Thinking on Clacton: and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started

It would seem that there is little point in actually running the Clacton by-election, opinion informed in large measure by opinion polls declares that Douglas Carswell will be re-elected with a handsome majority.

Carswell is the second Tory in recent times to have forced a by-election on his constituents in the hope that the status quo prevails. Is this a sensible use of tax-payers money, especially in austere times? Democracy should not be bounded by financial constraints, but neither is it an excuse to be profligate.

Six years ago David Davis resigned and got re-elected over a civil liberties issue, forcing an estimated £80,000 bill on the tax-payer. Carswell is intent on humiliating his ex-boss, and to see no change in who represents the residents of Clacton.

Whilst two may not be a trend, I cannot help but wonder whether elections should be used for anything but putting into office representatives of those who can vote. Carswell’s and Davis’s egos may be massaged by these vanity exercises, but is democracy served?

Mr Carswell may argue that a change of party means he needs to seek a fresh mandate, and there is sense in this argument. However, with just about eight months until a General Election, where I presume he will again present himself for re-election, I wonder whether a little more patience should have been exercised.

The opinion polls and the result last time show a pretty clear picture:

Lord Ashcroft poll Survation poll 2010
UKIP 56% 64% —–
Conservative 24% 20% 53%
Labour 16% 13% 25%
Liberal Democrat 2% 2% 13%

** Survation poll figures from here –

*** Lord Ashcroft poll figures from here –

Whilst all parties are taking a hit from UKIP, the biggest hit is coming at the expense of the Conservatives. I believe the Tories somewhat ambiguous stance over Europe does not help their cause.

I note that the Tories are opting for an open primary to select their candidate – which smacks of desperation to me. This does invite the intriguing prospect of a non-Tory being chosen – perhaps their talent pool runs so shallow that this is what they are hoping for.

Tim Young would be my choice for the election, naturally. I know Tim pretty well and he would be a good voice for Clacton and its people. Follow his campaign on Twitter here.



One Response to Thinking on Clacton: and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started

  1. Helen Boyd says:

    Quite agree Julian. This is about ego, not democracy. It is an expensive exercise and hardly in the public interest

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