It’s been a long time since I last wrote a blog post but I feel like I really want to write down some thoughts about Douglas Carswell so if I change my mind later on I will have to admit it rather than pretend my position has always been the same (as so many people, and particularly politicians are prone to do).
Firstly, people, particularly Louise Mench and Michael Crick have been really annoying me. I really don’t see how it is in anyway stabbing anyone in the back or betraying any of your electors to say, “I am changing parties and I am therefore going to resign my seat in parliament”. Douglas Carswell himself pointed out that a much better analogy would be stabbing people in the front and I think with the whole “stabbing people” metaphor its the back bit rather than stabbing people bit that is not OK. On top of that I’m not actually convinced that saying “the Conservative Party no longer represents me” actually deserves any metaphor as drastic as “stabbing”.
Secondly, before the poll that came out in the Mail on Sunday today I was very tempted to back Labour in the Clacton by-election. In fact I actually tweeted PaddyPower about it (because generally they only let me bet a few pence) but they never tweeted me back (thank God). Currently labour are sitting at nearly 50/1 on Betfair which I still think seems ridiculous. However, the problem is likely to be that while David Cameron would love Labour to win, so the “vote UKIP get Milliband” mantra can be really hit home. While Labour would really hope that UKIP win so that they can more easily push the Lib Dems out of the television debates and make it much easier for people to argue “vote UKIP and get UKIP” and thus Labour can hope that more Conservatives will vote UKIP even though they would prefer a Conservative government.
Of course a real Eurosceptic (who actually wants the UK to leave the European Union) would massively prefer that the Conservatives do not win the next election. This may seem a little unexpected but the reality is that any “renegotiation” that Cameron performs will likely lead to a Wilson style set of irrelevant powers returning to the UK. However, David Cameron is nowhere near a smart as Alex Salmond and so when the Better Off Out team loses the referendum, it won’t lead to some sort of “Devo-Max” but will instead lead to more integration. Thus if you want to leave the European Union a Labour government is probably not a bad outcome (if you can’t get a UKIP only or Conservative / UKIP coalition) as it will probably lead to the continued frustration with the EU.
Finally, I suspect that the Conservative party will run scared of Douglas Carswell and essentially not put up much of a fight. I can’t imagine the whole come three times or you won’t be selected plan that they ran in Newark. I wouldn’t even be surprised if Labour didn’t field a candidate (using some sort of we don’t intrude on private grief argument). However, I would be really interested in seeing an under / over market on Douglas Carswell’s vote share because I can’t believe that the Survation poll butting him on 60+% is anything other than some sort of weird sampling bias.