South Thanet: UKIP sent packing
Labour’s victory in the by-election in Newington, Ramsgate, with a 7.7% swing, deprived UKIP of control of Thanet District Council. Successful candidate, councillor Karen Constantine, reports.
NEWINGTON WAS AN IMPORTANT by-election. Much was at stake. Labour needed to demonstrate its core values to reconnect to an impoverished community – demonstrating that it cares and can be a realistic, hopeful, option.
In May 2015, Thanet residents from all sections of the community came to together to fight Farage at the General Election. Despite an estimated spend of £2.5 million, the poster boy for the far right left empty handed. However, we were stuck with an appallingly talentless influx of UKIP councillors, a UKIP-controlled council and UKIP founder turned Tory, Craig MacKinlay, as South Thanet’s MP.
As expected, the UKIP council descended into farcical chaos. It spectacularly let down the people of Newington. However, we needed to promote Labour as the true party of the people. Despite a campaign during bitter cold and dark nights, we pulled together a strong strategy and ran a tight ship. Many said it was the most enjoyable and friendly campaign they’d been involved with. We had support from everywhere. It’s actually not a joke to say it was a campaign run on bread-based snacks!
Today UKIP is in terminal decline – no MP, no UKIP council control. Our fightback continues but we are acutely aware that the real enemy of the people is the Conservative Party and its dehumanising scorched earth policies. Labour’s efforts must now be concentrated on exposing the Tories for their punishing, ideological callousness. With UKIP neutralised, Craig MacKinlay is now the focus. Solidarity!