Following the announcement by Tory MP Louise Mensch that she is resigning her seat in the Commons and therefore triggering a by-election in the Northamptonshire constituency of Corby, there have been a number of variously silly ideas as to who might make an ideal candidate, not just for the Tories, but other potential entrants as well. Today, though, has brought the silliest of all suggestions.
It wouldn't involve Fox News Channel, either
Because, following the speculation that London’s occasional Mayor Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson might try and use the seat as his springboard back into Parliament – which Bozza had to swiftly deny – has come the musing of James “Saviour of Western civilisation” Delingpole, who has revealed that he is moving to the county, and that he is “skint”.
Perhaps all the abuse he routinely directs at the BBC has put the dampener on all those well-paid appearances that he puts in on, er, the BBC. But what is clear is that Del Boy really believes that he would be a credible candidate – for the right party, naturally. And the party onto which he has projected his ideals is UKIP, led by the self-promoting Nigel “Thirsty” Farage.
And to this prospect I say fine. Go on, Del, give us all a good laugh. So why can I say this with any confidence? Simples. Just look at the numbers. Here in Crewe and Nantwich, UKIP didn’t do better in the 2008 by-election than the 2010 General – they did worse (2.2% of the vote versus 2.8%). The only other time the party stood a candidate in the constituency (in 2001) they got less than 2%.
Now look at results in Corby: the UKIP vote share in the last four General Elections has been 0.9%, 1.8%, 2.6% and, well, nothing – they didn’t contest the seat in 2010. Anyone who admits to being “skint” and then suggests they might like to participate in an electoral contest that would result in their losing a £500 deposit might be thought not to be dealing from a full deck.
Even Farage only secured a 17.4% vote share in Buckingham last time round because he was standing against Commons Speaker John Bercow, and the Speaker, who is by tradition not opposed (no Labour or Lib Dem candidate stood against him) did not fight the kind of campaign that any entrant is likely to face over in Corby. So I’m all for Delingpole standing.
Once he’s loosed off in his usual manner and called anyone he dislikes something that sounds rather like “retard”, and been tripped up by a few of those questions that Paul Nurse so easily kebabbed him with, he’ll be well on the way to being a combination of comedy gold and a dead cert for a lost deposit. So on this one, I’m with the loathsome Toby Young. Let Delingpole be drafted.
Shooting fish in a barrel just became so much more appealing.