Buried away in the middle of an article about UKIP’s efforts to win over middle-England in today’s Sunday Telegraph:
Accusations of racism are nothing new for Ukip. Last November a pro-BNP group stormed into a meeting of the party’s national executive and offered an alliance in which the BNP would concentrate on the north of the country and Ukip the south.
Mr Farage told the delegation to leave but the impression persists that there is common ground between them.
Nothing new there, I know. But in the following paragraph comes a fascinating pair of statistics that I hadn’t seen before:
It may not be an official pact, but the BNP is free from a Ukip challenge in 80 per cent of the seats it is contesting, while Ukip has no BNP challenger in 85 per cent of the seats in which it is standing.
That’s a mighty odd coincidence, wouldn’t you say?
So, has UKIP teamed up with the fascists? They may not agree on economic policy, but they do both want out of the EU, and they’re both strongly anti-immigration. UKIP may not have an overtly racist constitution, but the two parties share two key policy aims, and know that they are both competing for much the same relatively small fringe of discontented anti-EU, anti-immigration voters.
It would make strong strategic sense for the two main anti-EU, anti-immigration parties not to split their already limited potential vote by avoiding competing directly against each other – but is this a formal agreement, something more back room, or have the two parties’ election strategists simply ended up coming to the same conclusions about which party has the best hope in 8 out of every 10 electoral contests, and entirely independently decided to target their resources elsewhere?
I’m not much of a one for conspiracy theories, but an 80% correlation seems a tad too much of a coincidence to merely be coincidence. Then again, I’m also no statistician, and haven’t seen the figures for myself – it is possible that there’s an entirely innocent explanation. But if UKIP want to maximise their votes, a secret team-up with the BNP would be a good way to go about it. As long as the team-up remained secret, of course…
Update: In the interest of fairness, see the comments below. Given the relatively small number of seats the two parties are standing in out of the total being contested, it rather looks like this isn’t statistically significant. Coincidence or conspiracy? Quite possibly neither.