There are Four Key Learnings from the Elections

Joining us from Dallas Texas this evening, Nigel I suppose in one sense last night’s results show that incumbent Mayors are doing fairly well, London to one side and we’ll sort of leave off too much speculation about London. It looks like there could be an upset there is this the United Kingdom following this almost American experiment of split ticket voting of almost States being comparable to Mayoralties and incumbents and people feeling like yeah this is our guy?

Yeah, to some extent you’re right of course and you know Ben Howchen personally has a lot of support in Tees Valley he won again but hey you know he was still down by 20% so there was still a big you know National vote share drop for the Conservatives that played its role.

We’re going to find out in Birmingham very shortly what happens, I suspect that your previous guest in the last segment George Galloway may have actually turned that vote in Street’s favour by splitting Labour but look, take the big picture you take the personalities out of it there are four things that I deduce.

Number one, the Conservatives are doomed, there is no way back.

Number two, whilst it’s a good night for Labour there’s no excitement or enthusiasm.

Number three, the Reform vote where they stood shows that the polls you know aren’t mythical actually you give people the chance to vote and they vote as they say they’re going to with the pollsters.

Sectarian Voting has Arrived in the UK

Fourth is that sectarian politics is here to stay this is way more than just Gaza we now have Islamic voting in Britain which over the course of the next decade will give the Labour party a very major headache, certainly seems to be in places like Alm in Kirkley, although perhaps not enough to dent any sort of parliamentary majority at the next election.

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17% in Blackpool South

Nigel I want to pick you up on Blackpool South because the Reform Party this was almost the perfect petri dish to break through in a way that UKIP managed to time and time again in 2013 and 2014. You’ll remember very well places like Eastley where UKIP beat the Tories into second place got over 30% of the vote. Well, in this by-election last night in a heavily Brexit voting area where the Tory resigned in disgrace the Reform Party couldn’t even make it into second place.

Well, by 117 votes you’re right but that’s not really the point is it look Reform, where Reform is now is not where UKIP was 10 years ago. 10 years ago, we’d spent, I’d spent 20 years building up a national structure in that party. Most politics that happens in Britain is unpaid volunteers and to build that organic structure doesn’t happen overnight, so there’s no comparison between UKIP 10 years ago and Reform now.

Reform is a relatively small structure, it doesn’t have a big base it’s not been around very long, it wouldn’t have even survived unless Richard Tice had kept it going and the fact that they outperformed in a competitive by-election where the big parties are piling in hundreds of their own people every day, the fact that it managed to get just shy of 17% of the vote tells you the Reform vote is real and there is something quite big to build on here.

The Reform UK Vote is a Real Vote

The Reform vote certainly does seem to be more real than some snide and sniping columnists have suggested in the last few weeks but UKIP was on twice that share in by elections, UKIP was winning seats in Hartlepool, Reform UK currently coming a strong second in some seats in Hartlepool, UKIP with more organization more on the ground counsellors was able only ever in a general election to win one seat on these numbers.

Reform UK will not win a single seat. Well in 2015 of course which was the general election that I led UKIP into, the big problem we faced was that there was a perception that we were splitting the Conservative vote and because of that and we still got 4 million votes but because of that a couple of million people who might have voted for us didn’t, they feared a Labour SNP Coalition.

Here’s the difference this time and by the way I’m just the honorary president, I’m giving you this as whilst I support the party and believe in it, but here’s the difference when voters go to the polls this year, I’m guessing November but who knows, the argument that a vote for Reform is a wasted vote and will let Labour in has almost disappeared overnight.

In the Midlands, the North and I think South Wales is in that category the Tories cannot win the election, they cannot, the Tory press cannot squeeze the Reform vote because they’re going to lose anyway and what you’re going to see and we saw it last night in Sunderland, in Barnsley and places like that is that Reform will be the Challenger to the Labour party now albeit the Labour party are a long way ahead at the moment and what Reform will need to do is to get almost the whole of that Conservative vote with it to have a chance of winning those seats, I wouldn’t, given how politics is changing so quickly, I wouldn’t Tom rule it out.