Sunday, 6 May 2012

Fresh Choice was the wrong choice

Thursday's performance in London was pretty disappointing with mayoral candidate, Lawrence Webb, gaining only 2% of the vote and the party failing to hit the 5% mark required for a seat on the London Assembly.  But what went wrong?

The general consensus is that having "Fresh Choice for London" on the ballot papers was the reason behind the unexpectedly low result for UKIP in London and the consensus is probably right.  The UKIP name is well known now and upwards of 1 in 10 people told pollsters that they would vote for the party.  On average it was actually 14% of people that voted UKIP so the polls underestimated the purple vote.

London bucked the trend though with less than 5% in the London-wide vote and 2% in the mayoral election.  The London mayoral election is like a Westminster election so the 2%, whilst disappointingly low, isn't particularly unusual.  But the sub-5% GLA vote is and it can only be down to the absence of UKIP's name on the ballot paper.

The decision to have "Fresh Choice of London" on the ballot papers instead of UKIP was a mistake.  Not just the slogan but actually asking for it - someone was told to fill out the papers with the wrong information and because the papers were filed at the last minute, it was too late to try and do something about it.

Some party activists who helped with the campaign in London are understandably unhappy with the "Fresh Choice for London" cock-up and some have called for whoever was responsible to be sacked.  As unnecessary as the mistake was, there's really no need to sack anyone.  There are lessons to be learnt from the London campaign but there's no need for any sackings.  Mistakes happen and election prospects go unrealised; as long as the mistakes are accepted and lessons have been learnt, we need to start working on the 2015 election campaign and consolidating the massive boost we received at the ballot box this week.
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