The SKWAWKBOX

BBC News, Radio 4 and others have been giving plenty of airtime and oxygen – as they did for years without justification in featuring Farage on every possible occasion – to the UKIP ‘near-triumph’ of UKIP in the Middleton and Heywood by-election. The claim, in pseudo-rational analysis by pundits and near-histrionic terms by UKIP spokespeople, has been that the result is a scare for Labour and a clear demonstration of UKIP’s supposed threat to Labour in its heartlands.

Nonsense – as a quick comparison of yesterday’s results and the 2010 General Election results will show.

Here are the results side by side:

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The first thing to note is that Labour’s vote is down by 37% – exactly the same as the percentage drop in turnout (36/57.5 = 63%). As is well known, in what is perceived as a solid seat for any party, voters for that party usually turn out…

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