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The polls are open in Rochester and Strood. Mark Reckless is promising fireworks if he wins:
“During the campaign I have spoken with two Conservative MPs about the possibility of their moving over and I think they will want to see what the result is before making any decisions. One of them I had discussions by telephone and the other I met in a location not in the constituency.”
Polls close at 10pm. Declaration expected at 3:30am…
The latest video attack ad of the Rochester and Strood campaign is playing out in the local media…
This is the online version of the main local paper covering Rochester and Strood, and it is running paid for American style anti-Reckless attack ad videos. Whether this is Jim Messina’s influence or just the inevitable next step in digital campaigning is unclear. It is a lot more entertaining than a leaflet through the letterbox…
It is also getting under the skin of Mark Reckless, who is protesting vociferously and unconvincingly on Twitter that he didn’t flop-flop on supporting a massive local housing development for 12,000 people – in doing so making the rookie mistake of repeating his opponent’s charge. It is cheering up Tories who have been on the back foot in this by-election campaign until now…
The Tories are going very negative on Mark Reckless in Rochester:
Meanwhile UKIP are set for their biggest ever campaign day tomorrow, bussing in 10% of their entire party membership in Rochester on one day. The Tories are calling in the cavalry with hunting supporters turning out to back their candidate on Sunday. Thirteen days to go…
The latest poll has UKIP 15% ahead of the Tories in Rochester & Strood.
The gap is increasing…
UKIP have been given a wake up call in Thurrock, losing heavily to Labour in a council by-election last night. Despite constituency polling putting UKIP’s parliamentary candidate Tim Aker in first place in the seat, Labour won West Thurrock and South Stifford by a thumping 50% to UKIP’s 35%. Thurrock is right up there among UKIP’s top target seats, where incumbent Tory MP Jackie Doyle-Price has a majority of 92 and the Labour candidate, carpet-bagging former SpAd Polly Billington, is struggling to make an impact. UKIP should have won Heywood and Middleton but fell 600 votes short because they just didn’t have the resources on the ground. At every test so far, UKIP’s field operation has been their biggest weakness and the old parties will be clinging to that next year. If the promised earthquake is to happen in May, they need to get their act together and start spending big bucks on their campaign infrastructure.
UPDATE: UKIP sources say Labour were so scared there were shadow cabinet ministers out in Thurrock campaigning for a council by-election.
Incoming kitchen sink. The Tories are offering a massive choice to the people of Rochester: which Kent(ish) female councillor would you like to be their candidate?
“Kelly Tolhurst is a life-long resident of Medway and was elected to the council in 2011. She is the cabinet member for school improvement. She now runs her own marine survey business in Rochester and has served as a local councillor for over three years. In a statement, the Conservative association said she had “seen the strain that excessive immigration has put on housing and our local services.” Anna Firth lives in Sevenoaks with her husband and three children and was brought up in Essex. Formerly a barrister, she now serves on the Sevenoaks council. She was shortlisted for the Thanet South constituency but lost out to Craig Mackinlay. She is a governor of Tonbridge Grammar School for Girls.”
While every voter in the seat will be invited to take part, the pool is somewhat limited. Labour already have a female candidate in place and knocking on doors.
Dates for your diary:
October 23 – candidate announced.
November 20 – polling day.
November 21 – panic stations for someone.
UKIP remain bookies’ favourite but plenty of time for the wheels to come off…
On Monday newbie pollster Michael Ashcroft told us that Labour was 19% ahead in Heywood & Middleton. His polling in the marginals has also consistently forecast Labour making a remarkably strong showing. Something that over in CCHQ Grant Shapps and Lynton Crosby bitterly dispute. They will take some consolation that Ashcroft’s margin of error on Thursday in Labour’s favour was 17%…
Douglas Carswell (UKIP) 21,113 (59.75%)
Giles Watling (Con) 8,709 (24.64%)
Tim Young (Lab) 3,957 (11.20%)
Chris Southall (Green) 688 (1.95%)
Andy Graham (LibDem) 483 (1.37%)
Heywood and Middleton:
Liz McInnes (Lab) 11,633 (40.9%)
John Bickley (UKIP) 11,016 (38.7)
Iain Gartside (Con) 3,496 (12.3%)
Anthony Smith (LibDem) 1,457 (5.1%)
UKIP lost Heywood and Middleton by 617 votes, voting Tory let Labour in…
Mirror’s ‘UKIP Goggles’ App Backfires | Press Gazette
Woolas Agent Standing for UKIP | MEN
Compassionate Left in Action | Mark Wallace
Sainsbury’s Distance Themselves From Sick Cam Tweeter | Speccie
Elites Pay Price for Killing Grammar Schools | Jago Pearson
Thornberry Makes Burnham Leadership Favourite | Matthew Norman
Guido’s Column | Sun
BBC Still Ignoring Savile Evidence | Telegraph
Politicians Brought Down by Twitter | CityAm
Ed the Biggest Loser in Rochester | Trevor Kavanagh
A Just Way to Manage Migration | Mats Persson
Boris on his fellow Islingtonista Emily Thornberry:
“It was an entirely run-of-the-mill English townscape, with some straightforward words to go with it. There was no obvious insult, no abuse, no overt sneering. She might have got away with it entirely, had some alert blogger not spotted it. He instantly detected the coded message that Emily Thornberry was sending to all her right-on, bien-pensant, Labour-luvvie friends in Islington, or wherever else it is that they follow her on Twitter.”