ordinary folk outside the metropolitan cultural elite.
Instead of pontificating from his media perch why doesn’t Jonathan Jones get down to some real journalism and get out and about to find out why so many people are joining UKIP – and what they are doing to bring it closer to the corridors of power…
But then that would take expenditure of shoeleather and chatting with the great unwashed – and that would never do…..might miss a few cocktail parties….