A couple of months ago the commenter ‘imran’ left these observations on this blog:
The stats are stacked against Biggs. Lutfur doesn’t need dead voters to turn up, just all the Bangladeshi uncles and unties would be enough. Based on the assumptions below for 100,000 voters in TH, I’ve worked out Rahman would get 24,790 votes and John Biggs only 13,325.
White British make up 45% of the population of which 20% are active voters. 90% of them vote for Biggs and 1% vote for Rahman. Bangladeshi make up 35% of the population of which 80% are active voters. 15% of them vote for Biggs and 80% vote for Rahman.
Others – Non Muslim make up 15% of the population of which 10% are active voters. 60% vote for Biggs and 20% vote for Rahman. Others – Muslim make up 5% of the population of which 50% are active voters. 5% vote for Biggs and 80% vote for Rahman.
It’s hard to see how Biggs can win, there will have to be a 50% plus turnout of the white British voters and 90% plus of them will need to vote for him. He also will needs to get at least 15% of the Bengali vote and 60% of the other non-Muslim vote.
I liked this comment and I hope Imran will be pleased to know that I regularly refer to it when people ask me whether Lutfur Rahman will win in May.
The calculations are a bit ‘back of a fag packet’ but they have some logic nonetheless.
But what Imran didn’t factor in was Nigel Farage and Ukip.
The turnout for the mayoral and council vote on May 22 will be bolstered by the European Parliament elections the same day. And the European issue is of course pretty prominent right now. Many think Ukip might even win the Euro elections in the UK.
Until last December, Ukip had no organisational presence in Tower Hamlets, but then they formed a branch in the borough. And then they started looking for candidates to stand for the council. And then they decided to go for the Big One, the mayoralty itself.
They won’t win it (although who am I to say..) but they will probably have a bearing on the overall result.
With a bit of targeted publicity in the Advertiser and the Wharf, they’ll reach the very many disillusioned who haven’t bothered to vote in previous elections.
This will boost the “white British” vote that Imran referred to.
The question then becomes how does this affect John Biggs’s chances?
Well, John does need a higher turnout than the 23 per cent in October 2010 when Lutfur won, that’s for sure. But he also needs first and second preference votes.
I suspect the Tories, who have announced Chris Wilford as their man, are probably whispering to their voters to place a second preference number 2 next to John Biggs’s name.
But will that be the same for Ukip’s voters? The ‘get Lutfur out’ strategy demands they should but will Ukip get that message out?
Maybe that’s one we should ask their candidate. And this is where it could get interesting. Because the hack and wannabe spin doctor in me thinks they’ve chosen someone who could demand attention from the national press, or at least from the Evening Standard and BBC London.
So let me introduce you to the Ukip candidate for Tower Hamlets mayor: Nicholas McQueen (or as he might soon be described, the cousin of late fashion mogul Alexander McQueen).
The Tower Hamlets Ukip site has this about him:
Nicholas McQueen has been chosen as the candidate for mayor of Tower Hamlets for the UK Independence Party. Nick is a real Eastender. He was born and grew up in the East End, which he refers to as “his village”. He has lived a varied and interesting life. He is a self-made businessman, having started a successful flower business with his wife of 34 years – Pauline. Early in life he pursued his dream of becoming a commercial pilot and flew in Northern and Central America. He wrote a children’s book which was turned into a musical. He invented a flower vending machine.
Nick is well-known and liked across the borough. He says of himself that he is “fighting for the multi-cultural, multi-religious society of London’s East End. A community is assessed NOT on how well the rich live, but on how well we look after the less fortunate.”
Mark Webber – Branch Secretary of Tower Hamlets UKIP – released the following statement: “We are very excited about Nick’s candidacy. Nick is so well known in his community that we already have a large number votes in the bag. Even before the press coverage has begun word has gone out on the “tom toms” – to use Nick’s phrase – and the response has been fantastic. Nick will be the dark horse in this election. I want to once again emphasise to people who are not registered to vote that they must contact the council as soon as possible.”
The site also says he will be standing for the council in Stepney Green. It adds this extra information about him:
Vote UKIP Nicholas McQueen Cpl. I will fight for YOU!
Nicholas is a family man and has been married for 34 years. He has a daughter and two grandchildren. Today he is fighting for the multi-cultural, multi-religious society of London’s East End. A community is assessed NOT on how well the rich live, but on how well we look after the less fortunate.
He was born and raised in London’s East End. In his early years Nick boxed for St. Georges and Poplar District. He attended Caterham boy’s boarding school, played rugby for Caterham and was a member of the ATC.
- Nicholas is the creator of McQueen’s Florist.
- At age 26 he became a commercial, multi-instrument pilot, flying in North & Central America.
- On his return to London he created Carole McQueen Florists (specialists in TV sets and funerals).
- 1996/97 he was the creator of the world’s first fresh flower vending machine.
- 1998 he created Bulbworld the children’s book.
- 1999 Nick co wrote and directed Bulbworld the musical at The Royal London Palladium.
- He designed the set for his cousin Alexander McQueen at London’s Christchurch.
- 2000 McQueen’s Publishers represented Great Britain at the Frankfurt Bookfair.
Ukip also has this clarion call for candidates:
Could you stand for election to the council as a UKIP candidate? We need decent, ordinary people from across the borough who agree with what we stand for to put their names forward as ward candidates. Standing for election is a form of public service. If you are elected you must be prepared to represent your ward on the council and to work on behalf of your electors. UKIP do not operate a party whip in local government so UKIP councillors are more like independents because they do not have to follow a party line.
We are not ashamed to make this appeal. UKIP is growing rapidly across the country. We are now consistently polling in third place in the national polls. There are many thousands of people across Tower Hamlets who want to vote for UKIP. We must give them that opportunity. Please note that all candidates will be carefully vetted. You may have read in the news about some trouble we have had recently with some of our candidates. Please do not apply if you have racist or extreme views. Former members of the BNP, EDL and similar organisations are forbidden from standing as candidates by the Party Constitution. Contact the Secretary for more information.
I think this could be fun.