Nigel Farage and UKIP’s newest party member Douglas Carswell MP looked like a honeymooning couple on the prom as they undertook their first walk about in Clacton today. Officially, Carswell is the UKIP underdog in the by-election but if today is anything to go by this is going to be more like a coronation than a genuine political scrap.
“He could have a pile of dog shit on his chest and he’d still win” local bar manager Ben told Breitbart London “the money he’s brought to the area is amazing. Clacton is on the rise.” Ben said he didn’t vote in the general election of 2010 but he’s backing Carswell this time.
His comments reflected an uncomfortable truth for David Cameron: it is hard to find anyone who is not voting for Carswell. Unemployed Mark Bryan, who happened upon Carswell and Farage on his way to a job interview was typical of the voters the pair encountered. He said: “We all love Nigel round here. Everyone is sick of the mainstream parties. We can’t get jobs because of all the immigrants Labour let in, we now want control of our borders back.”
Carswell was dismissive when asked by Breitbart London whether his popularity meant he would win would with “any rosette on”. If this is true it would mean that a win in Clacton would prove Carswell’s popularity but say almost nothing about UKIP itself. Farage denied that his new man would win whatever party he was in saying: “He wouldn’t win if he was a Liberal Democrat”, but some voters suggested that he might win even if he were.
Calmly walking around chatting to voters Carswell clearly knew that he was having a good first day. But one day does not win an election. He thanked everyone he met for sticking with him, but also warned them that every vote counts.
The MP told one couple: “I might lose, the Westminster machine is going to throw hundreds of politicians and activists at this election.” He was clearly encouraged by the support from a town that has clearly defected to UKIP with him. But the Conservatives will throw the kitchen sink at him and their machine will be bigger and better resourced than anything UKIP could offer.
Carswell claimed that he was relieved he was no-longer in the Conservatives, whilst also being polite about his former bosses. He said last night he had his first good nights sleep in years because he had finally defected.
UKIP will probably win, Carswell did not look like a man who is leaving the Westminster circuit anytime soon, but perhaps he will have a few sleepless nights before polling day. The Clacton by-election is not a done deal, yet.