Nigel Farage went on the offensive today as victory celebrations turned into a series of pledges to keep up the UKIP “momentum”. In a short speech in Westminster the UKIP leader told a packed room of journalists that his party had achieved something that “had not been achieved in a century, a party outside the main two, winning an election.”
Farage talked about his party being “a truly United Kingdom Independence Party” having made “breakthroughs” in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. He admitted that UKIP were unlikely to win a European seat in Northern Ireland but described the election of David Coburn in Scotland as something that Scottish Nationalist First Minister Alex Salmond “will not enjoy”. But he went on to say that “the single most remarkable result was Wales” where the party had come “within a hairs breath of beating Labour”.
In order to keep up momentum Farage announced the creation of a ‘shadow cabinet’, as reported by Breitbart London and a strategy to target seats much like Paddy Ashdown had for the Liberal Democrats. Lord Ashdown pursued a strategy throughout the 1990’s of targeting almost all his national resources into the seats in which his party where strong on the local council.
This enabled the Liberal Democrats to ‘cheat’ the first past the post system and get a large number of MPs even though their vote share might have left them with almost none. In line with that strategy Farage announced that his focus would be on seats were UKIP gained at the local elections. These include the coastal towns of: Great Yarmouth, Boston, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Folkestone, and Grimsby. “We do like to be besides the seaside,” he quipped.
He also pledged that the “people’s army would march on Newark” for the Westminster by-election in ten days time. He conceded that the Tory majority is “enormous” but that his party was willing to attempt “to climb Everest”.
Mr Farage admitted that the election had not all been “plain sailing” and that to make inroads into Westminster they would have to “improve vetting of candidates”. He pledged to take on new staff to ensure this work was done better in future.