Oh Clacton, what have you done?

Clacton is another ‘on-Sea’; much like my place of birth (Westcliff-on-Sea), my home (Leigh-on-Sea), the borough I dwell within (Southend-on-Sea). It is in Essex, and it is a town I have occasionally visited – usually at either Clacton Town FC or as a guest of Clacton Labour Party. The first visit I can recall was whilst visiting my brother when he lived at Wivenhoe at the tail end of the 1970s – and it left me with the impression of being a smaller version of the seaside town I called, and still call, home.

Good evening, I’m from Essex (in case you couldn’t tell) … well, actually it is difficult at times to tell. You see I think Europe is a good thing, am relaxed about immigration, am a liberal tree-hugging Guardian reader and a very proud socialist. This, it seems, puts me at odds with the majority in my county. Yet much that I do is like the rest – I am hard-working, aspirational, enjoy my football and the Thames delta blues. I am a home-owner who enjoys socialising, good food, and travel.

I guess my fondness for politics sets me apart from many, but that would be true for anywhere in the country. Somehow democratic socialism may have touched me, but it is not reaching sufficiently into parts of Essex.

Clacton is a mixed bag; whilst it contains the genteel middle classes, and a smattering of the well-to-do, it also includes the most deprived ward in the whole country in Jaywick. The deprived should be queuing up to vote for Labour; they are not and that is either a failure in policy or a failure of message.

The media narrative for Clacton has been of a certain UKIP win, and this belief in victory (defeat in you are not a fan of UKIP) must affect turnout – Ukippers will skip to the polls, those who prefer their politics in the centre or to the left will often wonder what the point is, voting in the near-certain knowledge of failure.

Only the top three saved their deposits, and whilst no-one but turncoat Carswell will be pleased with their vote share, the Liberal Democrats must be really worried. The yellow vote fell from 12.9% in 2010 to 1.3% yesterday, from third to fifth in a little over four years. Oh dear.

59.7% UKIP
24.6% Conservative
11.2% Labour
1.9% Green
1.3% Liberal Democrat

Meanwhile in Brightlingsea UKIP got its come-uppance. Having dumped the Clacton UKIP PPC in favour of turncoat Carswell, the Clacton UKIP PPC resigned his County Council seat. This by-election, also contested yesterday, saw a gain for the Conservatives:

33.7% Conservative
30.6% UKIP
22.3% Liberal Democrat
9.8% Labour
3.7% Green

This is very significant for Essex County Council: the composition now is

43 Conservative
9 Labour
9 Liberal Democrat
2 Green
4 others

UKIP are relegated from equal second to fourth place.


One Response to Oh Clacton, what have you done?

  1. jayman says:

    voting for UKIP is like cutting your nose off to spite your face… The countries political institution had better start to ‘readjust’ the entire system of representation and rectify the way in which political representatives engage in political discourse. the Labour party need to get their act together and need to start making the argument. The Tory party need to start ‘talking and understanding’ as opposed to ‘hectoring and laughing’. This all needs to happen before the voting public start to miss the sense of smell.

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