Dover for the continent Clacton for the incontinent. To win Clacton the Kippers will have to re nobble the care homes

28 Aug 2014 at 13:35

I would love to say how we e all predicted that Douglas Carswell would doggie paddle his way to the Kippers. But it would be a lie. Particularly as his close chum, the alarmingly wild eyed MEP Daniel Hannan, rejected Nigel Farage’s heavy petting.

I thought perhaps that it might be the constituency boundaries. I rather assumed that he had taken over Dick Body’s old patch (he of the flapping white coats) of Boston. But no, that is Rwandan enthusiast, Mark Simmonds’ manor. Carswell represents Clacton, the exciting scene of Mods and Rockers riots in the 1960s. Now only exciting thing about Clacton on the Peter Bruff pier, named after that lovely old Archie Andrews radio vent act where poor old Bruff was exposed on TV as someone who moved his lips.

In fact Clacton is a redrawn Harwich, which is God’s waiting room as there are so many care homes. I remember going to speak on behalf of Sir Julian Ridsdale who was their MP during the eighties. I am not sure why I was invited as my audience, appearing to be enjoying formaldehyde cocktails, whilst being a triumph of the mortician’s art who were were far more interested in the bingo game. The real power was Julian’s wife, Paddy, who was Ian Fleming’s inspiration for Miss Moneypenny. Julian had a wonderful way of dealing with questions. ‘My dear, Paddy will have a word with matron.’ A question Number 10 strategists will be pondering.

But they do have Frinton, not perhaps in the forefront of the digital revolution. There was outrage when their first pub licence was granted a few years ago. And when a fish and chip shop opened? Well, not quite pitchforks and burning effigies, more Zimmer frames and curare tipped knitting needles.

So Clacton is a constituency ripe more for Mogadon rather than Kipperdom. I remember a rather unfair slogan many years ago, ‘Dover for the Continent, Clacton for the incontinent.’ Unfair but true.

I would not bet my pension that the Kippers are necessarily going to be shu in. The writ will probably be moved when the clocks have gone back. So canvassing is going to be horrendous. Old people do not open their doors when it is dark. This election is going to be won on the postal vote. And unless Carswell has managed to get hold of old voting lists, he will be in a bit of trouble. The nursing homes are going to have to re nobbled if UKIP wants to win.

And then there is Jaywick. It would be unkind to say that this is like a massive open prison. But supermarkets mark their produce when it is past their steal by date. As the Kippers are the scourge of scroungers they are not their natural supporters. But as most live in beach huts they are unlikely to be on the electoral roll anyway.

So why did Carswell light the touch paper to his thermo nuclear squib? As I am not a Psychiatrist therefore I am unqualified to say. However, the whips do have classifications to assist them in their assessments of their little charges. ‘Shit, absolute shit, insane’. I suspect that dear old Douglas is way down that list.

But enough flippancy. This is a distraction. The economy is leaping ahead, unemployment is falling and labour has been a dead duck for so long they will soon get a telegram from the Queen. It will put the Tory backbenchers in their default mode. Blind panic. Prepare for more ludicrous talks about doing a deal with Farage. No way. No how.

Hang on, as I sip my dry martini in the Servis air lounge in Aberdeen I see that Bill Cash is on the BBC saying that Carswell is guilty of a terrible misjudgement. From the man who invented the word. Joyous.

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