THEY ARE an amiable lot down at UKIP towers at Daybreak Windows in Stanford-le-Hope. One of life’s lighter moments is to chew the fat over a cup of coffee and discuss things with the enthusiastic members. Well, when we say discuss, it is difficult to discuss much with the leader of the UKIP’s Clive Broad as Clive has a certain “Brian Blessed’ approach to political discussion.
Of course it is even harder to discuss politics with Clive in the run up to their most important local election campaign in their history as Clive has, according to his brother and fellow candidate, Alan, gone on holiday to Cyprus for two weeks and “may or may not be back for election day”.
Some would say that therein lies the problem with Thurrock UKIP as a substantive party. Just when they are remotely likely to make some form of impression, they do give the impression that they are something akin to a comedy act that has a few good political punchlines but they are obscured by the general slapstick routine.
What will be success for UKIP. In 2007, the BNP gained 24.6% of the vote. That, we guess, is the benchmark. If they can get somewhere near that point then the fourteen candidates will have done very well.
Can any of them win. Some pundits thought that Clive Broad could win Stifford Clays. Not now. The campaign was a steady one. We may have questioned the mass delivery of copies of the Daily Express but it was advertising their message re concern about Europe and that resonates with a lot of people in the borough.
Most of the candidates have been “low profile” but others have displayed unsavoury characteristics. According to Labour sources, there was an unpleasant tirade of abuse heaped uon them by a UKIP candidate in the east of the borough that illustrated that scratch the surface with some UKIPers and we seem to return to the seamier side of certain seventies sitcoms.
Of course, there is one outstanding UKIP candidate and that is Tim Aker in Aveley. Once again, the big billboard is out at the side of his house in Mill Lane and Tim has been working hard. He may not win but it will add credence to a political career that has seen him impress at the Taxpayers Alliance and as an assistant to Thurrock MEP David Campbell Bannerman.
The only problem is that UKIP still seem keen to court the disaffected from the Conservative Party. Some have come over such as “I’m here all week” cllr Stuart St Clair-Haslam. They, according to reports, tried and failed to court the Mayor Anne Cheale and cllr Iain Harrison.
Tim has managed to get the backing of Tory councillor John Cowell who has put his posters in the front of his shop on Aveley High Street.
The problem here is that they were borne out of disaffected Tories. They are keen to gather people together who have a coherent political philosophy but instead they seem to attract the flotsam and jetsam of the Conservative Party.
But what lies at the heart of UKIP is a good heart. These are the people that will be helping out at charity events. These are the people marshalling at Thurrock Cycle Marathon and similar events. They have the history of the borough at heart and in most ways the economic future as well.
So we will see what happens on May 5th and 6th.
YT prediction: 5,000 votes