John Harris

Journalist & Author

Clacton byelection: the main parties need to hear this roar of defiance | John Harris

From Clacton to Strood, only Ukip seems to speak to voters who feel abandoned, patronised and ignored

A fortnight or so ago, as part of the campaign for this weeks Clacton byelection, Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage addressed a public meeting. The hall where it was held is only a stones throw from Jaywick, the jumble of former holiday chalets and potholed streets that is reckoned to be the poorest council ward in England: on the face of it, a symbol of the kind of deep social problems that tend to be synonymous with political apathy. That night, though, about 900 people turned up.

Its said that Farage considers it the most extraordinary meeting hes ever experienced. Carswell, meanwhile, highlighted a perfect example of everything he says he is running against: a recent article by the Times columnist Matthew Parris, which reflected the occasional tendency of Tory-aligned media voices to have a pop at places progress has supposedly left behind a strange stance for a Conservative, but there we are.

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