Kent is probably UKIP’s strongest area. There is speculation that their leader Nigel Farage may stand in the General Election in South Thanet or Folkestone. UKIP have 17 county councillors there who do not seem to have torn themselves apart – although their former chairman in Dover was removed after standing against his Party in the council elections.
Stuart Wheeler resides in Chilham Castle just outside Canterbury. The failure to expand grammar school provision in Sevenoaks gives them an issue.
Surely Ed Miliband must say a quiet prayer for the success of Kent UKIP as he crunches the numbers in Dover, South Thanet and Chatham and Aylesford – the sort of seats Labour need to win for him to enter Downing Street but where they will struggle unless UKIP’s vote splitting proves advantageous.
I think it is particularly unfortunate, given these political circumstances, that the Conservative-run Kent County Council is contemplating an increase in Council Tax.
Naturally I hope that UKIP councillors will vote against this. Yet they don’t seem to have taken much interest in finding extra savings. Indeed they voted along with a touchy feely motion from the Lib Dems and the Green Party – which called for all council staff be paid at least the Living Wage. It also called for all staff of council contractors should have the same arrangement. The motion did not explain how the extra cost would be met.
The Council Tax rise in Kent gives UKIP an important opportunity – yet they seem much too inept to seize it.