UKIP may have scored an historic win in Clacton and Labour may have (slightly) expanded its vote in Heywood and Middleton but that is not the whole story.
When you take a look at the results of both by-elections and combine them the truth of the rise of UKIP stands out in stark relief.
In short, UKIP gained a total of 32,129 votes in both Heywood & Middleton and Clacton, that represents a staggering 51.9 percent of the votes cast!
Labour, their nearest rivals and the party claiming to be a government in waiting, could only manage a total of 15,590 votes, which equates to 25.2 percent of the votes cast.
The Tories come next with only 12,205, 19.7 percent of the votes cast, with the Lib Dems bringing up the rear with a paltry 1,940 votes – just 3.1 percent of the votes cast.
Spread across two constituencies, one previously held by the Conservatives with a 12,000 majority and the other held by labour with a 6,000 majority, this result should be sending tsunami sized shock waves through Westminster.
No amount of claims of a ‘protest vote’ can hide the fact that UKIP are the party on the march. Remember that it is the main opposition that should be winning these seats easily, not being trounced in one and only holding on by the skin of its teeth in another.
Nigel Farage is right, if you don’t like Labour it’s no good voting for the Conservatives and if you don’t like the Tories it’s no good voting Labour. And in either case voting Lib Dem is a busted flush. If you want to vote tactically your only choice is to vote UKIP. Better still people should vote for what they believe in, not vote to try and avoid what they fear. Vote UKIP, get UKIP.
Remember the talk after the European MEP elections when pundits and LibLabCon politicians alike said that was the end of UKIP and it would just fade away? I remember listening to Diane Abbot saying to patrick O’Flynn that the UKIP bubble was going to burst if they did not win in Newark; ‘Trust me’ she said. Oh how wrong you and your like were!